Cousins Properties is back in the game as property owner along N. Congress in downtown Austin, and at the same time – although no one has really noticed – they seem to be running behind schedule on a proposed office building downtown.
Cousins famously developed the Frost Bank Tower, a marquee and classy addition to downtown, which stretches up 33 stories and started construction in 2001. Last year, Cousins announced their gorgeous glass-lined 30-story office tower at intersection of Third and Colorado, in a spot initially planned for a hotel.
When the story about the new office building was leaked to the Austin American-Statesman, Cousins announced they would break ground sometime in late 2012. To date, nothing has happened, and the site plan is still pending, with a new deadline of August to clear up existing issues.
One reason for the delay is they still don’t officially have their zoning, which is on this week’s Council agenda.
According to some city paperwork, apparently Cousins is proposing to excavate the brand new streets in front of its property, which were reconstructed as part of the GreatStreets redevelopment on Colorado. This requires a traffic mitigation and street reconstruction plan, and also a determination by the Austin Transportation Department director that an economical alternative route is not available to the applicant.
Meanwhile, office demand remains hot, but there are other new towers – namely Block 51 and the Schossler developments on Lamar — which could be delivered sooner.
Cousins Back On Congress
A few months ago, the Austin Business Journal reported that the former owners had just poured about $3 million into renovating a rooftop terrace and the building’s largest tenants include Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend PC, Texas Monthly, AT&T Inc. Teachers Retirement System of Texas and Gordon & Rees LLP.
No word yet if the building will continue to be leased and managed by Thomas Properties, which runs the property now.
One has to wonder if some of these legacy tenants are about to term out of the building and if Cousins will be raising the rent. Cousins, traditionally, has been a developer of downtown Austin property, not a portfolio owner.