All posts by Sarah Sparrowhawk

JTM Development to Break Ground on Walsh Tarlton Overlook in Austin


Located just north of Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and west of the Barton Creek Square Mall, the three-story building is located at 2530 Walsh Tarlton Lane.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Austin-based JTM Development will break ground next week on Walsh Tarlton Overlook, a 55,000-square-foot office building in southwest Austin. Located just north of Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360) and west of the Barton Creek Square Mall, the three-story building is located at 2530 Walsh Tarlton Lane. Sixthriver Architects designed the project, which will feature limestone, marble and walnut finishes throughout the building, as well as in the elevator lobbies and elevators. The structure includes a five-floor parking garage beneath the building. Walsh Tarlton Overlook is scheduled to open in 2017. The Burt Group is the general contractor on the project. TBG Group designed the landscaping. JTM Development is partnering on the project with Cypress Real Estate Advisors, which has owned the 16-acre site since 2007. Cypress received approval from the city of Austin to rezone the property for mixed-use development in 2011.

The versatility of The Burt Group

Two recent projects demonstrate the versatility of The Burt Group in building out interiors or from the ground up for the restaurant, hospital and healthcare industries.

Since its founding in 2002, The Burt Group calculates that it has built more than 22 million square feet in central Texas in more than 1,000 commercial projects. These include construction of projects from the ground up of healthcare facilities and remodeling of corporate interiors along with projects in retail, restaurants, hospitality, corporate, manufacturing, industrial and technology.

Among the company’s recent projects is the design/build construction of a surgery center in New Braunfels, Texas. Named New Braunfels Spine and Pain, the one-story steel structure with concrete foundation features a stone façade and includes a pain clinic and two operating rooms. The operating rooms required all the critical elements of a hospital including medical gases, a back-up generator and nurse call.

Such a medical facility has to meet the standards of the Texas Department of Health and pass inspections by the city and medical inspectors. Approximately 16 subcontractors are participating in the project that The Burt Group works with regularly in the central Texas area. The architect was HS&P and the surgery center was designed with building information modeling software.

New Braunfels Spine and Pain was located on vacant land on a medical campus. “The doctor came and said he likes what we do and wants to build a clinic,” Vice President of Client Services Troy Chapman recalls. “I assembled the team and had regular meetings until the design was tweaked, we finalized the design and we started construction.”

Construction of New Braunfels Spine and Pain began in October 2015. “Getting out of the ground was the biggest challenge,” Chapman remembers. “During the site work we experienced 47 rain days.”

High 5

Another interesting project by The Burt Group was construction of a High 5 Entertainment Center in Lakeway, Texas. The 45,000-square-foot, two-story steel building has a mezzanine that covers approximately 15,000 square feet with 12 boutique bowling lanes upstairs and 16 downstairs. The entertainment center also includes a two-story laser tag arena, a full kitchen and bar both upstairs and downstairs, an open video game area and men’s and women’s rest rooms.

The laser tag area is lit with black lights and features obstructions such as towers and ramps to keep the game interesting. The Burt Group was responsible for installation of the infrastructure in the laser tag arena such as electrical and fire sprinklers, but a company that specialized in laser tag built the game’s interior.

The entertainment center is located in a 150,000-square-foot retail center. Construction of it began in July 2015 and was completed in December 2015. The exterior is tilt wall concrete along with masonry. The Burt Group bid on the project as general contractor and had 60 subcontractors work on the project.

The lot for the High 5 Entertainment Center was vacant but the building’s concrete foundation required piers. A difficulty this project faced was being plagued by rain. “Our crucial time was in October,” remembers Ben Estes, who works in business development. “We were going vertical, and it was extremely difficult. We were drilling piers and then it rained for 10 days. Then we’d do some grade beams and it would rain for 10 days.”

Employee Involvement

Tommy Burt and his co-founder Shane Watts founded The Burt Group 16 years ago as a tenant improvement contractor. In November 2014, the company purchased Watts’ share. The Burt Group builds its green projects to the specifications of the Austin Energy Green Building program. It is known for providing exceptional value in its projects, which are delivered on-time due to its employees’ commitment.

This includes its executive team, which the company has built over the past 16 years. Not only does this group include Burt himself as president, but also:

* CFO Heather Merz

* Vice President of Operations Jerry Dollar

* Vice President of Preconstruction Edwina Lashbrook

* Vice President of Client Services Troy Chapman

* Vice President of Construction Joe O’Jibway

* Vice President of Construction Services Billy Lashbrook

The Burt Group says it has built a reputation on constructing Class A office space with maximum efficiency and minimum time, whether a facility is occupied or unoccupied. Its ground-up repute also includes wood frame, structural steel, and tilt-wall construction. The company also can build additions to existing facilities, standalone structures, and new plaza developments. The Burt Group says it can take a project from concept to turn-key.

In the restaurant and hospitality industry, The Burt Group says it can do everything from overseeing the application of decorative finishes to the installation of high-end equipment in basic to high-end environments. The Burt Group team is prepared to handle any size project, from renovations and expansions to brand updates for local, national and global brands.

For the healthcare industry, The Burt Group can remodel a small specialty clinic or build an entirely new hospital from the ground up without interrupting patient care and while maintaining patient, staff and visitor safety. The Burt Group’s construction team works with broader project teams in the pre-construction and planning phases to offer clients information about industry trends in design and technology, as well as guidance in cost, scheduling and project approach logistics to ensure efficient project delivery.

The Safe Company

The Burt Group maintains a high safety rate thanks to its strict, regimented program. The company employs an in-house safety director so employees receive specific training in safety. All of the company’s field employees are OSHA-certified and trained in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Additionally, employees are required to wear personal protection equipment at all times on the job site.

The company also has turned to outside firms to help keep it safe. It has contracted The ISNetworld to monitor and update its safety manuals and documents so that it stays compliant with OSHA and client requirements.

The firm also has retained Safe Construction Consulting LLC, based in Florence, Texas. The third-party safety-consulting firm performs onsite field inspections for The Burt Group, which complements the daily safety inspections conducted by its own personnel.

The Burt Group creates a job-specific safety plan for each project and holds weekly, onsite subcontractor meetings that are recorded.

Brokerages get new digs amid economic boom

Two Austin commercial real estate brokerages are on the move — literally.

JLL consolidated its two offices into one office on the eighth floor of 1703 W. Fifth St., while Colliers International just moved into new digs on the seventh floor of One Eleven Congress.

Marc Vanderslice, co-chairman and principal of Colliers, said everything just seemed to come together when they toured the 5,000 square foot space.

“What decided it for us are the improvements that the owners are doing at that building with Fareground — and we just have an especially great relationship with that leasing team,” Vanderslice said. “STG Design helped us see the vision and it felt like a natural space.”

Fareground is the indoor-outdoor food park that Parkway Properties (NYSE: PKY) is constructing as an added amenity to the office tower at 111 Congress Ave.

In addition to moving into new office space, Colliers made a major new-hire, luring long-time tenant representation broker David Bremer of Austin Office Space. Bremer was with AOS for 15 years and during the past several months realized he needed a change of scenery.

“I came up with an elaborate process to check out various opportunities,” Bremer said. “I needed to find the right culture that would also benefit my clients. I sat down with several shops and Colliers hands down was a good fit for me.”

Bremer began his new assignment May 16.

Vanderslice said Bremer’s decision is another affirmation of Colliers’ viability. Vanderslice, along with Doug Jones and Volney Campbell, left a comfortable situation with HPI Corporate Services to start a Colliers office in Austin in 2014. It was a big risk at the time, they said.

Two years later the leap of faith has paid off.

“The big thing that we’ve been able to do is attract top talent like Doug Rauls and David [Bremer]. That speaks not only to the Colliers brand but our culture. We’re building something different here,” Vanderslice said.

Colliers is built on a unique platform, he said. Though it’s a national brand, the company is owned by employees.

“We feel we have all the bells and whistles of a larger company but we can be very nimble, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, JLL has also grown significantly in the past couple of years.

JLL focused initially on office tenant representation, but in September 2013 persuaded SRS Real Estate Partners executive Todd Wallace to bring his team over to start a JLL retail brokerage team. Not long after, Wallace was named to head the JLL office. Since then he’s brought over one of the most productive landlord rep teams — Rachel Coulter and Kevin Kimbrough previously of Cushman & Wakefield/Oxford Commercial — and investment sales broker Jeff Coddington, also formerly with Cushman & Wakefield/Oxford Commercial.

The company has gone from two service lines — office tenant representation and project development services overseeing tenant buildouts — to the full scope of brokerage services, which also includes multifamily investment sales, research and property management.

“JLL has made a huge commitment to Central Texas,” Wallace said.

For the past two years, JLL had maintained two offices in Rollingwood and North Austin. That division was erased in recent weeks with the move of all employees to 17,515 square feet at the former Capstar Plaza near West Fifth Street and MoPac Expressway. With the new lease, JLL has renamed the building “JLL Plaza.”

The office lease and remodeling was accomplished in an unusually short time frame — six weeks. JLL’s reputation for efficient buildout oversight was put to the test.

“Everyone worked around the clock. It was amazing to see how seamless the process was,” Wallace said.

JLL’s product development and facilities management teams worked with contractor The Burt Group to accomplish the feat.

“We could pull a lot of string with a lot of vendors, creating synergies to get things done,” said JLL Marketing Manager Landree Dillinger.

Expect more news at JLL, too.

“We’re still bringing more top talent on,” Wallace said.

Jan Buchholz covers commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture and retail and restaurants for the Austin Business Journal.

Favor finds a favorite spot for new Austin HQ

Favor, the delivery app, recently moved into its new corporate headquarters at 1705 Guadalupe St.

The 12,000-square-foot space houses 120 employees, who came up with the design for the 1970s aesthetic. The Favor app is operated by Austin company NeighborFavor Inc.

“It was incredibly important for us to have our employees heavily involved in the planning and design of our new space,” said Jag Bath, CEO and president of NeighborFavor, in a statement.

The Burt Group handled the tenant improvement, which makes perfect sense. The company has an interesting history that I wrote about previously.

The lease for the space was handled by Brian Liverman and Zack Jamail of Peloton Commercial Real Estate, as representatives of the landlord, and Cortland Lowe of HPI Real Estate & Investments, as representative for NeighborFavor.

NeighborFavor previously was located in 4,000 square feet at 1611 W. Sixth St. The new digs allow for ample expansion. A company spokeswoman said signing the lease and completing the build-out were accomplished in record time — about three weeks.

Jan Buchholz covers commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture and retail and restaurants for the Austin Business Journal.

Former UT athlete opens Lakeway entertainment venue

A former University of Texas football player has recently opened High 5, an entertainment venue in Lakeway. Scott Emley, who played for the Longhorns in the late 1990s, and his wife Jenny are backed by local investors — though no one is saying how much the project cost.

I’ve got an inside and outside look of the 47,000-square-foot facility at the new Oaks at Lakeway shopping center, which includes a signature HEB Grocery Co. store.

Recently, the Emleys hired Tom Funk, a former executive with bowling giant Brunswick, as High 5’s vice president of operations. The project includes 28 bowling lanes, a video game arcade, laser tag arena, full-service restaurant, a separate bar and lounge and five meeting rooms.

It was designed by Fitzgerald + Associates of Oklahoma City with strong industrial traits contrasted with with Hill Country ranch vibes. Austin-based The Burt Group was the general contractor.

The 175,000-square-foot Oaks at Lakeway, 1900 S. RR 620, continues to deliver retailers in the upscale Hill Country town. Stratus Properties (Nasdaq: STRS) of Austin is the developer.

The showcase HEB, which opened last October, includes an impressive display case of dry-aged steaks and a large wine department, as well as a full-service restaurant.

Jan Buchholz covers commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture and retail and restaurants for the Austin Business Journal.

This article originally appeared in the Austin Business Journal.

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