Category Archives: Press

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.

Austin Tourism Boom Putting Strain on Hospitality Industry

The Burt Group’s Restaurant and Hospitality Division Rapidly Growing to Meet Demand

The Burt Group, a leading general contracting firm delivering complex, cutting-edge and transformative buildings and interiors is focusing their expertise in meeting Austin’s explosive demand for hospitality construction projects. As crowds continue to flock to the area, The Burt Group’s team is ensuring that Austin is fully prepared for the rapid influx of visitors.

“With the demand growing every day for more and more hospitality related projects here in Austin, our restaurant and hospitality division is staying very busy,” said Troy Chapman, vice president of client services, The Burt Group. “As the city’s tourism industry continues to boom, The Burt Group is poised to have a banner year.”

The Burt Group’s restaurant and hospitality division has already wrapped up multiple downtown Austin projects, including the remodeling of the Radisson Hotel & Suites and Littlefield Lofts. The team has also completed several restaurant projects, including Vox Table at Lamar Union on South Lamar, and the newest Jack Allen’s Kitchen location in Westlake. Additionally, their latest restaurant project, True Food Kitchen, a healthy eatery inspired by seasonal ingredients and wellness principals, is slated for completion in November of this year. The restaurant will be located downtown on the ground floor of the new Seaholm Residences building, formerly the Seaholm Power Plant.

Experts believe that construction in Austin’s hospitality sector will continue to see strong growth until supply catches up with demand. A study conducted by Smith Travel Research (STR) shows that hotel occupancy levels across the country are at all-time highs. However, the growth in the number of hotels remains relatively low. This has led to hotel construction booms in many parts of the country, especially in Austin. To meet the increase in demand for hotel rooms, many hoteliers are beginning to expand existing hotels or construct new ones.

According to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city is seeing an annual growth in tourism of five percent year after year. With major events like X Games, South By Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival, as well Austin being an extremely popular conventions destination, business for local restaurants and hotels are seeing no signs of slowing.

About The Burt Group
The Burt Group is a leading general contracting firm delivering complex, cutting-edge and transformative interiors and buildings. The company has built a reputation as an award-winning leader in construction with its resolute focus on integrity, safety and agile project completion.

The Burt Group specializes in interior finish-out, adaptive reuse construction and ground-up construction in health care, restaurant, hospitality, corporate, manufacturing, industrial and technology environments.

Big, bold vision unveiled in Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Westlake style

Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Westlake has been open for a couple of months, but Austin Business Journal has some of the first photos to share of the reenvisioned space at 3600 N. Capital of Texas Highway.

This is Austin chef Jack Gilmore’s third stand alone location and it’s a far cry from Trento’s, the formal Italian restaurant that occupied the space previously.

It seems like an oxymoron, but the vibe now combines Texas grit and sophisticated sleekness.

Mann & Mann Architects in West Lake Hills designed the restaurant with plenty of elbow room.

There’s 6,700 square feet of air conditioned space and a spacious deck overlooking the Hill Country, too. About 325 diners can sample Gilmore’s trademarked chicken fried anything or red chili fries.

The Burt Group handled construction.

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

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.

Redevelopment: Finally, new life for old IBM offices

What’s not to like about two nondescript, 1970s-style industrial buildings ravaged by fire and floods whose only occupants in the past 30 years have been raccoons?

“We love it,” said Tommy Burt, president and co-founder of Burt-Watts Industries, who led the investment team that purchased the properties in April 2013 from Powell Austin Properties Ltd., a local family.

His Austin-based contracting and construction management company now occupies a portion of the space acquired at 2111 and 2115 Kramer Lane in North Austin near The Domain.

“We got a good deal,” said Burt, who declined to say how much he paid for the two buildings that measure about 28,000 square feet each. According to the Travis Central Appraisal District, one building is valued at about $2 million and the other at $2.2 million.

Loan Science LLC and CommUnity Care leased the space Burt-Watts didn’t consume.

Burt said the ownership team spent $3 million to renovate all the spaces into attractive, contemporary offices that are a far cry from the buildings’ generic origins that date back to the early 1970s when IBM Corp. occupied them.

“I knew what I wanted to do with them when I walked it the first time,” Burt said.

The key was translating that vision into something practical, yet inspiring.

Burt leaned on his friend, colleague and sometimes co-investor Clay Little, partner in NoackLittle Architecture & Interiors. The two had collaborated on adaptive re-use — a formal term for converting obsolete spaces into something cool — at 1300 Guadalupe St. They purchased and converted that building into offices for both their firms.

Eventually, though, with 79 employees and growing, Burt-Watts needed much larger digs.

Burt began shopping for space and consulting with employees who had grown used to working close to downtown. He said they embraced the idea of moving north, off Braker Lane near Metric Boulevard.

“Everybody liked the amenities of The Domain nearby and having plenty of parking, which was a problem downtown,” Burt said. “We also got everybody involved in the concept of the design.”

Burt and Little have created a contemporary space — about 13,500 square feet — with wide shafts of natural light penetrating what was a dank, unappealing place. Modern finishes, unexpected flashes of color and an open floor plan have made all the difference in the world.

“Tommy has great design taste and he demands a lot of excellence,” Little said.

Added Burt: “I was worried about expectations, but it looks and feels even better that what I thought it could be. I’m greatly pleased.”

This article originally appeared in the Austin Business Journal.

Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin breaks ground

Burt-Watts Industries Inc. broke ground this week on the Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin at 4800 Manor Road in the Mueller development.

The 25,000-square-foot facility, which will serve children with developmental disabilities, was designed by O’Connell Robertson.
The private nonprofit it not releasing the cost of the school, though some published reports estimate a value of $5.6 million.

The building provides a permanent home for the school and is expected to open this summer. Until recently, Mack Brown was the University of Texas’ football coach.

This article originally appeared in the Austin Business Journal.

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