Carr Properties has made its entrée into the Austin, Texas, market with the acquisition of 100 Congress Ave., an approximately 420,000-square-foot office building in the heart of the city’s central business district.
Carr purchased the 22-story, Class AA tower from a partnership of MetLife Investment Management and Invesco for an undisclosed amount.
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Carr has enhanced its portfolio with one of Austin’s most prominent office assets at a time when the city is emerging from a temporary sales slump and becoming increasingly competitive.
“Austin is one of the fastest-growing markets in the U.S., attracting large national and international investors,” according to a first quarter report by Matthews Real Estate Investment Services.
Occupying a one-acre corner parcel near Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, 100 Congress made its debut in 1987 and had since operated under the management of MetLife. The change in ownership of the property comes five years after MetLife sold a 49 percent stake in the asset to Invesco in a joint venture transaction that valued the property at $250 million.
Today, 100 Congress has an assessed value of approximately $292.8 million, according to Travis County records. The property is presently 94 percent leased and boasts a diverse roster of tenants. Real estate firm Ryan Cos. calls the building home, as does leading local law firm Jackson Walker, as well as Google, which inked a lease for 61,000 square feet 2018.
Even with 100 Congress at near maximum capacity, Carr plans to take the property to new heights. The company will submit the building to a renovation program that will include its signature hospitality-inspired design and services to reposition the tower as a market-leading office destination with highly desirable amenities and a coveted workplace environment. 100 Congress last underwent a comprehensive renovation in 2014.
Eyes on Austin
Austin fits Carr’s criteria for the company’s ongoing focus on innovative markets primed for long-term growth, with strong economic drivers like tech, education and government. Washington, DC-based Carr had made it a rule to invest only in its own backyard until 2018, when it expanded into the Boston market, where its portfolio of owned and managed properties and projects currently exceeds 3 million square feet of office space.
However, unlike, Boston, Austin, is relatively new to the spotlight in the investment world. “In the past, Austin was known as a tertiary market where investors held onto assets for the long-term, but the last 10 years are a different story. With sales volume surpassing the pre-recession peak annually since 2012, Austin is now a secondary metro,” according to the Matthews report. “It’s no surprise Austin is the focal point of investor interest with fast-growing, record-breaking prices.”
Carr is not the only leading investor to put Austin on its radar for the first time. Tishman Speyer made its debut in the Austin office market in February 2021, with the two-stage acquisition of The Foundry, a 240,000-square-foot complex consisting of two buildings, one of which is scheduled to deliver this month.