As Tax Protests Begin, Travis Central Appraisal District Catches Heat

In a year when rising property taxes have consumed political attention throughout the state, the Travis Central Appraisal Dis­trict’s handling of local taxpayers’ assessments is consumed with controversy. Already facing possible litigation over its highly criticized purchase of multiple listing service (MLS) data about home sales, TCAD has decided it will not offer face-to-face informal hearings to any property owners this year. This is a major change from its past handling of appraisal protests, but TCAD hasn’t communicated this clearly to the public, or to the consultants who represent property owners, even as formal protest hearings began this week. Each spring, TCAD mails Travis County property owners the assessments that determine how much county residents will pay in property taxes to more than 100 jurisdictions (the county itself, Austin and 20 other cities, school districts, Austin Community College, Central Health, and numerous utility and emergency service districts). Click to read more at

Omni Barton Creek resort reveals details of $150 million makeover

Some 30 years after the property opened to guests, the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa has laid out the details of its $150 million renovation project that will significantly boost its number of rooms.

The project, to be undertaken by design-build firm The Beck Group, will begin on Nov. 13 with a projected completion in mid-2019. The Southwest Austin property at 8212 Barton Club Drive is owned by Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts.

When completed, the project will boost the resort’s number of rooms from 309 to 493.

According to the Omni Hotels’ Oct. 25 announcement, the focus of the makeover will “blur the lines” between indoor and outdoor experiences that take advantage of the scenic Hill Country surroundings.

Click to read more at Austin Business Journal. 

Brackenridge gets a developer; Hospital site to be turned into skyscraping homes, shops and offices

Redevelopment of the Brackenridge tract — a 14.3-acre parcel in downtown Austin that could be transformed into a thriving medical and commercial district — will be in the hands of Wexford Science & Technology LLC, a Baltimore-based company that specializes in medical and research development.

The Central Health Board of Managers voted Wednesday to proceed with negotiations with Wexford as the master developer of the site near 15th Street and I-35, currently home to University Medical Center Brackenridge. The hospital was replaced earlier this year by the nearby Dell Seton Medical Center.

Click to read more at Austin Business Journal. 

How Cushman & Wakefield has built up its new global brand in North Texas

It’s been two years since Cushman & Wakefield merged with DTZ in a $2 billion mega-deal to create a new global real estate brokerage firm with the capability to compete with CBRE and JLL.

And it hasn’t been easy in North Texas to combine cultures from different firms under one real estate brokerage roof in Uptown, but the Dallas office has seemingly pulled it off with some of the region’s top brokers teaming up like never before.

“We have a lot of pieces that didn’t naturally fit together at first, but now they fit really well together,” said Ran Holman, the Dallas-Fort Worth market leader for Cushman & Wakefield.

Click to read more at Dallas Business Journal.

Austin is best ‘non-gateway’ commercial real estate market in U.S., survey says

Austin is the best non-gateway city in the U.S. for commercial real estate investment. That’s the consensus of DLA Piper’s annual State of the Market Survey.

The findings were released at the law firm’s Global Real Estate Summit held Sept. 26 in Chicago.

DLA Piper surveyed about 220 real estate executives from top real estate firms and some 45 percent of them said Austin — tied with Seattle — will perform the best in the year ahead as a commercial real estate investment. They didn’t factor in so-called gateway cities such as New York and Los Angeles.

Denver and Nashville tied for the next top cities, garnering 33 percent of the votes.

Click to read more at Austin Business Journal. 

New urban multifamily project rises in rural setting in East Austin

The Guthrie, a new multifamily project, is rising from the former site of Guthrie Lumber & Distribution near Gonzales and Tillery streets in a formerly rural area east of downtown Austin.

Argyle Residential, an affiliate of Austin-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors, has already broken ground on the 322-unit project, which will include a live-work element on a small parcel across the street from the larger development.

Click to read more at Austin Business Journal.