New home and retail projects are under construction along the western corridor, drawing the Austin core out to idyllic Bee Cave.
This 4,000-square-foot gated estate at 5401 Carbine Circle—with five lush acres and idyllic views typical of those in Bee Cave—is listed at $1,195,000.
Once a sleepy suburb of Austin, the picturesque community of Bee Cave has recently morphed into a thriving area. In 15 years, the population has skyrocketed from 650 to 11,000 (as of March). Formed in 1987, Bee Cave now boasts award-winning schools, an increasing number of retail developments, and luxury homes.
At the center of its retail surge is the Hill Country Galleria shopping center (12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave, 512-263-0001). The upscale, 1.3 million-square-foot mixed-use project was sold last September to the California State Teachers Retirement System and partner Invesco Real Estate in a blockbuster deal; it was about 95 percent leased at the time of the sale. With stores such as Whole Foods, Zoltan David, and The Candy Jar, the Galleria is located off pastoral State Highway 71, which is undergoing a $15.9 million revamp by the Texas Department of Transportation to add turn lanes and shoulders.
M.E. Cook, a broker associate with Austin Portfolio Real Estate (512-633-8042), notes that the number of new homes under construction—particularly in Ladera, Wildwood, and Spanish Oaks, the highly sought-after luxury custom-home and golf community—is evidence of growing demand in the area. In fact, about 6,400 new homes are expected to be built over the next few years, spurring the demand for more retail.
Houston-based developer Rockspring Capital (713-535-2200) will soon break ground on a 22.5- acre commercial development on Highway 71 to deliver pad sites for retail customers. The firm will spend about $2 million for water, sewer, drainage, and roadway improvements, according to Michael Ross, vice president of asset management and entitlements. “It’s one of the fastest-growing submarkets in the greater Austin metro area and has a great demographic profile that will fit the needs of our customers,” Ross says. “This is our first project in [Bee Cave], and we couldn’t be more pleased with the market.”
Bee Cave got a huge boost when the 195-room, six-story Sonesta Bee Cave Hotel opened in July at the Galleria. “People were excited to have a hotel like this in the area now so they don’t have to go to downtown to get to a place that can successfully host a meeting or gala,” says John Dallas, the hotel’s general manager. He notes that business at the hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge, Meridian 98, has been “gangbusters from day one.”
The hotel also features an outdoor pool, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, and on-site catering. “The rooms were designed with the business traveler in mind as the Hill Country Galleria and corporate businesses in the area grow,” Dallas says. “But we expect there will be a tremendous amount of activity on weekends as well, especially from those attending weddings eventually at the hotel and in the area.”
Offering an option away from downtown Austin was also the impetus behind the new California Closets (12532 Farm to Market Road 2244, No. 140, 512-213-6349), which chose Bee Cave for its second Austin design studio in an effort to better meet the needs of customers in the area as well as nearby Dripping Springs and Lakeway. The 1,650-square-foot studio opened in the Hill Country Galleria at the end of May. Jill Siegel, principal and creative director of California Closets of the Texas Hill Country, says the company selected Bee Cave in part for its growth and beauty. “Plus,” she adds, “we felt it was far enough away from central Austin that it made a lot of sense for our client base in terms of convenience.”
After moving from California to Fort Worth, Valentina Gaylord chose Bee Cave as the home for her fitness studio, opening the 3,400-square-foot Lagree Studio in January. She and her husband, Olympic gold medalist Mitch Gaylord, are also looking for a house in the area. “We felt that [Bee Cave] was the heart of the Hill Country and loved everything out here,” she says. “We see growth happening every day.”