Karlin pursues first major development

The Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm has made its largest land acquisition to date – a 297-acre parcel in Austin, Texas – as part of a larger plan to develop a master-planned technology and office park.

Karlin Real Estate has purchased Parmer @ Tech Ridge, a 297-acre property in Austin, Texas, from computer manufacturer Dell in its largest land acquisition to date. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The parcel – currently zoned for up to nine million square feet of office, industrial, hotel or retail space –will form part of a master-planned technology and office park to be built by Trammell Crow, which has been selected to lead the Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm’s first major development project. Karlin expects to deliver six to nine million square feet in phases, and depending on the entitlement process, construction could start within the next 12 months. The project is estimated to cost up to $3 billion upon completion.

Parmer @ Tech Ridge is the latest transaction in Karlin’s buying spree in Austin’s technology and business corridor, which is home to firms such as Apple, which currently is building a one million-square-foot campus just west of the site, and Samsung, whose Austin campus is just down the street from the property.  

In the past year, Karlin acquired through separate transactions three large commercial and industrial buildings that border the land parcel and total approximately 900,000 square feet. These include Tech Ridge 401 and Tech Ridge 301, both of which are 300,000-square-foot industrial facilities purchased from Dell and leased back to the seller, and 701 East Parmer Lane, a 320,000-square-foot office building also purchased from Dell for $23 million last July and subsequently leased to General Motors.

“Major corporations are attracted to Austin for its reputation as a vibrant business community, which is sparked by the flood of intellectual capital coming into the city that will continue the overall trend of job growth,” said Matthew Schwab, co-founder and managing director at Karlin Real Estate, in a statement. “Based upon the large blocks of space rapidly being absorbed, we believe Austin is one of the few cities in the country ready for new development.”

Karlin additionally acquired Plaza 35, a 185,000-square-foot flex office facility located less than one mile away from the remainder of the firm’s Austin holdings, from Stream Realty Partners for $18.5 million in February and 8004 Cameron Road, a 189,196-square-foot flex industrial building, from WEA Austex for approximately $5.1 million last August.

Karlin Real Estate, which was established in 2008, invests the family money of medical device inventor Gary Michelson. The firm currently has more than $1 billion of assets under management.