Would You Live Next to Your Workplace?

Screen shot 2016-01-06 at 3.33.32 PMOracle is betting a lot of its employees will want to live near – even next door to – their workplace as the company builds its new 26-acre campus overlooking Lady Bird Lake. Oracle is planning to acquire the 295-unit apartment complex adjacent to its offices, The Azul Lakeshore Apartments, on 2.6 acres at 1201 Lady Bird Lane.

In a tight job market, this is an attempt to attract the employees they will need.

“We already have a high-performing employee base in the region, and the surrounding technology community is teeming with creative and innovative thinkers,” said Scott Armour, senior vice president of Oracle Direct, the firm’s cloud sales organization. “Our state-of-the-art campus will be designed to inspire, support and attract top talent — with a special focus on the needs of millennials.”

This move by Oracle is not without controversy. In an area where rapid growth has been razing older, more affordable apartments for years, there is some concern for those displaced. The East Riverside Corridor Master Plan addresses strategies to preserve affordability, but does not identify this or any other specific properties (except subsidized housing) for preservation.

We at Movability first thought about the possibility of living this close to work when we saw an article about a Google employee who lived in a truck in Google’s parking lot. It’s a great story that got us thinking: why can’t we do the same here, on a bigger scale?

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Movability has proposed something similar to what Oracle is planning to two other tech giants in this area. Dell line workers making less than $15/hr stuck are on I-35 going to and from Round Rock because they can’t afford to live near their work place. And the Dell campus – as the above map shows – has acres of undeveloped property and parking lots around it that could be turned into a residential development for employees. So far developers are building as close as they can – and Dell has not implemented our suggestions.

When we proposed a similar concept to the CEO of Spansion, now Cypress, he loved the concept of using the campus land more efficiently and giving employees a way to avoid the traffic (something he heard a lot about). We started connecting him with some of Austin’s creative developers to explore how the concept might work. Unfortunately, since the merger of Spansion and Cypress, there’s been no forward movement on implementing the idea.

We hope that Oracle’s decision to secure employee housing next door will spur other companies with similar opportunities to do the same. This could be a big prospect for you real estate experts out there – it just needs to become a business strategy and priority. We think employees will love getting to walk to work, and the company wins with happier, healthier, more productive employees.


Photo by Tyler Woods, Cypress Real Estate Advisors



One Response to Would You Live Next to Your Workplace?

  1. Ray Collins says:

    Of interest to me is that I am the only person I know who has lived in a company town. That was due to the post-WWII housing shortage. I loved it as a child, and Daddy had about 100 yards to walk between work and home. Mother and Daddy were able to save money for the down payment on their own home financed via the GI bill.

    In modern times, company housing that I have noticed has been an Asian phenomenon. I wonder if the Asian presence in Austin has had any influence.