Austin’s business-friendly environment has been attracting big tech and creative companies over the years, including Facebook, Amazon and WeWork, which are either moving their headquarters or opening offices in the market. This has lead to consistent demand for modern, environmentally efficient buildings to house the growing number of employees.
U.S. Green Building Council data shows that out of 139 projects that received certifications in Texas last year, 18 are located in Austin, totaling a little over 4 million square feet. The following list highlights the highest-scoring office buildings in the state capital, with all entries receiving at least LEED Gold certification. Obvious standouts were office buildings that were part of mixed-use megaprojects taking shape in the northern and southwestern parts of the metro.
|Rank||Project name||Certification date||Street name||Certification rating system||Certification level||Gross area (sqft)|
|1||816 Congress||4/10/2020||816 Congress Ave.||LEED v4.1 O+M||Platinum||470,389|
|2||One American Center||1/21/2020||600 Congress Ave.||LEED v4 O+M||Gold||523,106|
|3||300 W. Sixth St.||1/12/2020||300 W. Sixth St.||LEED v4 O+M||Gold||462,037|
|4||Domain 12||2/10/2020||Alterra Parkway -12||LEED-CS v2009||Gold||325,307|
|5||Domain 10||2/12/2020||Alterra Parkway -10||LEED-CS v2009||Gold||293,229|
|6||Terrace VI||5/19/2020||2901 Via Fortuna||LEED v4.1 O+M: EB||Gold||202,728|
|7||Terrace VII||6/12/2020||2801 Via Fortuna||LEED v4.1 O+M: EB||Gold||200,549|
|8||Domain 3||7/6/2020||11501 Domain Drive||LEED v4.1 O+M: EB||Gold||200,203|
|9||Domain 4||7/6/2020||11500 Alterra Parkway||LEED v4.1 O+M: EB||Gold||157,245|
|10||Terrace I||5/19/2020||2600 Via Fortuna||LEED v4.1 O+M: EB||Gold||122,423|
1. 816 Congress
Topping our list is Cousins’ 20-story tower in downtown Austin. The 470,389-square-foot asset is the only one to receive the highest level of certification—LEED Platinum—in the metro last year and is one of only three to achieve this status in Texas. The property previously received LEED Gold certification in 2018 and 2019 and is Energy Star-labeled.
The building was completed in 1982 and underwent cosmetic renovations in 1994 and 2008, CommercialEdge data shows. Additionally, a $3 million outdoor terrace and lounge were added to the 15th floor in 2012. The tenant roster includes the Austin Bar Association, TPG and Richards Rodriguez & Skeith.
2. One American Center
The 32-story tower is the largest property on the list, totaling 523,106 square feet. One American Center received LEED Gold certification in early 2020. The award is actually a recertification; the asset reached Gold level in 2017 and 2019—the former when the building received cosmetic renovations totaling $18 million, including $8.2 million for the lobby, plaza and common-area improvements.
Located at 600 Congress Ave., just steps from downtown, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s building is within walking distance of some of Austin’s best retail and dining venues. Common-area amenities include a bike locker, an on-site ATM, a fitness center and 13 terraces and balconies. Tenants include corporate, tech and creative companies such as WeWork, Tableau Software and Box.
3. 300 W. Sixth St.
CalSTRS’s second building on the list is the 462,037-square-foot tower at 300 W. Sixth St. At the beginning of December, the asset received LEED Gold recertification, marking the fourth certification since 2017. The property first earned a LEED Silver certification in 2009 for existing buildings operations and maintenance. Additionally, the asset has been Energy Star-rated since 2013.
Located just a block from One American Center, the building is home to several tech and financial tenants—Facebook has been leasing space in the tower since 2010 and now occupies 120,000 square feet.
4. & 5. Domain 10 & Domain 12
The two buildings are part of the massive 1.9 million-square-foot Domain development some 12 miles north of downtown Austin. Cousins delivered the buildings in 2020, with USGBC awarding both properties with LEED Gold certifications. The mixed-use campus also features retail space, restaurants, apartments, hotels and entertainment space.
Amazon is the sole tenant of Domain 10—the 293,229-square-foot building houses employees of several departments including software and hardware engineering, research science and cloud computing. The 15-story asset features a fitness center and on-site bike locker. Domain 12 comprises 325,307 square feet across 17 stories and features a podium-style design. Facebook occupies the entire space and the tech giant also leases three floors at Domain 8.
6. & 7. Terrace VI & Terrace VII
The Terrace is a 109-acre, master-planned development near Mopac and Loop 360, adjacent to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and less than 6 miles southwest of downtown Austin. Cousins’ four-building campus is home to several companies such as VLK Architects, Broadcom Corp. and Serve Capital Partners.
The 202,728-square-foot Terrace VI at 2901 Via Fortuna and the 200,549-square-foot Terrace VII at 2801 Via Fortuna received LEED Gold recognition in 2020. Completed in 2002, the two five-story buildings feature cooling towers with two SWUD units; other common-area amenities include walking trails and outdoor exercise stations.
8 & 9. Domain 3 & Domain 4
The two buildings are the third and fourth entries on the list, part of the massive Domain development. The 200,203-square-foot Domain 3 and the 157,245-square-foot Domain 4 received LEED Gold certifications. The adjacent buildings were completed in 2001, with the first leased to TPx Communications, while the latter is home to Accruent, Eso and Compeat, according to CommercialEdge data.
10. Terrace I
The final entry on the list is the 122,423-square-foot building located at 2600 Via Fortuna—Terrace I received LEED Gold certification in mid-2020. The five-story property is home to several tenants including the headquarters of AIC Ventures, as well as local offices of Philadelphia Insurance Cos., Kirkus Media and Cornerstone Home Lending.