Dallas investor buys downtown Austin tower

A longtime Dallas real estate investor heads to Austin for his first major purchase.

Pillar Commercial of Dallas and a fund controlled by New York-based DRA Advisors LLC have acquired 823 Congress, a newly renovated office and retail tower in downtown Austin.

The 15-story, nearly 200,000 square foot skyscraper sits about three blocks south of the Texas State Capitol.

Previous owner, New York-based Brickman, spent more than $15 million on upgrades for the tower.

“The building has been updated except for a few floors that we’re going to do,” said Manny Ybarra of Pillar Commercial. “We are also looking to activate the street level.”

The tower was originally built in 1974.

Downtown Austin is one of the nation’s top commercial real estate investment markets, with some of the highest office rents. More than $300 million in office purchases were recorded in the Austin area in the first quarter.

“Texas continues to be a prime location destination for businesses representing a wide range of industries, with Austin being a top market within the state,” Ybarra said.

The sale of the 823 Congress Tower was handled by Newmark’s Chris Murphy, Robert Hill, Gary Carr and Chase Tagen. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

New owner Pillar Commercial owns several office buildings in the Dallas area.

Earlier this year, the investor acquired the two Bluffview Towers office buildings near Love Field in Dallas.

Also this year, a Pillar Commercial partnership purchased the One Preston Center office building at 8222 Douglas Ave. in the Preston Center neighborhood of Dallas.

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