816 Congress to Transform Roof into Austin’s First Downtown Commercial High-Rise Terrace and Roof Garden

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dwg., STG Design creating 12,300-square-foot outdoor/indoor amenity deck with unprecedented views.

816 Congress Rooftop

We are creating from scratch something special that will not only serve as a signature amenity for new and established tenants at 816 Congress, but will also be a one-of-a-kind feature in the Austin skyline

An affiliate of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LBHI) that owns 816 Congress has announced new upgrades to the 20-story class-A tower in the form of a 12,300-square-foot outdoor terrace and an adjoining executive lounge on the 15th floor. The renovation project, slated for completion in early fall 2012, will also include three smaller rooftop terraces.

“We are creating from scratch something special that will not only serve as a signature amenity for new and established tenants at 816 Congress, but will also be a one-of-a-kind feature in the Austin skyline,” said Ashish Gupta, the senior investment professional at Lehman Brothers responsible for the management of Lehman’s commercial office investments, including its Austin holdings.

Mr. Gupta added, “We will capture the essence of Austin by transforming previously inaccessible and unutilized areas into dramatic terraced green spaces designed with sustainable considerations and surrounded by unobstructed views of the Capitol, University of Texas and Congress Avenue. Furthermore, because the roof deck is situated on the 15th floor, tenants on higher floors will have stunning views looking down onto the deck.”

The $3 million investment by Lehman Brothers—which follows building ownership’s 2008 completion of a $2 million renovation of common spaces, including a new lobby and plaza—will create a sustainably focused outdoor space and adjoining indoor executive lounge that offers a unique option for tenant business meetings, employee breaks and private functions.

Modern design elements include LED lighting recessed within ramp and stair handrails, durable decking and custom concrete pavers, lightweight precast concrete benches and patio seating, and free Wi-Fi accessibility. A railing made from frosted ecoresin, a co-polyester recycled content product that will be edge-lit with linear LED arrays, will surround the pentagon-shaped perimeter six feet away from the edge.

“This new amenity center will have the polish and sophistication that office workers in exciting urban settings like downtown Austin would expect in a class-A property,” said Daniel Woodroffe, president and founder of dwg., an urban landscape architecture firm, who also led the design of the Austonian’s 10th floor exterior deck space and worked on 816 Congress’s plaza renovation in 2008. “And as first-class as this space will be, especially illuminated at night with incredible Capitol and Congress Avenue views, the green building elements and long-term sustainable features are really going to impress tenants and guests alike.”

The redevelopment project includes a state-of-the-art, low-maintenance water plan. Native and adaptive landscaping will be watered with condensation generated by the building’s air conditioning units, collected in a 2,000-gallon tank. Approximately 182,000 gallons of water are expected to be collected annually.

“We knew we made a wise decision moving our offices to 816 Congress seven years ago based on its proximity to the Capitol and all there is to do downtown,” said Lambeth Townsend of Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, an Austin-based law firm. “Since then, we’ve witnessed firsthand the transformation this building has made over the years, first with the lobby and common spaces in 2008, and now with a beautiful roof deck that we overlook and a functional space that will benefit our attorneys, staff and clients. Lehman’s investment is adding value to our investment.”

In the past 12 months, Texas Monthly, AT&T and Gordon & Rees LLP have signed long-term leases. Other larger tenants at 816 Congress include Lloyd Gosslink Rochelle & Townsend and Teachers Retirement System of Texas.

“We believe this roof deck will cement 816 Congress’s standing as one of the premier class-A buildings in downtown Austin and will be a real draw for companies looking to grow their businesses in the heart of one of the nation’s strongest economies,” said Andrew Smith, vice president of Thomas Properties Group, Inc., which is responsible for the leasing and property management at 816 Congress. “There’s really nothing like it for downtown businesses, and we’re proud to offer it as an exclusive amenity for our existing and future tenants.”

In collaboration with dwg, STG Design is developing the interior executive lounge, which will feature oversized club chairs, a bar and catering area. This relationship of interior and exterior spaces was of paramount importance during the design process with seamless transition between landscape, architecture and interior design.

The team is comprised of Datum Engineers, MEJ & Associates and Building Diagnostics with Balfour Beatty as the contractor.

LBHI’s portfolio of downtown Austin class-A properties includes the Frost Bank Tower, One American Center, One Congress Plaza, 300 West 6th Street, San Jacinto Center and Austin Centre (701 Brazos).

About 816 Congress
816 Congress is a 20-story, class-A office tower completed in 1983 and renovated in 1994 and 2008 with a total of 433,000 square feet at the southwest corner of 9th St. and Congress Ave., just two blocks from the Texas State Capitol and the adjacent Capitol Complex. The building features unmatched views of the Capitol as well as the University of Texas at Austin campus with abundant restaurants and entertainment venues in close proximity.

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Brian Dolezal
Hahn, Texas for Thomas Properties Group
512.344.2035
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