When people/companies are coming to Austin for the first time, they’re often wanting guidance on where or what areas to place their first office. We find the common idea surrounding such is that being near downtown or being central to all the hustle and bustle that makes Austin unique would be ideal but we think for most companies this is actually a mistake.
First, when looking at a map, downtown Austin is actually somewhat south of the central Austin market. Not only that but downtown Austin is about 30-40% more expensive to lease in when you factor things like ease in accessibility for your workforce and clientele. Truth be told, it can be quite challenging to get employees committed to driving and parking in the downtown area. In contrast, it can be a more appropriate choice for companies who looking to attract a young workforce like financial services, high tech industries and legal firms because of the more desired “walk to lunch”, “post work happy hour vibes” that are readily available. It’s no surprise Austin’s Downtown atmosphere is energetic, urban and fun, but as a company, you have to have a specific reason to choose that location over a more easily accessible suburb of Austin.
Our preferred area and or best suggestion would instead be Northwest Austin, right around the Arboretum and the Domain (a high density, high traffic, office, shopping and residential center). More specifically, around the cross streets on Highway 183 and Loop 1. This is very near the demographic center of the Austin MSA.
Additionally, Downtown Austin, much like many other metropolitan cities in the US is getting very pricey to live in. So most employees choose to reside in surrounding suburbs like Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville, and Hutto because they have great schools, and are much more affordable to live in. So as a business, if you won’t pull and recruit from the entire marketplace then the Arboretum and Domain areas are your safest bet because you can still have people from South Austin that are willing to drive a bit North. Another consideration, if a company already has an office in Austin, it’s important to identify where the bulk of that employee base lives. We like to use a “heat map” to figure out where the epicenter of that area is. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to know people living and working in Austin are really desiring the most efficient way to get to work. If you’re coming from California it might not be that big of a deal to travel 45 minutes to work but in Austin, people will quit if their commute time is that long in exchange for a 15 minute or 20-minute commute. All in all, it’s vital to consider where your people live in order to keep them happy and retain your workforce.
Lastly, the consideration of your client base, especially for medical and retail customers, is crucial. Will they be able to easily find you? Will they be able to get there in a considerable amount of time? and Will they have convenient parking?
Have any further questions? Please give us a call. We’re here for you.