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A prominent California-based developer can move forward with its Austin debut after garnering final zoning approval for a site on the east side.

The project, dubbed Springdale Green, has caught the attention of many developers and community members in recent months because of its size — collectively, it would be larger than any office tower downtown — and its potential to attract more large development to East Austin. The scope of the project caused a riff with some community members worried about accelerated gentrification in the area. Austin City Council unanimously approved the zoning June 10.

Jay Paul Co. plans to build two six-story office buildings totaling 775,000 square feet on a 30-acre tract off Springdale Road near Airport Boulevard.

The site was once a tank farm where oil companies would store fuel and other chemicals, which means development on the land calls for intense reclamation. Residential uses are not allowed.

In exchange for an increase in allowed building height, Jay Paul Co. committed to a roughly $8 million community benefits package. That includes a $700,000 donation to the city’s affordable housing trust fund; $150,000 to the East Austin Conservancy to help provide property tax assistance to longtime residents; and $475,000 to the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corp., which builds affordable housing for displaced residents so they can return to East Austin. The developer also proposed dealing with flooding issues in the neighborhood, doubling the size of its detention pond to take on excess storm water.

“This site has had a challenging history — but it is a challenge we are ready to take on,” Janette D’Elia, chief operating officer at Jay Paul Co., said in a statement. “We’re proud of all the work that everyone has put in to help move the Springdale Green vision forward, including the neighbors, City staff, the Environmental Commission, the Planning Commission, and, especially, City Council. By approving this rezoning, Council has led the way on charting a new future for this site.”

The project will add to roughly 7.5 million square feet of office space under construction in Austin. An office market report from NAI Partners published last month showed an increase in overall vacancy in April. Austin’s office market was at 15.4% overall vacancy that month, up from 10.2% in April 2020 — the first full month after the onset of the pandemic. Net absorption in April was negative-726,600 square feet, dramatically down from positive absorption of 712,565 square feet in April 2020.

Jay Paul Co. has built a reputation as one of the preeminent developers in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a track record of working with large technology companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Sairam Kota

Sairam is an experienced multifamily deal sponsor and asset manager for 738 units, a key principal in 332 units and limited partner in 1000 units. He has a strong experience in asset management, property reposition, income generation, implementing operational efficiencies and cost reduction. Sairam is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the state of Texas. He is a successful IT Consultant with 20+ years of experience in corporate America.