Downtown Austin office tower on Congress Avenue sells for $174 million

·3 min read

Another Austin office tower has been snapped up.

The property changing hands this time is 816 Congress, a 20-story downtown high-rise. The new owner is Regent Properties, which is buying it from Atlanta-based Cousins Properties. Cousins said the 435,000-square-foot building sold for a gross sales price of $174 million.

The tower on Congress Avenue was built in 1983 and is currently 78% leased, with lease expirations expected to take it to 60% leased in early 2023, Cousins said.

Cousins Properties is selling 816 Congress, a 20-story high-rise in downtown Austin, to Regent Properties for $174 million. Cousins Properties was the seller. Regent said it plans to make a number of upgrades to the property. (Courtesy of Cousins Properties)
Cousins Properties is selling 816 Congress, a 20-story high-rise in downtown Austin, to Regent Properties for $174 million. Cousins Properties was the seller. Regent said it plans to make a number of upgrades to the property. (Courtesy of Cousins Properties)

The property offers panoramic views of downtown Austin and the Texas Capitol. It also includes a fitness center, a conference center, two parking garages and a sky lounge with a roof terrace. Its location puts it within walking distance of numerous hotels, restaurants, retail stores and museums, as well as the state capitol building.

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"We are pleased to begin the year by adding 816 Congress to our growing portfolio of top-tier office assets," said Eric Fleiss, CEO of Regent Properties, which is based in Dallas and Los Angeles. "Austin is a high-conviction market for us, driven by positive local economic trends, strong demographics and a business-friendly environment that continues to drive company expansions and relocations in the region."

Regent said it plans to make a number of upgrades to the property, including a redesign of the ground floor that will include lobby and courtyard renovations, as well as create more than 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Regent said it plans to continue to acquire office buildings over the next two years across Texas and Sunbelt regions. To carry out that strategy, the firm opened a second corporate headquarters in Dallas in September.

The sale of 816 Congress is just the latest deal involving a downtown Austin high-rise. In June, California-based Kilroy Realty, a publicly traded real estate investment firm, paid $580 million for Indeed Tower, the newly completed 36-story high-rise that is the city's tallest office building.

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Indeed Tower has 730,000 square feet of office space and is on a full city block bounded by West Sixth, West Seventh, Colorado and Lavaca streets. The development includes a private park and 35,000 square feet of retail space within the converted Claudia Taylor Johnson post office building on the site that can accommodate a variety of uses.

Meanwhile, 100 Congress, a 22-story office tower at Congress Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street, was acquired in May by Carr Properties, based in Washington, D.C. The price was not disclosed.

Sam Tenenbaum, director of analytics in Austin for CoStar Group, a global commercial real estate data company, said the purchases show investors remain bullish on the Austin market.

"This 816 Congress deal highlights how attractive Austin offices remain to national investors," Tenenbaum said. "All three of those buildings were the first Austin properties bought by those investors, which means that they clearly believe that Austin’s office market will outperform in the coming years."

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: 816 Congress, a tower in in downtown Austin, sells for $174 million