A partnership led by Dallas-based Emerson Partners Inc. a real estate investment management firm specializing in industrial and land development, has purchased a 235,000-sf office complex in the Walnut Creek area.

The partnership has paid more than $20 million for Promontory Point, a six-building complex on Ridgepoint Dr. northeast of Texas 290 and Texas 183. Tenants at Promontory Point include Apple Computer Inc., which leases more than 100,000 sf in the project.

“The Austin market is booming right now due to the growth in the high-tech industries and we want to be a part of it,” Susan E. Singer, Emerson Partners vice president/sales and leasing told GlobeSt.com. “We would like to acquire additional office/flex or office/tech type of properties in Austin and are actively looking.”

Emerson Partners has another development in progress, Parmer Business Park. The 151,000-sf first phase is completed and leased to Sun Microsystems. A 108,000-sf phase II is under way. “We have the land for phase III which could end up being a multi-story building as large as 480,000 sf,” says Singer.

Emerson concentrates on office/tech properties – acquiring existing properties and developing new ones. “Austin is a good fit with the 1.5 million sf of property we currently own in Dallas,” she says.

Austin real estate brokers say the seller of the project was Principal Mutual Life Insurance Co. of Des Moines, IA. Emerson plans to retain Trammell Crow Co. for leasing and management at Promontory Point, according to officials.

The Austin office market continues to show surprising strength. Overall rental rates in the second quarter rose 44 cents to $23.64, up 6.6% since the second quarter 1999, according to Colliers Oxford Commercial. What’s driving the market, those in the sector say, is high demand, a dearth of space, and few choices. The Austin office market had a mere 70,000 sf of new space come on the market during the second quarter.

“Due to the number of new projects planned to deliver by year end, Colliers Oxford foresees a continued rise in rental rates on into the third and fourth quarters until future supply and tenant demand even out,” says Kevin H. Kimbrough, director of market research in the Austin office of Colliers Oxford.

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