AUSTIN (KXAN/Austin Business Journal) — A downtown Austin site at the center of a years-long lawsuit is on the verge of being purchased for $95 million.
According to court records, a company called Third and Congress Owner LLC has agreed to purchase three downtown parcels owned by WC 3rd and Congress LP — an entity owned by World Class Holdings, Nate Paul’s embattled real estate investment firm.
The deal would be for 53,920 square feet on two sides of The Austonian condo tower, but that relatively small space could hold over 1 million square feet of towering office or residential space. The land is currently occupied by a surface parking lot fronting Third Street and low-rise buildings at the corner of Colorado and Second Streets.
Yet, some worry the tall structures will loom over their lives, pricing them out of the city they love.
Recent Texas grad Addison Scales said the cost of living has become unrealistic for students.
“We always had six roommates in my house going through UT,” she said. “I never could afford my own bedroom.”
“Austin’s going places where we’ve never been,” CBRE senior vice president Katie Ekstrom said. “You’re seeing a lot of new investors and clients wanting to own something here.”
The price tag of $95 million around The Austonian works out to about $1,762 per square foot, which court documents claim would be the second-highest land price ever paid in Austin’s Central Business District.
“I think it’s pushing people out for sure,” Scales said. “That’s inaccessible to everyone beyond the very upper percent.”
Longtime local resident Jorge Bulnes believes with record-high rent prices and renewal rates, making ends meet may not be enough.
“You’re going to have to be working your tail off, you’re going to have to be working 60 hours a week,” he said. “Even that then it’s not enough to just live in Austin.”
Cami Demetri has lived in Austin her entire life.
“I hope to go to college here and hopefully live here and get a job,” she said. “It makes me wonder if I’m going to actually be able to do that, because of how expensive things are getting.”
The deal still requires the approval of a Travis County judge. It’s unclear what Wildcat’s plans are for the site if the sale goes through. Attempts to reach Wildcat for comment were unsuccessful.