Category Archives: Background

The Domain – General Information

The Domain is a high-density area includes business, retail, and residential center which is operated by Simon Property Group and Endeavor Real Estate Group.

Site Plan

The Domain is located in northwest of 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 Domain area is 303 acres (123 ha) property which was purchased from IBM by the Endeavor Real Estate Group in 1999 and from Multech, and the financial assistance is supported by the Blackstone Group and JER Partners.The initial plan had been created for a campus for the dot-com industry but those plans fell through when the dot-com bubble tandem.

In 2003, the Simon Property Group and the Endeavor Real Estate Group entered into a collaborative partnership to develop The Domain. In 2004 the demolition of Century Oaks Park, a multi-purpose recreational facility for IBM employees and their families began construction on the initial 57 acres (23 ha) Domain: Phase I.

The Domain’s additional land is being reasserted from vacant IBM manufacturing and administrative buildings, Also driveways and parking lots that were once part of the original IBM campus.

Tax subsidies is given to the developer in 2003 from the City of Austin and Travis County. Compensation of the total developer is a maximum of a net present value of $25 million. The developer keeps 80 percent of this for the first five years and 50 percent for the next 15 years. Also, 25 percent of the property tax is reduced 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.

First Phase

The Domain phase I is opened on March 9, 2007, and includes 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2);

  • restaurants
  • office space
  • upscale retail stores
  • apartments
  • hotel.

The retail section of the project which is 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) has enticed many retailers and restaurants new to the Austin market. There are Neiman Marcus and a Macy’s anchor.

And also 70 specialty stores include;

The shopping center is containing outlets for two new store concepts;

Restaurants include

Second phase and additional expansion

After the Simon Property Group obtained the 45 acres (18 ha) property which became The Domain II (Domain Crossing). The second phase of Domain is opened in spring 2008 and located in south of The Domain I.

All the remaining 178 acres (72 ha) is owned by Endeavor and Deutsche Bank. Domain Crossing which is 350,000 square feet (33,000 m2) includes;

  • retail stores
  • restaurants
  • apartments
  • a theater – Gold Class Cinema
  • other entertainment options

Fiat of Austin is also opened in Spring 2011.

three-story Dillard’s that is 200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2) is opened in spring 2009 in the primary portion of the project. Nordstrom is going to be a two-story, in 149,000-square-foot (13,800 m2)  land in The Domain’s phase III. Also, Saks Fifth Avenue will open in Phase III. 

The other store which is going to be opened in The Domain in 2013 is Whole Foods which would be 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) square foot.

“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 was primarily funded by the developer’s 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, which is continuing efforts to organize a political voice for local Austin businesses and reform minded voters.”




The Domain

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Driving through Domain

Gold Class Cinema at Domain


Urban Context

In 1835-1836, Texas became an independence country and Austin was chosen as Texas new capital in 1983, which its name was Waterloo, after awhile it was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin, the father of Texas.

Austin was in the central of Texas and in intersection of a two major trade routes. First one connected Santa Fe and Galveston Bay and the other one connected northern Mexico and Red River.

In 1839, Edwin Waller, the first mayor of Austin, designed a grid plan for downtown Austin, which in this plan; Main Avenue (Congress Avenue) connected Colorado River to Capital square.


In the present time, the view of Texas State Capitol is preserved by keeping Austin’s skyline modest.

There are some residential towers in downtown Austin which makes the core dense. In addition, there are lots of museums and restaurants in downtown Austin; in 2nd street, there are a lot of project under construction such as restaurants, coffee shops, museums and the Austin City Hall. Furthermore, Ladybird Lake is known as most popular recreational spot.

Also, Moonlight towers, which were built in late 19th century to be illuminated Austin’s downtown at night, are known as historic landmark in present time.

Arts & Culture

Austin’s “rapid descent into commercialism and over-development” caused local Austin Community College librarian, Red Wassenich, and his wife, Karen Pavelka called Austin as “ weird city”. The slogan “keep Austin Weird” is now an important symbol for many Austinites.

Moreover, Austin is the host of many annual cultural events; April events include Eeyore’s Birthday Party, Spamarama, the Austin Reggae Festival and Art City Austin, November event is East Austin Studio Tour, and February event is Carnaval Brasileiro.  Inaddition, Pecan Street Festival and Halloween night are held in Sixth Street, Zilker Park is the host of a three-day Austin City Limits Music Festival every year since 2002 and Christmas tree. Also, Austin is host of Texas Relay Weekend every year at the end of the march and the beginning of April. In addition, Austin is known in different kind of arts.

  • Austin holds the name of The Live Music Capitol of the World.
  • Many different types of films from all over the world draw in Austin Film Festival every year.
  • There is a strong theater culture in Austin, which includes of moving and resident companies, and also there are a lot of popular public arts and performances in the parks and on bridges.
  • Fourth largest ballet academy in the country is the Ballet Austin.  Also, Austin is the host of the Ballet East Dance Company, which is a modern dance.


In the mid-1980s, construction of the Austin highways shaped as a Loop which name is 360. Austin has four main highways; Interstate 35 is the highway which is connected to the east and the Mopac Expressway is connected to the west. U.S. Highway 183 connects northwest to southeast, and State Highway 71 connects the east to the west.

The other transportation system in Austin is Metro. Capital Metro is a 32-mile rail which serves downtown Austin, East Austin, North Central Austin, and Northwest Austin.

Austin has an International Airport which is in southeast of the city. Also, there are two other airports which are closed now.