Former LA Dodgers Owner to Back New Skyscrapers in Austin

03/21/14 |
Austin Business Journal |
Jan Buchholz
What may be one the most ambitious real estate projects ever built in downtown Austin is a step closer to reality with the announcement Friday that a significant New York and Los Angeles-based company will help bankroll the project.

McCourt Global, which was founded by developer and sports entrepreneur Frank H. McCourt Jr. and his sons Drew and Travis, is partnering with Austin-based Sutton Co. to build what was previously known as Waller Center, a $500 million mixed-use project near Cesar Chavez and Red River Streets along Waller Creek.

The project will be renamed at some point and for now will be known as the Waller Project, according to a McCourt company spokesman.

The amount of McCourt’s investment was not disclosed. However, the three acres needed for the high-rise project along Waller Creek south of Cesar Chavez was purchased from prominent Austin businessmen Robert Knight and Perry Lorenz on March 18.

This is McCourt’s first investment in Austin.

In addition to many high-profile real estate holdings, McCourt owned the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2004 to 2012. That in itself was a high profile situation, marred by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of the team in 2011 and an acrimonious divorce between McCourt and his former wife Jamie. McCourt sold the team after legal battles with Major League Baseball but continues to own 260 acres of land near Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers continue to play, according to a statement the company distributed Friday. McCourt Global also owns 360 Tenth Ave. in Manhattan. The company developed many significant projects in Boston.

The Sutton Co. led by Chairman Mac Pike and President Wally Scott mostly has built condominium and commercial projects in Austin during the past 25 years. The Waller project was first announced in May 2013. It will include three high rise buildings that would be among the tallest downtown at 50 stories or more.

Included in the project will be 1.4 million square feet of office space, apartments, condominiums, a hotel and retail space.