ABJ: Highland Resources has a jewel on its hands with Lamar Boulevard makeover


Feb 05

Highland Resources has a jewel on its hands with Lamar Boulevard makeover

The new mixed-use building at 3800 Lamar Blvd. has been in the planning stages for a decade, but it probably doesn’t seem like it’s been underway that long.

The curved glass structure now dominates a major intersection in Austin’s medical district and some prominent tenants have signed leases.

The street-level corner retail space is available for the right tenant at the new 3800 Lamar Blvd. mixed-use building.

Jewelry designer Kendra Scott is moving her corporate headquarters there from South Austin and already has opened a snazzy new store. Regus is another major office tenant, while Westlake Dermatology and Chameleon Hospitality — the team behind Swift’s Attic and the new Wu Chow restaurants downtown — have recently signed on for retail space, as has Denver-based eatery Snooze.

Another 15,000-square-foot of retail is up for grabs, including the high-profile corner location where Lamar Boulevard and 38th Street intersect. Eric DeJernett and Bryan McMurrey with CBRE Group Inc. have the retail listing.

Regus, the national co-working and executive suite provider, has leased 18,029 square feet of office space. Both office tenants are expected to move in next month. Mark Greiner, Melissa Totten and Bob Wynn with Cushman & Wakefield/Oxford Commercial are handling the listing for the remaining 10,000 square feet of office space.

The new structure is a far cry from the ramshackle retail buildings that had been on the site as recently as two years ago. It’s been a fast turnaround for Houston-based developer Highland Resources Inc., which has owned the property for many years.

“We had very good plans and very good response from the city,” said David Bodenman, vice president for Highland Resources.

In a municipality where the city’s real estate development processes have been decried as being overly expensive and laborious, Bodenman sings the praises of general contractor Rogers-O’Brien Construction for navigating choppy waters.

“They have just been amazing,” Bodenman said.

He and colleague Jeff Simmons, acquisitions and operations manager for Highland Resources, are equally thrilled with architect STG Design and landscape architect Dwg, two other Austin mainstays that played pivotal roles.

Bodenman and Simmons showed off the structure and the bustling activity inside during a recent tour. Highland Resources isn’t disclosing the value of the four-story, 165,000-square-foot building, which includes a 600-car parking garage, but records at the city indicate the value at $29.9 million.

The project generated considerable interest when Kendra Scott announced that it was time for a major real estate play — given the significant national growth of her jewelry empire.

She signed for the top floor of 3800 Lamar to house her growing administrative and creative staff and then took another 1,500 square feet for a flagship store at street level.

Since the original announcement, Scott has increased her office lease from 43,500 square feet to 65,000 square feet. Her jewelry empire raked in more than $25 million in 2013, the last time revenue was disclosed.

The glitzy storefront — with a gold filigree facade, sleek display cases, mesmerizing lights and arched mirror doors — opened before Christmas and is packing in crowds even though most of the building’s tenants have yet to move in and foot traffic is still minimal.

“It’s truly a little jewel box,” Scott said.

Embree Group, a national retail development company based in Georgetown, handles the designs of all Kendra Scott stores.

View the article in the Austin Business Journal.

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