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Huge project near airport gains momentum with addition of development partner

There are new signs of life at a major mixed-use development planned in Southeast Austin. A multifamily developer has signed on to build about 300 apartments at what is now called Velocity, east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport along the State Highway 130 toll road.


Dallas-based Presidium Group LLC will develop the apartments in a joint venture with Marketplace Real Estate Group, said Doug Launius, a principal at Marketplace.

Presidium filed a site plan application March 12 with the city of Austin Development Services Department for Presidium at Velocity. The actual site plan hasn’t been submitted yet to the city for review.


The apartments would be built on about 10 acres at 3326 E. State Highway 71, according to the filing. Kimley Horn & Associates is the civil engineer.


Formerly called Velocity Crossing, the entire development encompasses about 314 acres along the SH 130 corridor. Plans call for building about 5.5 million square feet of apartments, offices, retail, hotels and light industrial space over the next several years.


Launius said developers are working on finalizing the land planning at Velocity including designing the roads and other infrastructure — and determining where buildings will be constructed.


Naming a development partner, though, signals that the project is moving full speed ahead. Launius told the Austin Business Journal in November that apartments would likely be constructed first and in the next couple of years, pending city approvals.

East Austin is poised for massive growth in the next 20 years. With the metro's population expected to grow from about 2.2 million today to an estimated 3.6 million by 2040, the east side of the city has room for many of the homes that need to be built.

The biggest development proposed for the east side is Austin Green, which could have 12,000 residential units and 2.25 million square feet of commercial space along SH 130 from the Colorado River to FM 969.

Plans for Velocity are ambitious as well and the project could bring much-needed commercial space to a part of town that lacks substantial retail development. Presidium couldn’t be reached for comment on its plans at Velocity.

The company has made headlines in recent years for its controversial 4700 East Riverside project that received zoning approval from the city of Austin in October. There, just east of Austin's Central Business District, Presidium and Nimes Capital LLC plan to build 4,709 multifamily units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space, 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 60,000 square feet of medical and dental office space over the next decade.

At Velocity, Launius said 46 acres along State Highway 71 — just east of where H-E-B LP owns land for a potential future store — is already zoned, platted and entitled for multifamily, office, light industrial uses and some entertainment, retail and restaurants. Site plan approval is still needed.

Additional apartments besides the initial ones being developed by Presidium are planned in the future. Launius did not disclose how many more apartments are planned.

French cosmetics maker Capsum — under the code name Project Bluewave — bought 50 acres at Velocity in 2018. It was expected to this year open a 126,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility on FM 973 near SH 71.

Austin Community College owns 124 acres adjacent to the industrial section of Velocity. The community college district plans to build a regional workforce center that will house programs such as automotive technology, building construction technology, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology, welding technology and jewelry making.

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