Two new office buildings headed to Domain; HomeAway to anchor one

4:34 p.m Monday, July 8, 2013 Business

A pair of new office projects are planned at the Domain development in North Austin, and one of them will be occupied by Austin-based HomeAway Inc., developer Endeavor Real Estate Group said.

HomeAway, which operates the world’s leading network of online vacation rentals, will occupy all the office space — 115,000 square feet — in the 140,000-square-foot Domain 2 building, said Chad Marsh, a principal with Austin-based Endeavor. The five-story building will include one floor of ground-floor retail.

HomeAway is expected to move into the building in September 2014, Marsh said. Domain 2 will be across from the new Whole Foods Market store that is due to open later this year, Marsh said.

“Our employees voiced their desire to have an office in North Austin,” said Brian Sharples, HomeAway’s co-founder and CEO. “With easy access to a new Whole Foods, shopping and other tech companies, the Domain provided the best answer for our growing and geographically disperse HomeAway family.”

HomeAway has 1,308 employees worldwide, including 650 in Austin. The Domain office will seat about 750 employees, the company said, but the specific departments and employees to be housed there are yet to be determined.

The Domain 2 building is the first of two new office buildings planned for the development, off MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and Burnet Road. The second office building, to be known as Domain 7, is scheduled to break ground in August or September and open in late 2014, Marsh said. The six-story building will have 222,000 square feet of space, Marsh said.

Both buildings are being developed by Endeavor; San Francisco-based Shorenstein Properties LLC; and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Managementin a partnership called Domain Junction 2 LLC. The two buildings’ combined cost will be about $45 million, Marsh said.

Marsh said the Domain’s “energetic, mixed-use environment” fit HomeAway’s culture, and Whole Foods was a key attraction.

“We are extremely excited to have a hip and successful Austin-based company choose the Domain to handle its present needs and future growth needs,” Marsh said. “They really like the opportunity to be across from Whole Foods. It really serves a workforce well.”

HomeAway’s 51,000-square-foot headquarters, which has more than 300 employees, will remain at Fifth Street and North Lamar Boulevard downtown, the company said. HomeAway has another 75 employees in space across Lamar from its headquarters; 240 who office in Penn Field in South Austin; and additional employees in temporary space in Research Park Plaza in Northwest Austin. The Research Park location is the only temporary space, and HomeAway will keep the other offices, the company said.

Endeavor is in talks with three to four prospective retail tenants for the Domain 2 building, some of which would be new to the Austin market, Marsh said.

In addition, Endeavor is talking to four prospects for Domain 7, Marsh said. The building will be immediately north of Domain Gateway, a 174,000-square foot building currently leased to OneWest Bank.

In recent years, the Domain has emerged as a desirable choice for employers, who locate there because their employees like its shopping, housing, dining and entertainment options. Restaurants include the Park, North, Daily Grill and Jasper’s, along with many upscale retailers and hotels including Aloft and Westin.

Existing companies at the Domain include Blackbaud, Electronic Arts, Hanger Inc., the Texas Culinary Academy and KingsIsle Entertainment, a video game developer.

In the 175-acre phase Endeavor is developing, 510 upscale apartments are currently under construction, Marsh said. Another 535 recently came online.

Later this year, Valencia Group’s Lonestar Court Hotel, with 123 upscale rooms, is scheduled to open, the last large development parcel in the adjacent mixed-use Domain project owned by Simon Property Group.