Almost two decades old, mixed-use, planned development the Domain is clearly a success in turning what was originally a planned tech campus into a major urban hub for shopping, working, and living. With the two major expansions that completed its retail space—Domain Northside and Rock Rose—and several office towers completed or under construction, it has become what some like to call a “second downtown,” with home, work, and leisure all available within proximity of—and often walkable to—one another. (One could argue that it looks a lot like some of Houston’s several, bland “other downtown”s, but it does provide for the needs and services of an active, somewhat densely built community.)
According to a report by the Austin Business Journal’s Andrew Salazar, the Domain could be just the beginning of the growth headed for North Austin. Reporting on the Journal’s own North Austin Growth Summit Saturday, he noted that panelists pointed to the many current or planned developments underway north of U.S. Highway 183 and to the reason for that—in a word, money. According to some, companies looking to replicate the density and mixed uses of downtown (and, okay, the Domain) can develop that in North Austin at a fraction of the cost.
The Columbus Crew factor
Now there’s another big factor driving that speculation: the possibility of a Major League Soccer stadium being built nearby. As followers of the Columbus Crew saga, are aware, the Ohio MLS team has been looking at relocating to Austin and considered various sites on which to build a new stadium. After the city ruled out that happening on city parkland, the favored site became McKalla Place, a tract of land owned by the city, located south of The Domain.
Austin attorney, Richard Suttle, who represents Crew owners Precourt Ventures, pointed out at the summit that nearby Robinson Ranch potential to become the equivalent of “10 Domains.” Suttle, who also represents the owners of the 7,000-acre ranch, said they were looking at ways to develop the land.
While Suttle connected the ideas of the stadium and the ranch development complementing each other, Salazar noted that Capella Capital Partners has been looking at building a 12-story office building and a 20-story apartment tower, with seven floors of parking and 13 floors of residential units, on three acres at the edge of McKalla Place.
Office towers on the way
Although a potential stadium build is now in the mix, the area around the Domain has already been booming. According to Salazar, popular job-search website Indeed plans to lease the entire Domain Tower, on the south side of the Domain, when completed; the same company, HPI Real Estate and Stonelake Capital Partners, are developing the Flatiron apartment complex in the area as well.
On the Domain’s north side, he reports, a 320,000-square-foot office building called as Domain 11, is nearing completion. Most of that will be leased by HomeAway, already a major tenant in the area. That’s just one of several office buildings planned for the area, Salazar reports.