Austin Business Journal

Wanted: Developer with an ‘enlightened view’ to transform East Austin warehouse

By Jan Buchholz

Dale Glover believes his new listing in East Austin will have investors salivating.  

A warehouse with nearly 5.5 acres of land at 20 Strandtman Cove — near East Cesar Chavez and Levander Loop — has hit the market.

Among its strong selling points are direct access to the Colorado River Wildlife Sanctuary and close proximity to the nostalgic Montopolis Bridge, which will be converted into a bike and walking path when U.S. Highway 183 receives major upgrades in the near future.

 Dale Glover of Rainey.Co, standing in front of the nostalgic Montopolis Bridge: "I've looked closely  at the whole area and what would maximize the possibilities."

Dale Glover of Rainey.Co, standing in front of the nostalgic Montopolis Bridge: "I've looked closely  at the whole area and what would maximize the possibilities."

The city of Austin also recently purchased land nearby to maintain as parks. The setting, Glover said, is outstanding because of natural amenities, access to major roads, real estate development synergies forming in the area — and it’s still just five to 10 minutes from downtown.

“The goal is to get a buyer who has an enlightened view of what can happen here,” said Glover, a commercial broker and founder of boutique real estate company Rainey.co. “I’ve looked closely at the whole area and what would maximize the possibilities.”

Mixed-use — perhaps office and hotel, he said — makes sense. About 200,000 square feet of commercial space could potentially be built up to 60 feet high or about five floors.

Another attractive selling point, he noted, is that light-industrial properties are in short supply in Austin and allow for a variety of uses and development intensities. Zonability, a research and data firm that analyzes property zoning in several major U.S. cities, estimates that between 219,000 and 237,000 square feet could be developed.

In addition to typical warehouse uses, other possibilities might be a brewery, indoor entertainment or sports and recreation facility, offices and medical offices, custom manufacturing, mini-storage retail stores and restaurants. Glover, however, hopes quality mixed-use prevails.

 Glover has the listing for this warehouse on nearly 5.5 acres of land at 20 Strandtman Cove, near East Cesar Chavez and Levander Loop.  photo credit: ARNOLD WELLS/STAFF

Glover has the listing for this warehouse on nearly 5.5 acres of land at 20 Strandtman Cove, near East Cesar Chavez and Levander Loop.  photo credit: ARNOLD WELLS/STAFF

The property is listed for $50 per square foot — total square footage of the entire site is about 233,000 square feet — or a little more than $11.6 million.

Travis Central Appraisal District most recently valued the land at $2,069,000 — and there appears to be precedent for dramatic increases in property values in the area.

Recently, I wrote that the owners of Central Machine, a fabrication and metalworking business at 4824 E. Cesar Chavez St., sold their shop and 1.5 acres of land to local real estate investor Rosa Santis for $2,480,000 — more than double the most recent government appraisal of $1,035,949. The latest appraisal is dramatically higher than just four years ago when the same property was valued at $374,703.

Glover represents a local family investment company, which currently rents the property to HD Supply, a large construction conglomerate based in Atlanta. That company will move elsewhere and the owner — AUS Holdings LLC — hopes to cash in on its investment, which dates back to 1999.

In addition to the land, the property includes about 17,850 square feet of industrial space.

The entire area near East Cesar Chavez and U.S. 183 holds great potential, Glover said.

Several high-profile Austin entrepreneurs and real estate investors own parcels nearby, Glover said. The adjacent Borden Milk Products facility at 71 Strandtman Cove may also hold long-term redevelopment possibilities, he said.

Glover has been a serious student of the area for years after graduating from the University of Texas with an urban studies degree with specialities in geology, social work and architecture. He satisfied his fascination with location first as a geographical information systems specialist with the Capital Area Council of Governments before becoming a real estate broker.

More recently, Glover partnered with Jesse Lunsford, another local investor and developer, to transform a quirky commercial property at 3235 E. Cesar Chavez St. into Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile. They also worked together on several projects on Rainey Street and with bar maven Bridget Dunlap on her new endeavor, Lustre Pearl East, also near East Cesar Chavez.