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AUSTIN-One Commodore Plaza, a 14-story building in the CBD, is getting a new look and a new name. “We’re re-imaging and repositioning,” Vic Russo of the Austin office of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle tells GlobeSt.com.

Jones Lang LaSalle manages and leases the building for San Diego-based Shidler Group, which bought it and three other Austin buildings in January. Now called 800 Brazos, the 164,741-sf building is 87% leased and Jones Lang LaSalle plans an aggressive marketing campaign. It is a block east of Congress Avenue and three blocks south of the Texas capitol.

The project’s first phase calls for renovating the exterior, giving it cleaner lines and starting on interior work. That should be completed by April. The second phase will extend the renovation to the building’s common areas as well as enhance its amenities.Built in 1948 as the Commodore Perry Hotel by Edgar Perry, a Central Texas cotton merchant, the building retains some of that hotel look and feel, Russo says. That will change. “We’re getting away from the hotel-kind of feeling with some of the renovation plans,” he says.

At the same time, the renovation will return the exterior to much of its original appearance, Russo says. “We’re making it a much cleaner look, much cleaner lines and simplified and retro.” PageSouthlandPage, an Austin-based architectural and engineering firm, is handling the design work.

The renovation has been in the works since before the market downturn, Russo says. But that makes the project even more important. “People are realizing that landlords can’t just be order takers anymore,” he says. “And that they’ve got to present a top product, whether it’s a B building or an A building. They’ve just got to present the best building they can, the best amenities and services available because there’s a lot of competition.”

A year or 18 months ago, companies in need of office space had few choices. That’s changed. “What we’re seeing is that the tenant coming in to look at 5,000 feet will have multiple choices now, basically endless choices where a year or so ago, they didn’t,” Russo says.

He says the building’s location makes it attractive to several types of tenants. “It’s on one of the main fiber lines so it’s a good location for telecom tenants and we’re a few blocks from the capitol so it’s a good location people that do business at the capitol, law firms and such.”

Jones Lang LaSalle and the Shidler Group aren’t stopping there. “We’re doing everything from broker promotions to giving gift certificates to brokers who come and show space in the building to providing the most efficient operating expenses and amenities that we can,” Russo says.

The published rental rate for 800 Brazos is $16 per sf. The average rental rate for class B space in the CBD was $23.78 per sf in the third quarter, according to a report from Colliers Oxford Commercial. “We’re getting as aggressive as we can to make sense on the rental rate structure,” he says, adding that there are a couple of deals in the pipeline.

Besides 800 Brazos, the Shidler group owns the adjacent Two Commodore Plaza; the Exchange, in the northeast submarket; and the Southfield building in the south Austin submarket. Shidler is in Austin for the long-term, Russo says, and is scouting for more properties. “They’re still very positive about Austin in the long run,” he says. “This is one of the markets they particularly believe in in the long run and they’re looking at some things now.

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