Related Cos. expands timber building plans

Adding two stories, 150,000 square feet to Austin office building

Related's Jeff Blau with rendering of 901 South Congress
Related's Jeff Blau with rendering of 901 South Congress (Related Companies, Gensler, Nudge Design, Getty)

The Related Companies plans an expansion for its mass timber office project in Austin.

The New York-based developer recently filed alterations to the project at 901 South Congress Avenue with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, increasing the square footage from 107,000 to 260,000 while raising the structure’s height from five stories to seven, the Austin Business Journal reported. Original plans for the site were first announced in September.

The project has an estimated cost of $65 million, or $250 per square foot. In addition to the office portion, the site will include retail space on the ground floor, four levels of underground parking and two residential units which have yet to be identified as for sale or for rent. Construction could start as soon as September and be completed by February 2026, the outlet said.

The 901 South Congress project will be Related’s first mass-timber development, which are becoming increasingly popular because of presumed sustainability and expedited construction. Plus, some developers believe their appealing, all-wood appearance and environmental benefits can motivate workers to return to the office, especially younger employees, after the pandemic caused office vacancy rates to soar. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

In the Austin metro, vacancy rates hovered around 18 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. The southern part of the city, which includes South Congress, had a vacancy of 20 percent, and the downtown district had an even higher rate of 23 percent, the outlet said.

Related, known for ambitious ventures like Hudson Yards in New York City, is ramping up its activity in Austin. The firm has proposed a 15-story office tower near Lady Bird Lake downtown, and it bought a 6-acre property, also on South Congress, in September.

—Quinn Donoghue

Read more