The Fareground


Cousins Properties, Inc.


Austin, TX

CEC Services

  • Site Grading/Earthwork Analysis
  • Site Infrastructure Maintenance/Rehabilitation
  • Slope Stability/Retaining Structure Design
  • Stormwater Management/BMP Design
  • Utility Design
  • Erosion & Sediment Control Design and Inspection
  • ALTA NSPS Land Title Surveys
  • As-built Surveys
  • Construction Services

Owner Objective

Cousins Properties is a real estate investment trust that owns nearly 22 million square feet of property across the nation. On the corner of a high-pedestrian-traffic area near Congress Avenue and East 2nd Street in Austin, Texas, Cousins sought to create a modern food court, market, and space. The basement of the existing high-rise building was converted to accommodate food vendors while the outdoor space was repurposed to encourage public use and a place to meet friends and family. A new single-story, fully glassed building, known as the jewel box, was placed at the entrance to the area to welcome patrons.

CEC Approach

CEC met with the city attorney’s office in an effort to gain approval to add the building at the intersection. Although the building did not meet current requirements, CEC’s team completed research to identify an obscure code allowance that made the site exempt from current regulations.

Because the area is well below street grade, drainage also presented a challenge. CEC helped locate and refurbish an outdated pump system that had been used to drain the lower area.

Midway through the permitting of the outdoor space, the idea of the jewel box building was added to the plan objective. This presented CEC with a permitting challenge. CEC converted the permitting mid-stream in a jurisdiction that typically does not allow for procedural changes easily. CEC’s approach saved the client valuable time and money. Construction was complete within one year of permitting. The Fareground project has received positive reviews and feedback. The area has been transformed from an eyesore to a well-used space, with local eateries, bars, fountains, in a park-like environment.