Retirees and Businesses to Flock to Austin Texas

By: Kinan Beck

"Two news items suggest Austin, Texas might be a hot market for two very diverse types of residents: retirees and entrepreneurs. KBS Real Estate Investment Trust has recently acquired nine Class-A office, warehouse, and distribution properties totaling two million-square feet. One of the properties is in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, and one is in the Round Rock, Texas region. The rest of the properties are located outside of Texas.

Of these properties, the largest property that KBS Real Estate Investment Trust purchased is situated in Round Rock. The enormous Crystal Park II industrial building boasts over 240,000-square-foot of space in the 38-acre Crystal Park complex situated at Old Settlers Boulevard and Greenhill Drive, near I-35. The Corporate Express building is a Class B flex building, slightly more than 131,000-square-feet. Located at 2230 Avenue J in Arlington, the building is in the highly desirable Dallas-Fort Worth region. California-based KBS purchased the portfolio of properties from Minneapolis-based Opus Corp. for a reported $124.5 million. The seller was represented by CB Richard Ellis.

So far, no official reports have been made about what may be done with the properties. However, KBS will likely continue to rent the highly desirable properties to business tenants. All the buildings in the portfolio -- including the Texas holdings -- have excellent occupancy rate. In fact, Crystal Park II was 73% leased out to various tenants at the time that the KBS deal was made. The Corporate Express building is completely leased by Corporate Express. KBS may be looking to attract more businesses to the Crystal Park II building.

In addition to the businesses and business tenants so obviously eager to rent in the Texas area, a new study by AARP The Magazine has found to that Austin is in the top four cities in the country to watch for being retirement-friendly. The magazine determined retirement-friendly cities by looking at expanded sidewalks, mixed-use housing, good quality health care, and quality mass transit systems. Using this criteria, the magazine found that the Texas capital city provided excellent quality of life to residents over the age of 50 and would in fact tend to attract those types of residents. The magazine reports that this age group will likely grow by 32% in the next decade and a half, so entrepreneurs in the area may wish to cater to retirees and boomers as well as to businesses. The magazine also reported that other top communities to watch for being retiree-friendly included Burlington in Vermont, Mankato in Minnesota, and Traverse City in Michigan. Retirees considering moving to the Austin area will be pleased to know that the constant building and expansion in Austin's downtown district creates more mixed-use properties and properties that are ideal for retirees. The fact that Austin's downtown residential area often includes easy access to clinics, stores, restaurants, and other attractions is surely an attraction as well. In addition, Austin's mild climate, natural beauty, and easy access to the facilities and continuing education classes at the University of Texas are sure to please those over 50."

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