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Trendy, members-only social club to open first Texas location on South Congress 

Following rumors that swirled all year, it’s official: Soho House, a trendy, members-only social club, will open an Austin location in a mixed-use project that is under construction on South Congress Avenue.

The first Texas location for Soho House will be in the $55 million Music Lane development that will bring more office, dining, shopping and entertainment options to bustling South Congress Avenue.

Allison Wagner, a Soho House spokeswoman, told the American-Statesman last week that the company wouldn’t make an official announcement until early next year.

However, the Eater Austin blog reported the Soho news Thursday, citing an online brochure from Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group, which handles office leasing for the project. The brochure says Soho House will “perfectly complement Music Lane’s retail and creative-office space, giving the project a 24-7 buzz.”

The Austin Soho House will include a hotel, rooftop and club spaces for members to work, eat, drink and relax.

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A restaurant on the ground floor will be open to members, as well as the general public. The restaurant will serve “simple dishes made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients,” Endeavor’s brochure says.

Additional amenities are still being planned. Some Soho House locations, for example, feature screening rooms to view new releases and independent films.

Soho House was founded in London in 1995 by Nick Jones above his French restaurant Café Boheme as a private club for professionals in the film, media and creative industries.

The company has gradually expanded to include 18 Soho Houses across Europe and North America, as well as 38 restaurants, cinemas, spas and hotels. In 2012, billionaire Ron Burkle bought a majority stake in Soho House, helping finance the international expansion of a chain that has become a global hospitality brand.

Soho House locations can be found in New York; West Hollywood, Calif.; Miami; Chicago, Toronto; the UK; Berlin; Istanbul; and Barcelona.

“Our Houses are in diverse locations around the world, but our mission has always been the same: to create a comfortable home away from home for our members,” Soho’s website states.

Annual memberships in the U.S. are $2,100 to join a single club and $3,200 to have access to all of the Soho Houses. However, those fees are half-price for members younger than age 27, until they turn 30.

Prospective members must include headshots and referrals from two Soho House members with their applications.

“Unlike other members’ clubs, which often focus on wealth and status, we aim to assemble communities of members that have something in common: namely, a creative soul,” Soho’s website states.

Music Lane is under development along a stretch of South Congress Avenue where Doc’s Motorworks Bar & Grill and several other local businesses had operated, most of which relocated to make way for the new project. Music Lane will stretch from Academy Lane to the current site of Twomey’s Auto Works.

The development will have three buildings, with 163,000 square feet of retail, office and restaurant space. The buildings will be three to four stories tall, and are expected to house anywhere from 20 to 30 tenants.

There also will be a four-story underground parking garage with 496 spaces that will include paid public parking.

The team behind Music Lane includes local developers Clark Lyda and Austin Pfiester, along with Turnbridge Equities, a Miami Beach, Fla.-based real estate investment and development firm that also has offices in Austin and New York.

Music Lane is one of several new upscale developments destined for Austin’s premier avenue, a popular draw for both tourists and locals but one whose continued transformation has some wondering if it can maintain its eclectic identity.

Just behind the Music Lane project, Lyda and Pfiester, in conjunction with noted Austin hotelier Liz Lambert, are developing a 102-room boutique hotel, Hotel Magdalena, which Lyda has said will complement the Music Lane development.

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