AUSTIN-Transworld Properties is closing in on a lease deal for its Stonebridge Plaza II, a 200,000-sf office project under way on one of the few open sites left in northwest Austin’s Golden Triangle.

A pact is expected to be signed within 60 days, a Transworld Properties’ source tells “There’s been a lot of interest,” says the source. Key to the interest is the precise reason that Transworld Properties is undertaking the $30-million project.

The 7.5 acres, which abuts the Stonebridge Plaza I office project, is being developed with practically a free hand since it has all of its entitlement permits in place–a rarity, according to the company spokesman. “Austin is very restrictive in its development… it’s an environmentally sensitive area,” he says, citing this as cause for the current low supply of class A development sites. That is particularly true of the MoPac corridor, says the spokesman. The project, which launched in mid-August, is situated northwest of Research Boulevard and North MoPac in what officials describe as Austin’s Golden Triangle, the intersection of MoPac, Texas 183, and Loop 360.

“Unlike Dallas or Houston, Austin just can’t grow on a whim or where you want it to grow,” he says. Development these days lies in the capital’s north and south sectors, stretching into rural communities where restrictions aren’t so overbearing.

Houston-based Transworld Properties’ second phase tentatively is set to deliver in September 2001, bringing that area to maximum development. The office properties are bordered by two extended-stay hotels, a restaurant and street.

Upon completion, the second phase most likely will meet the same fate as its sister structure, Stonebridge Plaza I, which recently was sold to a state pension fund. And, says the source, the that buyer too will most likely be a pension fund real estate entity.

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