As the vision for Austin’s “Uptown” continues to take form, there are a few significant influencers that will shape the ultimate form of Brandywine Realty Trust’s Broadmoor development in North Austin.
To date, Brandywine has declined to comment on whether there’s something afoot with Amazon. However, it’s hard to imagine that this massive, 16-city-block development isn’t on the radar for HQ2. In fact, Amazon’s Austin executives and tech workers look out at Broadmoor from their current office towner in The Domain.
That aside, a diverse group of potential tenants and co-developers have indicated interest in “Uptown,” including firms who build retail, residential, and hospitality space.
Ultimately, Broadmoor’s most significant influence is likely IBM. Through a joint venture, Brandywine and IB owned Broadmoor until Brandywine bought out IBM’s 50 percent stake in 2015 for $211.4 million, according to SEC documents. Although no longer an owner, IBM current lease includes 784,477 square feet at Broadmoor through the end of 2021.
At this time, Brandywine is working with IBM to determine their current and future needs. IBM has several options. They could decide to remain in their current space but request the buildings to be updated. It could also want the buildings to be replaced entirely. Lastly, it could also expand or contract its requisite square footage.
Improvements are already underway. In early 2018, lobby improvements and upgrades on the six-story, 140,000-square-foot “906” building were completed. Also, the 75,000-square-foot “908” building (previously home to IBM’s cafeteria and conference space) will be renovated into a world-class amenity center with fitness room and meeting and eating areas. Completion is estimated in mid-2019.
IBM’s expansion or contraction will impact not only the Broadmoor development but also residential areas in the greater North Austin area. As “Uptown’s” urban core develops and appreciates, so too will nearby neighborhoods.
In fact, the Broadmoor development’s “Uptown” could solidify the notion that The Domain and the surrounding area rival Austin’s Downtown. Such a concept could potentially stave off Austin’s two biggest economic threats: traffic and rising housing costs.
While it remains to be seen, it’s clear that companies like Amazon and IBM play vital roles in the ultimate shape of Austin’s “Uptown.”
Image credit: Community Impact and Brandywine Realty Trust