With new zoning in place for its 66-acre site next to The Domain, Brandywine Realty Trust is moving forward with plans to build a large project at its Broadmoor campus in North Austin that could include office, hotel, retail and residential uses.
Broadmoor currently has seven existing buildings and is home to IBM Corp.’s Client Innovation Center.
But with the Austin City Council having approved amended zoning for the property in late June, Brandywine envisions much denser development and taller buildings at Broadmoor, a site roughly the size of 16 city blocks.
Plans call for redeveloping existing buildings, constructing new ones and creating nine acres of public parks, trails and recreation areas throughout the project.
A future Capital Metro rail station is planned at the edge of the property, which would improve accessibility to the campus and accommodate the increased density, Brandywine officials said.
“We believe this development is a game-changer for the Austin market,” said Brandywine executive vice president Bill Redd, who heads the Austin market. “It will be a master-planned, mixed-use development that will incorporate significant public gathering spaces as well as a hoped-for rail connection.”
Broadmoor is located just east of The Domain, a large mixed-use project spanning 300 acres. With residential, office, hotel, retail, restaurant and entertainment uses, The Domain has come to be known as Austin’s “second downtown.”
Brandywine purchased Broadmoor almost three years ago for “its limitless potential to become a transformative development for Austin,” said Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine, a publicly traded real estate investment trust based in Radnor, Pa.
Broadmoor currently has 1.1 million square feet of space. The new zoning will allow 6 million square feet of development in all, including the existing space. About 3 million square feet of that total could end up being office space, housed in an additional seven to 10 buildings, Redd said.
Given the new height allowances — up to 360 feet tall — the proposed buildings will have views of the Texas Hill Country and the downtown skyline. Brandywine said it aims to attract top-tier tenants to the project.
According to published reports, Brandywine has pitched Broadmoor to Amazon as a potential site for the online giant’s second headquarters, for which Austin is in the running.
Redd declined to comment on whether Amazon has looked at Broadmoor, or on the site’s prospects for Amazon’s future HQ2.
“We cannot comment at this time, but look forward to the next steps in the process and supporting Austin in working toward attracting HQ2 to our city,” Redd said.
Brandywine said it plans to develop Broadmoor in phases, timed to market demand.
The first phase could have office, residential and retail uses, along with a public gathering space, Redd said.
“Our hope is to start construction of the first phase of new development in early 2019,” Redd said. “We are big believers in both the vibrancy and growth prospects of Austin so we plan to capture that momentum by being fully prepared to build as opportunities present themselves.”
Thus far, Brandywine has been working on the first phase of redevelopment with two existing buildings, 906 and 908.
Brandywine recently made improvements to Building 906 that include a newly configured entrance, lobby upgrades and new finishes in the hallways and restrooms. Building 908 will serve as an amenity hub, with a fitness center, upgraded dining offerings, conference facilities and meeting areas. Those improvements are expected to be complete early next year.
Asked about tenant prospects, and IBM’s future on the site, Redd said: “IBM has been a significant driver in the growth and history of this area of Austin. They are a highly valued customer of Brandywine and we have been closely coordinating our plans with theirs. While we are actively marketing Broadmoor and having discussions with our (tenant) prospect pipeline, we cannot share those details.”
Brandywine is one of Austin’s largest commercial real estate owners and developers, with more than 2.6 million square feet of office space among more than 21 buildings within four campuses. In addition to Broadmoor, Brandywine is developing mixed-use projects in Southwest Austin and Northwest Austin, as well as an office high-rise at West Fourth and Colorado streets in downtown Austin.
As a public company, Redd said, “Brandywine has significant capital capacity and a long track record of self-financing its developments, which at this point total over $3 billion— and is coincidentally the same total value of Broadmoor once fully built out.”
Along with proposed new buildings, Broadmoor will have a network of parks and recreational amenities that could include sports courts and a large lawn for outdoor exercise classes and pickup games. Picnic areas and public art will line a running trail linked to the Walnut Creek Greenbelt trail, with more than 23 miles of recreational routes and natural scenery.
Additionally, Broadmoor is near the 24-acre McKalla Place site that is currently under consideration by the city for a potential Major League Soccer stadium. Precourt Sport Ventures, owner of Columbus Crew, wants to build a stadium on the city-owned McKalla land.
“Brandywine is excited about the prospect of Major League Soccer coming to Austin,” Redd said. “If they locate near Broadmoor/Domain, it would certainly further enhance the entertainment options in the area and be a positive dynamic for the community and the city.”