March 7 marked a milestone in the Domain, for that was the day the City of Austin Development Services office issued the last site plan permit of more than a dozen residential building permits in the master-planned mixed-use development. Dallas-based Columbus Realty Partners Ltd., the developer, obtained the permit for Block L, an apartment complex otherwise referred to in official records as Domain Parkside.
Located on a 2.3-acre lot at the southeast corner of Kramer Lane and Alterra Parkway, the building will be adjacent (south of Kramer) to the Gallery at Domain apartments. Coming in at seven stories and 182 rental units, the Block L project will bring the Domain’s residential component to a total of 3,087 units. It was the last of 13 residential projects to still have a status of “In Review” at the start of the year.
When all this apartment construction started a few years ago, it appeared to make perfect sense. Rent rates had been climbing steady throughout the post-recession years and vacancy rates were usually under 5 percent, according to Transwestern’s Market Watch.
However, the price per square foot on market rents took a dip toward the end of 2016 and has been flat ever since. Vacancy rates have been creeping up over the last five quarters and appear headed toward 10 percent.
With trends like that, it appears the residential construction boom in the Domain is coming to an end, and possibly continued for a bit too long. It’s necessary to remember that the investors in the Domain’s residential development phase went all-in on an apartment product, without a single condominium development — makes one wonder how sustainable these communities will be over a long-term period.
Over the past few years, the Block L site has been used as a laydown yard for construction materials and equipment needed for other residential projects occurring nearby, including that of Gallery at Domain, located at 11119 Alterra Parkway. JHP Architecture & Urban Design, the project designer for Domain Parkside Block L, estimated in state filings that this development’s construction would kick off by February. That start date turned out to be off by a couple of months, but this structure is still on track to reach completion by the end of 2019, with an estimated price tag of about $34 million.
Much like its neighborhood counterparts, this is a wood-frame superstructure on a concrete foundation with a concrete parking garage below the apartment units. There is a small subsurface parking level with 36 spaces, and the first two above-ground levels are mostly parking garage as well, with total parking accommodations at 268 spaces. The building address will be 11009 Alterra Parkway, since the entrance will face that road. The ground-level site plan places the leasing office at the corner of Alterra Parkway and Kramer Lane, and adjacent to it will be a mailroom and fitness center. Other amenities include a pool, clubroom, and bicycle storage.
Domain Parkside Block L will basically be an extension of the Gallery at Domain community. The term “Gallery” is a brand name Columbus Realty has used for some time, for projects like Gallery at Turtle Creek in Dallas, which is another JHP design. Columbus Realty is one of several heavy investors in the Domain, but the company, founded by former Dallas Cowboys players Robert Shaw and Roger Staubach, is perhaps better-known in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
The firm recently built a luxury tower as part of The Star in Frisco Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, and also developed numerous high-end apartment communities in the Dallas neighborhoods of Uptown, Oak Lawn and Trinity Groves.