TBG Partners takes on a worldly view at Guadelupe Street digs

TBG Partners is celebrating an elevated position in the market — quite literally.

The Austin-founded landscape architecture firm took the top floor of a new five-story building at 1705 Guadalupe St. developed by The Burt Group.

Company officials said it seemed like the perfect location to continue the company’s rapid growth and recognize its heightened profile in the design world.

Earl Broussard founded the company in his Austin kitchen in 1987. Now the business has five Texas offices and others in Oklahoma and Florida. Its portfolio includes projects in Qatar, China, Mexico and the Bahamas. TBG also handled landscaping for two particularly prominent developments in Austin — the Seaholm Power Plant redevelopment and the Circuit of The Americas racetrack.

With the company’s lease for its Austin offices maturing, Broussard’s succession team decided they wanted to be closer to the action than in its suburban space off South MoPac Expressway.

The company settled on an evolving neighborhood between downtown and the University of Texas campus.

“We call this area ‘Downtown Light,’” said Brian Ott, managing principal of TBG in Austin.

The company leased 8,500 square feet, which was actually smaller than its former space at Barton Oaks Plaza.

“But we’ve got a much more efficient floor plate with open studio space,” Ott said.

And here’s another plus: The rent is about the same.

The property has an interesting history that dates back to the 1950s.

It was a two-story building that may have been a furniture store at one time. In the early 2000s, the building housed the Guadalupe Arts Center filled with artists’ studios.

A fire in 2005 caused about $650,000 damage. Many artists lost their work and about 75 tenants were displaced. The building had been vacant from some time when local real estate investors Cielo Property Group acquired the property and planned to build three stories on the original two floors.

The Burt Group — previously Burt-Watts Industries — was lined up to handle the general contracting.

In the end, circumstances changed and Tommy Burt — founder of The Burt Group — closed on the property and developed it himself. It’s the kind of project Burt enjoys. He remodeled 1300 Guadalupe St. down the street in partnership with NoackLittle Architecture and Interiors. That building was sold last year to New York investors.

In the interim, Burt located bland office-industrial space near Braker Lane and Metric Boulevard and converted it into stylish corporate headquarters.

While the company handles plenty of third-party assignments, Burt is always on the lookout for his own development opportunities and said more projects will be announced soon.

For now, everyone is enjoying 1705 Guadalupe, which includes a rooftop terrace with outdoor furniture and a large white wall for projecting movies.

In fact, Ott said, there will be plenty of tailgate parties for UT football games come fall. Some folks may just decide to hangout on the terrace and watch the TV coverage minus the crowds.

The deck also provides wow-factor views of the Texas Capitol and the downtown skyline.

Though TBG occupies all of the fifth floor, the rest of the building is for lease.

“It just screams tech and creative space,” said Kevin Granger, a broker with Peloton Commercial Real Estate who has the listing. “That area has really strong appeal and it’s not as congested as downtown.”

Granger said tour activity is strong, but no new tenants can be announced just yet.

Meanwhile, TBG employees are enjoying walking to restaurants such as Olamaie, the new Southern comfort restaurant located a block away — or taking the elevator to the ground floor and walking next door to the Dive Bar.

“We call that our Conference Room D,” Ott said.

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.