Austin FC kicks up incentive for businesses to open in north Austin

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — When the doors open to fans at Q2 Stadium this June, the sleek facility will plant Austin FC squarely in north Austin, and that’s making other businesses want to put down roots there, too.

The owner of Taquero Mucho will open a second location later this year in north Austin on Burnet Road. The original location is at 508 West Ave. downtown. (KXAN photojournalist Todd Bynum)

In a space less than a mile from the soccer stadium on Burnet Road, Gabriela Bucio will soon open the second location of her downtown restaurant Taquero Mucho. The co-owner of Gabriela’s Group told the Austin Business Journal during its North Austin Growth Summit that the facility played a big factor in where she sought to expand.

“I really wanted to be up there because of the soccer stadium,” Bucio said. “I’m a huge soccer fan, and I’m excited to be up there.”

A study the City of Austin commissioned in 2018 predicted how much of an economic draw a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium would be. The findings estimated a facility like that would help bring in more than $25 million in “economic activity” to Austin each year from things like food and drink sales as well as hotel stays. When it considered Travis County as a whole, though, the study found a stadium would support more than $31 million of economic activity.

Drawing in additional commerce alongside more visitors is exactly why local leaders said they worked to bring a major league sports team to the city.

“It is something that I worked really hard, but together really hard with so many other people that also saw this as an important component of helping to fill out another aspect of the quality of life in this city,” Mayor Steve Adler said recently after touring the nearly complete stadium with the MLS commissioner.

One area that seemingly stands to benefit the most from its proximity to Q2 Stadium is the Domain.

At the Domain South End development near Domain Drive and Braker Lane, Stonelake Capital Partners is overseeing construction of the Bowen apartment building and the 24-story Domain Tower 2, which will be the tallest building in that area when it’s finished.

Will Jenkins, a principal at Stonelake, said he foresees the stadium as an enticing amenity for companies to choose his site for their next office space.

“Oh, there’s no debate about it, it will be fantastic,” Jenkins said. “It’s a huge entertainment draw, and it’s a huge corporate amenity in particular for our office tenants. It just adds to the vibrancy, and it’s kind of another leg under the stool of north Austin if you will.”

Businesses in this part of the city have fared better than the rest of the Austin retail market, according to one recent measure. In its quarterly market report released in January, the Texas-based commercial real estate firm NAI Partners reported retail vacancy in the north Austin/Domain area at 3.2%, while that rate sat at 4.8% citywide. Only Hays County and east/southeast Austin reported lower retail vacancy percentages in the fourth quarter last year, according to that NAI Partners report.

Graphic from NAI Partners’ quarterly market report from Jan. 2021

Austin FC is set to play its first ever home match on June 19 against the San Jose Earthquakes. The team also released the full TV schedule for its inaugural season, so fans can find out how and where to watch the games.

The CW Austin, KBVO and KXAN are the broadcast partners of Austin FC and will broadcast 23 of the team’s 34 matches.

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