Whether your business is new to Austin or you’re moving offices within Austin, finding the best space is certainly your most critical decision. Since we moved in the last year, we learned a lot of lessons about selecting new office space. We thought it was best to share some tips with you while they are still fresh in our mind.
1. What Part of Town is Best for Your Business?
Austin has a limited selection of areas with a wide variety of commercial real estate. Your choices are basically limited to four areas:
- Central Austin (includes downtown)
- South West Austin (includes the 360 corridor and West Lake)
- North West
- North East (mostly Walnut Creek)
As you may have noticed, there is very little commercial real estate on the East Side. Walnut Creek in North East Austin is really the only choice.
Moving Within Austin
If your business already resides in Austin, we recommend selecting a part of town based on where the majority of your employees live. An office move is incredibly stressful on employees, and with good reason. The decision will affect them twice a day, every single workday. We recommend mapping out existing employee addresses so you can identify what areas are most common amongst your employees or clients to help narrow your search.
Moving To Austin
If you are new to Austin, you may want to know a little bit about our transportation before selecting a region. Austin is a wonderful city with fantastic growth, but we’re going to level with you…the traffic is terrible. There are really only two highways that run north to south. IH-35 has moderate to heavy traffic all day every day. MoPac, or Loop 1 Expressway, remains free flowing most of the daytime, but when rush hour hits, it’s a parking lot.
There are even fewer options running east to west . Highway 290/71 is the only proper highway. There is also 69/2222 which runs east to west. Compared to the north/south option they are much smoother commutes with low traffic. A couple of outliers are Highway 183 and Loop 360, however both have their fair share of traffic as well.
2. Which Office is Best for Your Business?
Once you’ve identified some areas you are interested in, you should try to find a tenant representative. We recommend finding a representative that is very experienced in the regions you are most interested in locating property. We have worked with Carl Condon and Chrissy Cornelius at Avison Young Commercial Real Estate for two different office moves and they are very professional.
A tenant representative will be able to assist you with estimating the square footage needed. If you would like to get a rough idea, you can estimate the amount of space you need by calculating 200-400 square feet per employee. To determine our square footage estimate, we projected a headcount to include growth for the next five years, which may be something that is also important to you.
Keep an Open Mind
Finding new space is a pretty stressful and time consuming process, so our greatest piece of advice is to keep an open mind and be flexible. Finding the perfect fit may be unlikely, so something will have to give. For example, to ensure employees have adequate parking, you may need to consider an area outside of Central Austin. Due to the rising costs of parking downtown, including parking for all employees may extend beyond the budget. Knowing what you want is essential to this process, but flexibility is required to make a final selection.
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