Mueller developer, W Austin Hotel owner vie to oversee huge master-planned project

Two notable names in Austin’s real estate world want to lead the redevelopment of the massive Colony Park project in East Austin.

Stratus Properties Inc. and Catellus Development Corp. have responded to the city’s request for qualifications for a master developer for the redevelopment of Colony Park — about 208 acres of publicly owned land near the intersection of Decker and Loyola lanes, about a mile from Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

Colony Park’s Master Plan, approved in 2014, allows for as much as 960,000 square feet of commercial space and 3,031 housing units. The project was unveiled in 2012.

City officials are excited about its mixed-use potential and hope it will be a catalyst for other development in the area. The city’s economic development department hoped to generate a lot of interest among developers and professional organizations with its RFQ.

But Christine Maguire, the city’s redevelopment division manager, said the low number of respondents was “expected” for such a complex project.

“We were very intentional of our wording (in the RFQ) in describing the type of developer we were seeking,” Maguire said. “The two that we received are squarely in the wheelhouse of the type of quality and caliber of respondent that we were seeking.”

Austin-based Stratus Properties (Nasdaq: STRS) owns the W Austin Hotel and the ACL Live at the Moody Theater music venue. It was also the driving force behind the large Circle C Ranch subdivision and other residential developments in Southwest Austin. Earlier in 2017, Austin Business Journal highlighted a significant shift in Stratus’ business model in recent years and its increased reliance on the W Austin and ACL Live for the bulk of its cash flow.

Catellus is based in Oakland, California, but has been the master developer for Mueller, a mixed-use district on the site of Austin’s old airport, since 2004.

“We’ve worked with these two firms in the past successfully,” Maguire said.

Maguire said the city will work in tandem with the eventual master developer for Colony Park’s redevelopment.

“It’s a long-term partnership,” Maguire said.

The next step in the Colony Park redevelopment, a request for proposals, is expected in February. City Council should pick a winner next summer.

Source: Austin Business Journal
Daniel Salazar, Staff Writer

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