W Hotel & Residences . . . . & Offices?

According to the developers, plans for Block 21 -- the large second street development featuring the W Hotel & Residences -- have been revised to include 35,000 feet of office space. Assuming that the size of the project remains the same, office space will account for about 3.5% of the planned one million square foot multi-use project. This is the first new office space to be added downtown in a few years.

The project update also included the following new facts:

- The W Hotel & Condo plans remain unchanged.

- So far, 44% of condo units are accounted for -- a number virtually unchanged from the 45% under contract as of 12/1/09. According to the developers, sales have practically stopped since the beginning of the economic crisis in November. With delivery 2 years out, the developers believe they have plenty of time to sell the remaining units.

- The project is proceeding on schedule: the first floor should be poured within the next few weeks

- The size of the Austin City Limits theater may be increased from 2,200 to 2,500 square feet

The $295 million project, to be located directly behind City Hall, will be an important retail and entertainment anchor to the blossoming 2nd Street district.

Block 21 Rendering
Block 21 Renderings Austin W Hotel & Residences

Here is a summary from the Austin Business Journal:

Beau Armstrong, CEO and president of Stratus Properties Inc., will discuss updates to Austin’s Block 21 project, including the addition of about 35,000 square feet of office space to that development, at a CCIM Central Texas real estate symposium on Feb. 10.

Armstrong said there will likely be a full floor user who will take up most of that space, as well as some dedicated office space set aside for condominium owners. Stratus has been talking with a law firm that’s been interested in leasing that office space and will likely become the tenant, he added.

Armstrong also said the project is still moving ahead on schedule, and construction workers will pour the first floor within the next few weeks. The W Hotel and condominium plans remain the same, he said. Pre-sale numbers total about 44 percent so far. The planned KLRU Austin City Limits theater may also grow in size, from about 2,200 seats to approximately 2,500, he said.

“Sales have been virtually nonexistent since the beginning of November, although we’re beginning to see few people poke their heads out of the hole,” Armstrong said. “But we’re not delivering it for another couple years. I think things will be considerably better by then.”

Other speakers at the symposium include: Austin Mayor Pro-tem Brewster McCracken; Mark Dotzour, chief economist and director of research for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M; Charlie Betts, executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance; Philip Capron, president of Falcon Southwest and Nikelle Meade, partner at Brown McCarroll.