Good user activity in Austin
prompted Karlin Real Estate's
recent 300-acre buy.

AUSTIN-A 297-acre land sale by Karlin Real Estate is the latest commercial real estate news coming out of the area. The California-based buyer is putting together plans for a massive mixed-use development on the land, which is bordered by McCallen Pass, East Howard Lane, Harris Ridge Boulevard and Tech Ridge Boulevard in the northeast submarket.

Karlin is no stranger to the area, however, having acquired, during the past couple of years, approximately 900,000 square feet in separate transactions. One of those transactions was the 320,597-sqare-foot Parmer Office at 717 E. Parmer Lane that Karlin bought from Dell Inc. and, more recently, leased to General Motors through a long-term agreement.

Interest such as that exhibited by GM in the region was mainly why Karlin decided that acquiring the land, which is adjacent to a couple of its Austin properties, was a good idea. “We saw an incredible amount of interest from out-of-state users in this particular area,” explains Karlin co-founder and managing director Matthew Schwab. “We’ve seen growth of the community and the business environment, and these are things that intrigue employers about the area.” Given the activity in the market, and “given the amount of users we were able to bring into the existing buildings, we determined that we could organically increase demand for the rest of the park,” Schwab tells

Hence the purchase of the land, which was accomplished off-market. The acreage can hold up to nine million square feet of office, industrial, hotel and retail uses. Schwab tells that Karlin is still in the entitlement phase, and the development doesn’t yet have a name.  He says it’s also up in the air as to whether Karlin will content itself as a land developer that sells parcels off to users, or one that builds a couple of structures itself. “It’ll be user-driven,” Schwab remarks. “We’re looking at a lot of options.”

Speaking of options, is Karlin actively looking for more to buy in Austin? Schwab says it all depends. “We’re open to it because we really like the market,” he comments. “Anything we look at would have to be a part of our model; in other words, areas in which we feel there’s a good amount of growth, and a price that’s at a level where we’d feel comfortable.”