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Kerbey Lane Village Getting Facelift

Read more on Austin Business Journal.

The quaint Kerbey Lane Village — a collection of bungalows filled with retailers in Central Austin — is getting a facelift and a new set of trendy tenants.

Lance Thompson, a former Houston entrepreneur who has moved to Austin, told Austin Business Journal he has purchased the commercial property and has plans for making the unconventional shopping center more appealing and walkable.

He’s already attracted several upscale tenants, including RSK Jewelry, Chris and Leigh Salon, Valentines Too and Leigh Chui Designs.

RSK is owned by Robin Hancock , who is a well-known personal jeweler and gemologist to Texas investors and style fashionistas. She moved from the Westlake area. Teresa Windham is opening Valentines Too. She currently operates the original Valentines boutique at Davenport Village, near Capital of Texas Highway and the Pennybacker Bridge.

Thompson, owner of Thompson & Hanson, has retained Matt Levin with ECR brokerage to attract more tenants to the six-building, 6,000-square-foot property at 1515 W. 35th St.

“We’re slowly rolling this out,” Thompson said.

The improvements underway are being overseen by Austin-based Ryan Street & Associates of Austin. Ryan Street is a half brother of Houston Street, a Major League Baseball player who owns properties in the Austin area.

Thompson also hopes to open Tiny Boxwoods, a Houston-based cafe chain that he’s affiliated with, next year.

A landscape architect by trade, Thompson has completed a wide variety of commercial and residential landscaping assignments throughout Texas and owns a nursery, along with the cafes.

He purchased Kerbey Lane Village — which likely will be renamed — from prominent Austin landowner Whit Hanks about a year ago. Entities associated with Hanks have owned the site since 1996, according to tax records.

The Hanks family in Austin dates back to the Texas Revolution when Whit Hanks’ great-great grandfather purchased land that would become downtown Austin. Hanks has been selling off some choice properties throughout the city in recent years.

Thompson did not reveal how much he paid for Kerbey Lane Village, though the Travis Central Appraisal District most recently valued the buildings on almost an acre of land at almost $2.3 million.

Three of the homes were built in 1920 and the other three in the 1930s. The tract is located south of West 35th Avenue down the street from the original Kerbey Lane Cafe.

It’s close to Seton Medical Center, Central Market, Randalls Grocery and the new Lamar Central office building under construction at West 38th Avenue and North Lamar Boulevard.