Headlines today in Austin announced that Intel has purchased the building formerly occupied by Guaranty Bank on Mopac, just south of downtown. News reports stated the purchase price at $39.8 million for the 61-acre property with a five-story building and nearly 389,000 square feet according to the story in today’s Austin American-Statesman. This purchase will double the amount of floor space currently under lease by the chip company right across Mopac in the Barton Skyway Complex. The larger space implies future hiring, though none was formally announced with the details of the transaction. Currently, the company employs approximately 1,000 people in Austin. Recently, the tech industry has been making incredible investments in employees in the Austin area with numerous companies announcing hiring, moving their companies and headquarters to our community, or acquiring start up money from venture capitalists.
Today’s story is quite the contrast to the last time an Intel building made headlines in Austin. Back in 2002, Intel abandoned its construction of a new building in downtown Austin due to a shortage of funds and a major change in plans with just the start of the concrete framework completed. While the city had offered and started paying incentives to Intel to build, when the plans changed the city was able to recoup the incentive money that had already been granted. The concrete shell stood vacant for years until construction began for a new federal courthouse building. Due to increased building safety and security requirements brought on by the September 11 hijacking incidents in 2001, the existing concrete skeleton was of no use for the new building and the site was cleared before construction began earlier this year on the new courthouse facilities. The courthouse was scheduled to require approximately $62 million in construction costs, but precise figures for the current construction are not readily available at this time.
The other side of the story is one of a failed bank. On August 21, 2009 the Office of Thrift Supervision closed Guaranty Bank and appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as the receiver, according to a press-release issued by the FDIC at the time. Guaranty Bank had 103 branches in Texas and 59 branches in California. BBVA Compass bank took over normal banking operations after agreeing to purchase $12 billion worth of Guaranty Bank’s assets.
The building on South Mopac that was just purchased by Intel formerly held the headquarters for Guaranty Bank and had been held by the FDIC since August 2009 when the bank was shuttered. The FDIC put the building up for auction by sealed bid earlier this year.
Intel’s up and down history in Austin continues. Our hope is that the current environment for the chip maker is positive and that they can create and maintain quality headcount numbers into the future, for the sake of Austin and our community. The rapidly changing technology industry, coupled with the economic turmoil of the past few years, makes this purchase by Intel a hopeful sign that the future will remain bright in Austin, even as the new courthouse takes shape under the cranes where Intel’s original plans fell through just 8 years ago.
Mission Mortgage knew about this transaction over 90 days ago, but were not at liberty to divulge any details until the official announcement came out today. Our own Mark Sprague has been following the developments for over a year and has indicated for months that he knew about the developments announced today well in advance of the press. Mark offers a weekly newsletter and we’d be happy to add you to his mailing list if you simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. While he cannot include information he has obtained under promises of secrecy, he always provides a view of the market that is deeper and more reflective than you’ll find in our major media outlets. Email us today to get on the list.