2020 ABJ Commercial Real Estate Award – Community Impact

The Boutique at The Refuge Ranch received the 2020 Austin Business Journal Commercial Real Estate Community Impact Award and we were honored to have been included in this collective effort alongside Sixthriver and many others who brought this unique project to life.


  • Lead developer: Square One Consultants
  • General contractor: The Burt Group
  • Primary architect: Sixthriver
  • Interior designer: Sixthriver
  • Structural engineer: Dunaway Associates

Why it won: The Boutique at The Refuge Ranch is a small project that means a whole lot to those who use it.

It is a roughly 2,000-square-foot store, with 1,600 square feet inside and 400 on an outside deck, at The Refuge Ranch, a therapeutic community for child survivors of sex trafficking in Bastrop County. A dilapidated double-wide construction trailer was completely transformed into the Boutique, where the girls who live at the ranch can shop for clothing, jewelry, accessories and other items that can make them feel more at home during their time at the community.

The estimated $150,000 project was completed pro bono. In addition to the work of general contractor The Burt Group and architect Sixthriver, more than 20 different partners contributed, including:

•             F&V Drywall, roof framing, interior framing, all drywall

•             Berg Electric, all electrical elements and labor

•             Earnest Roofing, all roof materials and labor

•             Delta Millworks, plank cladding

•             Travis Millworks, materials and labor

•             Legacy Lighting, lighting materials

•             Commercial Flooring Systems, flooring and install

•             Alison & Co., lighting

•             Astek, wallcoverings

•             Neihi Glass, labor installing all windows

•             Benjamin Moore, paint

•             Home Depot in Bastrop, discounts on materials

•             SKG

•             Shaw

•             Knoll Crossville

•             Schluter

An old construction trailer was converted to a Boutique onsite at The Refuge.

In addition, an anonymous $10,000 donation helped provide supplies for the build. Corralling donated labor was a major hurdle. So was overcoming unique security concerns during construction, due to the sensitive nature of the site.

“Given the circumstances that some of these girls come from, this was of the highest priority. During construction we could not provide the address of the site, requested that all on-site personnel turn off their locator on their phones and they were limited to only remaining in one designated area.”

The design of The Boutique mimics a traditional retail store. The rear portion is reserved for private items and dressing rooms where the girls at the community can gather and share their finds. A covered front porch entry doubles as an outdoor classroom and gathering space.

In addition to serving as a refuge of normalcy for residents of Refuge Ranch, the Boutique is a place for them to learn budgeting skills and even job training, with employment offered to those who want it.

The Burt Group is a leading Austin-based commercial general contracting firm.