Domain Tower incorporates natural elements to serve Austin’s thriving tech corridor.
By Chris Kelsch
The city of Austin, Texas, is known for many things. In addition to being the capital of Texas, it is also “The Live Music Capital of the World.” More recently, it adopted the nickname “Silicon Hills” due to an influx of technology companies.
Google, Amazon, eBay, Intel and Oracle all having regional headquarters there. In fact, U.S. News & World Report named Austin “the best place to live in the U.S.” for 2017, and by some estimates it is the fastest-growing city in the United States.
Among the many elements of Austin that continue to grow are its thriving technology and financial sectors. There is strong demand in those markets for newly constructed Class A office space so companies can elevate their corporate brands and attract talented professionals.
Many technology start-ups have gravitated to Austin’s northwest corner, with some even calling it Austin’s Tech Corridor. The latest project there is meant to meet some of that demand. Domain Tower will be a 310,000-square–foot, 11-story office building with an adjacent eight-level garage. General contractor and long-time Austin builder Zapalac/Reed expects to complete the $58 million project in June 2018.
Shad Zapalac, vice president of Zapalac/Reed and senior project manager, says Domain Tower will feature many of the amenities future tenants will be looking for. “The building will have an outdoor plaza on the third level,” Zapalac says, “This will allow companies to hold outdoor events and gatherings.”
Additionally, the structure will feature a tenant lounge and conference areas that open onto a landscaped terrace, allowing tenants to work outdoors. Other amenities will also be included, including a fitness facility.
Domain Tower should look stunning when completed. It will feature 310,000 square feet of office space encased in floor-to-ceiling glass. It was designed to blur the line between interior and exterior, and to blend into its natural environment. It will be located at the entrance to “The Domain,” which is a high-density business, retail and residential center that opened in 2007.
In fact, when Domain Tower is completed, there will be a shuttle service between the office building and the retail complex. And though no tenants have officially signed on yet, according to Zapalac, various technology and finance companies in Austin have already expressed interest.
In turning to Zapalac/Reed, developers HPI Real Estate and Stonelake Capital Partners have selected a firm with longstanding roots within the Austin and central-Texas community. Zapalac/Reed was founded by Gene Reed and Bill Zapalac, Shad’s father, in 1996. It is a direct derivative of the E.E. Reed Construction Company, a company that Gene Reed also founded and which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
For Shad, being around large projects such as Domain Tower is nothing new. “As soon as we were old enough to work, I was helping my dad out on various job sites,” Zapalac recalls. He started helping at age 16, and worked summers throughout high school and college, eventually graduating with a civil engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Zapalac/Reed has completed a range of project types in central Texas. “We are not very segmented in the types of work we do,” Zapalac says. “We definitely try to stay diverse.” Such diversity has allowed Zapalac/Reed to finish an array of projects in recent years, from the Laura Bush Community Library in Austin to the Alamo Draft House Theater in San Antonio.
One of the company’s main philosophies is to let its work speak for itself. “What we really like to do is gain repeat clients by our performance during the construction process,” Zapalac says. Indeed, “Every time one of our employees is in a meeting with a client, they, are doing marketing for the company,” he says. “We really like to empower the individual and let them manage the work as well as sell the work.”
Of course, being an established player throughout Austin has its advantages with subcontractors as well. “The subcontractors are vitally important,” Zapalac says. “In fact, working well with them is just as important as with our clients. We have the best network of subcontractors within the Austin market.” This strong network has helped Zapalac/Reed continue to deliver consistent quality, on time and within budget expectations, he says.