Developer to Start Work on 28-Story Condo Tower Near Texas Capitol

Reger Holdings to begin construction on The Linden as Austin’s residential market booms.

A New York developer plans to start construction next month on a 28-story condo tower in downtown Austin, Texas, as the market extends its wave of new luxury condominium development.

Work is expected to start next month on the artsy 117-unit condo tower called The Linden. It’s planned near the state Capitol building and the University of Texas on the northern side of downtown at 313 W. 17th St.

“You’re still downtown, but not in the hustle and bustle,” said Joe Armenia, chief financial officer of New York-based Reger Holdings, in an phone interview. “We thought it was a little unique location being between the university and the Capitol and not where more new condos have been built.”

Many of the other new condo projects in Downtown are near the Austin Convention Center and Rainey Street areas or near the Seaholm District.

Reger Holdings recently received $278.5 million in construction financing from Madison Realty Capital to fund construction of the condo tower plus the first phase of a 425-acre mixed-use project, EastVillage.

About 30% of that loan will finance the condo tower, leaving the tower fully capitalized, according to developers. The project is planned on a parcel that houses a small office building that will be demolished in July, Armenia said.

The Linden’s location could play off the growth of the Texas Capitol Complex, which is undergoing a massive expansion to bring several state agency offices together in a central location. The Capitol Complex master plan includes a new, pedestrian-oriented Texas Mall, a proposed tree-lined promenade of green space that would span Congress Avenue between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The promenade would be about two blocks away from The Linden.

The Linden’s proximity to the Blanton Art Museum within the Arts District inspired developers to pick a design that incorporates artwork throughout the project. A small art gallery is planned within the project’s 5,000 square feet of retail, said Armenia.

“From the start, we knew we’d love to embrace the arts and to have an artistic component to the project itself,” he said.

The project’s architecture firm, Rhode Partners, is known for its standout design of The Independent, sometimes referred to as the “Jenga Tower” in Austin’s Seaholm District.

Rhode’s design of the Linden is a more “neutral” backdrop for the arts and luxury finishing of the project itself, according to the Linden’s marketing website. The tower’s design includes an open-air level on the 10th floor that exposes the building’s structure and is meant to evoke images of a sculpture. The 10th level includes a lounge, catering kitchen, fitness center, dog park and conference room. A large outdoor terrace includes outdoor dining areas and a lap pool with views of the Austin skyline.

The residences range in size from one-, two- and three-bedroom units from 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet, plus penthouses around 3,000 square feet. The price range goes from $500,000 to more than $3 million for some of the penthouses, Armenia said

The Linden is Reger’s first condominium project in Austin, but the firm has built other condo projects in Boston and in Portland, Maine, Armenia said. He added that The Linden’s project director also has extensive condominium development experience in Miami. The project director happens to be his father, John Armenia, who lives in Austin and helped Reger Holdings locate the parcel where The Linden will be built.

The Linden is starting at a time when Austin has seen a wave of new condominium projects as developers aim to capture a piece of the city’s hot housing market. Elsewhere in Downtown, Pearlstone Partners is nearing completion of its 33-story condominium tower, Natiivo. Pearlstone also is planning a 48-story condo tower at 84 E. Ave. near Rainey Street, an area that is also home to Urbanspace’s proposed 51-story condo tower.

Outside of Downtown, the pipeline of new condo projects includes Pearlstone’s 200-unit project in the Mueller District in Central Austin; Performance Capital’s 132-unit The Station at St. Elmo in South Austin; and Storybuilt’s 59-unit South Congress project, The Willa.

The new condos come at a time when the residential market is in short supply. In April, the latest stats available, Austin market had only half a month of inventory, indicating it would take only about two weeks to sell through all of the houses on the market now, a sign of an extremely tight market, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. A more balanced market typically has six months of supply.

Total sales of single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses jumped 37.2% year over year in April, according to the Austin Board of Realtors. Median sales prices rose 41.6% year over year to an all-time high of $460,000.

Reger Holdings is betting that the city’s robust housing market, coupled with The Linden’s location, will support strong sales.

“We just felt like there was a residential need in that part of Austin,” Armenia said.

Both The Linden and EastVillage represent the first vertical construction projects for Reger Holdings in Austin, though the firm has been developing land sites in the city for several years. Reger developed its first land project in Kyle, a city just south of Austin, back in 2008, but it wasn’t until the past five years that the firm has ramped up its work in the Texas capital city, Armenia said.

For the Record

Den Property Group is the exclusive listing agent for the condominiums. The general contractor is Bartlett Cocke, the civil engineer is Kimley Horn and the architect is Rhode Partners. Madison Realty provided the construction financing.

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