The Domain (Austin, Texas)
|Location||Austin, Texas, USA|
|Management||Simon Property Group, Endeavor Real Estate Group|
|Owner||Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||71 (including committed tenants)|
|No. of anchor tenants||2|
|No. of floors||variable; most tenants single story|
The Domain is a high-density business, retail, and residential center operated by Simon Property Group and Endeavor Real Estate Group, and is located in the high-tech corridor of northwest Austin, Texas. It is bordered on the west by Union Pacific Railroad, on the west and north by Loop 1, on the south by Braker Lane, and on the east by Burnet Rd. The initial phase of the project was completed in March 2007. It is managed and owned by Simon Property Group of Indianapolis, Indiana, The U.S..
The 303 acres (122.6 ha) property for what would eventually become The Domain was purchased from IBM by the Endeavor Real Estate Group in 1999  and from Multech, with the financial assistance of the Blackstone Group and JER Partners. The initial plan had been to create a campus for the dot-com industry but those plans fell through when the dot-com bubble burst.
In 2003, the Simon Property Group and the Endeavor Real Estate Group entered into a collaborative partnership to develop The Domain. 2004 saw the demolition of Century Oaks Park, a multi-purpose recreational facility for IBM employees and their families, and the start of construction on the initial 57 acres (23.1 ha) Domain: Phase I.
Additional land for The Domain is being reclaimed from vacant IBM manufacturing and administrative buildings, as well as driveways and parking lots that were once part of the original IBM campus.
The developers were granted tax subsidies in 2003 from the City of Austin and Travis County. Total developer compensation is a maximum of a net present value of $25 million. The developer keeps 80 percent of the city's sales tax for the first five years and 50 percent for the next 15 years. Plus, 25 percent of the property tax is rebated back to the developer for the entire 20-year period. The city of Austin expects to take in about $40 million in sales and property taxes over the 20 years of the incentive agreement.
The first phase of the project, The Domain, opened on March 9, 2007, and includes 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) of restaurants, office space, upscale retail stores, apartments, and a hotel. The retail portion of the project has attracted many retailers and restaurants new to the Austin market. An 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2). Neiman Marcus and a Macy's anchor (with Macy's fulfilling an earlier commitment by Foley's), along with 70 specialty stores, including an Apple Store, a Barneys New York CO-OP store, Burberry, Victoria's Secret, Tiffany & Co., BCBG Max Azria, Calypso Christiane Celle, Anne Fontaine, Lacoste, Lilly Pulitzer, Betty Sport, and a Microsoft store. The shopping center notably is also one of the short list of locations containing outlets for two new store concepts — Abercrombie & Fitch Co.'s RUEHL 925, targeting affluent young professionals, and American Eagle Outfitters' adventure-oriented Martin + Osa. Both of those stores have since closed as of late 2010, and have now become locations for Anthropologie (in the former Ruehl location), and Lids (in the former Martin + Osa location). Restaurants include McCormick & Schmick's, Fleming's, Daily Grill, Jasper's, Kona Grill,The Steeping Room, & California Pizza Kitchen.
Second phase and additional expansion
After the Simon Property Group acquired the 45 acres (18.2 ha) property that would become The Domain II (Domain Crossing) they bought Endeavor's portion of The Domain I. This second phase, located directly south of The Domain, opened in spring 2008.
Endeavor and Deutsche Bank own the remaining 178 acres (72.0 ha).
Simon Property Group announced that a 200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2), three-story Dillard's would open during spring 2009 in the primary portion of the project. Nordstrom signed a letter of intent for a two-story, 149,000-square-foot (13,800 m2) store to open in The Domain's phase III. Also, Saks Fifth Avenue has also signed a letter of intent for Phase III.
Whole Foods is expected to open a 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) square foot location in The Domain in 2013 and, according to a spokes person from Endeavor Real Estate Group, The Domain is only currently 15-20% complete.
Brian Rodgers, leader of Stop Domain Subsidies, sued the City of Austin and Endeavor Real Estate Group in 2004, claiming Endeavor purposely mislead the city in order to receive what he argued amounted to $65 million in tax subsidies. The suit was settled out of court, with the settlement allowing the City of Austin to back out of deal with no penalties. Eventually, the local newspaper verified that the original claim that the subsidy was only $25 million was false and that, according to their figures, it could amount to $57 million. (Austin American-Statesman newspaper, Oct. 26, 2008).
Stop Domain Subsidies launched a petition drive in 2007 to put an initiative on the city ballot to stop the city from granting any city tax subsidies for developments with retail uses. The charter amendment, which would have prevented the city from giving tax incentives to retail projects, appeared on the ballot for the November 2008 election as Proposition 2 but was ultimately defeated by a margin of 4%. In the run-up to the election, on September 2008, a political action committee named Keep Austin's Word was started by Betty Dunkerley, a former member of the Austin City Council. Keep Austin's Word (named to resemble the slogan Keep Austin Weird) was primarily funded by the developers of The Domain, including Simon Properties, the largest mall developer in the United States. Rodgers, together with independent political activist, Linda Curtis, went on to found ChangeAustin.org, which is continuing efforts to organize a political voice for local Austin businesses and reform minded voters.
As part of their Chapter 11 proceedings, Borders Group closed their bookstore at The Domain in April 2011. Martin+Osa, Ruehl No. 925, Oakville Grocery, Sony Style, Orange Cup & bettysport all operated locations at the Domain at one time.
- Recommendation for Council Action #1705, Agenda Item No. 4 (PDF), City of Austin, May 15, 2003.
- City leaders banking on the Domain, Austin American-Statesman, March 4, 2007.
- Domain dwellings have an upscale address, Austin American-Statesman, February 27, 2007.
- Whats in store at the Domain?, Austin American-Statesman, March 1, 2007.
- Details firming up for Domain Phase II, Austin American-Statesman, March 2, 2007.
- Developer plans minicity for second phase of the Domain in North Austin, Austin American-Statesman, February 24, 2007.
- Dillard's to open fifth Austin store at Domain, Austin American-Statesman, May 19, 2007.
- Nordstrom plans 2nd store in Austin, Austin American-Statesman, March 15, 2007.
- Nordstrom signs on at The Domain, Austin Business Journal, March 15, 2007.
- Novak, Shonda (2008-06-10). "Saks to join Domain retailers". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- "Saks Fifth Avenue to Relocate to Endeavor's Domain Project". 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-12-10.
- , Stop Domain Subsidies Background, December 21, 2007.
- . Stop Domain Subsidies,December 21, 2007.
- "Prop. 2 defeated; Domain will keep getting tax rebates". Austin Business Journal. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-11-26.
- "Opponents square off over tax amendment". The Austin American-Statesman. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- The Domain Official Site
- Urban - An American Grill
- Simon Property Group: The Domain
- North Burnet Planning Area Map (PDF)
- Stop Domain Subsidies