Capsa Ventures is no stranger to the sustainability game. The Austin, Texas–based condo developer already has three green communities under its belt—904 West, Pease Place, and Towns on Cumberland—and its newest offering, Fourth &, has just broken ground in East Austin.
“Capsa Ventures is based on the concept that we should be building and developing properties in a better manner in our current environment,” says Rance Clouse, the firm's CEO. “The technology and methods are there. Our company motto is to build better buildings—with better methodology and better use of materials.”
Fourth &’s foundation pour is already under way, and the for-sale community is on track to add 97 residential units and 42,000 square feet of commercial space to East Austin by summer 2017.
'Full Life With a Small Footprint'
Fourth & has been designed around offering what Capsa Ventures calls on its website a “full life with a small footprint.” The development and its wide array of sustainable, energy-efficient features are on track to receive a four- (out of five) star rating on the Austin Energy Green Building scorecard.
Among its many green features are the building’s bamboo-based exterior siding, which is intended to mimic the look and feel of tropical hardwood without damaging the environment. Additionally, the entire community will be delivered with 100% LED lighting, low-E windows, and Energy Star–rated appliances, as well as highly efficient water heaters, air conditioners, and thermal panel insulation systems.
The most distinctive environmentally friendly feature at Fourth & will be the array of photovoltaic solar panels on the building's roof, which will be provided along with conventional power lines. In addition to offsetting residents' electrical costs, the energy supplied by the panels is intended to reflect excess heat and reduce the building’s overall carbon footprint. The mixed-use project's commercial buyers will have the option of purchasing the solar panels, and all commercial spaces will be able to accommodate solar meters.
The development’s amenities and location strongly encourage the use of public and alternative transportation. Fourth & is within walking distance of the Plaza Saltillo MetroRail stop and will provide its residents and employees with electric vehicle charging stations and bikeway access.
Growing the Neighborhood
According to Capsa's website, Fourth & hopes to attract “creative professionals” as residents. This target market was chosen based on a psychographic (rather than a demographic) assessment of the East Austin community and way of life. “The lines have become blurred between the traditional definition of workplace and home,” Clouse says. “And this manner of living—this psychology of life—is not limited to or defined by a traditional demographic age group. From children to retirees, this is the way most people live today in an urban environment.
“Our customers at Fourth & will have access to their chosen lifestyle … whether [they're] working by the pool, living upstairs, taking the commuter train to downtown, riding their bicycle to a farmers market or favorite restaurant—this development is a reflection of this psychology.”
Fourth &’s integration of residential and commercial space within the wider East Austin neighborhood starts with the decision to sell, rather than lease, its commercial real estate. Clouse wants to attract owners that are interested in “growing the neighborhood,” and he hopes Fourth & will make its businesses feel like they're a part of the community and will want to integrate themselves into the activities going on around them. To this end, the building’s showers, pool, conference rooms, and other shared amenities will be free for residents and commercial employees alike to use.
“Many business owners use this approach [own versus rent] for both personal wealth building and to control their own occupancy destiny,” Clouse says. “East Austin is unique, and we want business owners to have a stake in this vibrant community through ownership.”
Pricing for Fourth &’s residential units ranges from $250,000 for a 512-square-foot microloft to just under $600,000 for a 1,475-square-foot urban walk-up. Commercial space is priced from $385 to $425 per square foot. Over 20% of the residential units and 25% of the commercial are already reserved, and two high-tech firms and two service-based companies have been lined up as potential commercial buyers.
According to Clouse, Capsa Ventures has two more projects similar to Fourth & in the pipeline, but he's unable to comment further at this time. He does say that they are “just as significant, if not more” than Fourth &.
For now, as Fourth & begins its construction process, Capsa is coming closer to seeing its vision for the community unfold.
“If we can look back and see this building functioning as a large, integrated, collaborative experience, and that you’re getting the benefit of that experience, that will be a success,” Clouse says.