As the Central Texas office market continues to recover from the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, developers are planning an office campus in East Austin they say will aim to “attract Austin’s creative professionals.”
The project, named Springdale Green, calls for 872,000 square feet of office space in two six-story buildings on a 30-acre campus at Airport Boulevard and Springdale Road. The project also calls for a parking structure on the site.
San Francisco-based Jay Paul Company is the developer for the project, which is being designed by global design firm Gensler along with dwg, a local landscape architect.
The project will focus on “sustainability and wellness,” with 19 acres of the site reserved for green space, according to a statement from Jay Paul Company. The campus was previously home to a storage facility for petroleum and chemical tanks, and has undergone remediation.
The Springdale Green project will aim for an LEED Gold certification and to gain Austin Energy Green Building 3-Star certification by including a 600,000-gallon system that will capture and store rainwater and air conditioning condensation to irrigate the landscaping. To help prevent downstream flooding, rain gardens and a bio-retention basin will be used to treat stormwater. Landscapers will also remove invasive species from the campus to preserve the natural landscape, according to the developers.
“The campus design reflects the eclectic spirit and creativity of East Austin, while prioritizing sustainability with a number of environmental restoration efforts for the surrounding landscape,” Jay Paul Company chief operating officer Janette D’Elia said in a written statement.
The project’s two office buildings will include outdoor patio space and wellness and fitness facilities that include workout equipment, classes and personal training. The site will also offer basketball and volleyball courts, yoga, nature trails and about a mile of boardwalk among other amenities.
The space calls for an 18,000-square foot conference space and a 23,000 square foot fitness center for employees, as well as an on-site parking garage that includes bike storage and electric vehicle charging stations.
“I knew where office buildings had been going, but it definitely felt like we needed to turn the page, shake it up a little bit,” said George Blume, design director at Gensler. “Particularly with this site it seemed like we needed to do something different, a little more special than to do just another sort of stodgy glass box.”
The developers said they imagine the campus as one that merges indoor and outdoor workspaces, providing professional and collaborative spaces but also recreational and social areas. Blume said the building that previously occupied the site didn’t take advantage of the outdoor space. He said he and his fellow designers plan to refocus the office space around its surrounding environment beyond offering decks or other outdoor areas.
Tenenbaum said that while many employees still enjoy the office environment and the ability to socialize with co-workers or better compartmentalize work and home life, employers still may want to create attractive environments to encourage workers to make the trek to the office as they return to in-person work.
“If offices are going to want to attract people back to them,” Tenenbaum said, “they have to be a space that people want to go to and not a generic office. Or at least the offices that people want to go to will be more successful than a generic space.”