Ace Construction Texas

Commercial Construction Cost Per Square Foot in Austin, TX - Everything You Should Know

Typically, commercial construction projects feature a high price tag. Companies that decide to build them will need a precise cost estimate before they start.

Many factors can affect the total cost, including labor, building type, and materials. The location might have a higher impact than most people think.

Overall, the average commercial construction cost in the US is about $490 per square foot. However, that price can go as low as $70 or over $1,000, depending on the commercial project in mind.

Today, we will go over the common commercial buildings you may encounter and help you get a better idea of what to expect to pay. Likewise, we can break down the average costs in other areas to ensure you understand the price points for Austin, TX.

bare type commercial space

Factors That Can Affect Commercial Construction Costs

Contractors and companies must focus on many factors when determining the total project costs for commercial buildings.

Here are the things that play a role in the cost per square foot you will pay:

Building Type

Buildings come in various sizes and shapes. Giant skyscrapers, hospitals, and universities are more expensive than a mid-rise office building or one-story school.

When the building is bigger, there are more safety features, materials, time, labor, and engineering planning required. You must take into account those additional costs.

Building Materials

The total price for your construction project can change based on the building materials needed. For example, modular constructions will cost less to build than those with unique or highly fabricated steel. Plus, building in a warmer client and using eco-friendly or recycled materials might lower project costs, as well.

Labor Costs

Labor costs will be crucial in determining your total cost per square foot. It sometimes accounts for 40 percent or more of the budget. Things included here are taxes, wages, training, and benefits for skilled workers.

The labor-intensiveness of the project can also raise the labor costs you’ll pay, the cost of living in the area, and the project’s timeline.

Building Quality

A commercial building might have differing quality standards, affecting the cost. High-quality buildings with the best mechanical systems, amenities, and fixtures are in the class A quality standards, so they’re more expensive. However, buildings in the C and B classes have fewer amenities and modern fixtures, so they cost less.

Building Permits

Permits generally account for about three percent of the total construction cost for all commercial projects. However, they should still be factored into the budget. The amount you’ll pay for your commercial building permit depends on where you’re building. It’s wise to check the local regulations and laws beforehand.


steel frame structure on bare commercial building

Geographical location is the most significant factor that impacts the construction cost. Places like New York City and Los Angeles are in high demand, so living and working there is more expensive. There is limited space, so these buildings are more costly to build.

However, the location will also impact labor costs. Since highly populated areas will have a high cost of living, those working on the project will have to make more than someone at a construction site in a smaller town.

Building Type – Commercial Construction Cost per Square Foot

Here is a breakdown of the average construction cost per square foot for nine different buildings:

  • Single-story Commercial Building – $313
  • High-rise Buildings/Offices – $660
  • Universities – $564
  • Schools – $327
  • Parking Structures – $107
  • Shopping Centers – $394
  • Museums and Other Entertainment – $892
  • Healthcare Facilities – $668
  • Manufacturing Facilities – $363

The commercial building cost per square foot you’ll pay depends on the size and type of structure. Here’s a closer look at all the types and prices:

Parking Structures and Shopping Malls

Regional and strip malls are often in the middle price range for commercial projects, costing between $371 and $537 per square foot. However, most of these things will require more parking structures to accommodate many customers. Typically, underground and multi-level parking garages will be $143 per square foot extra, and an above-ground lot will be about $71.

Community Buildings and Public Spaces

Public commercial structures include many types of buildings, such as recreational facilities, museums, police stations, etc. Typically, performing arts centers and museums cost about $892 per square foot, but government administration buildings cost roughly $525.

Healthcare Facilities and Hospitals

Primary care clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities are all part of any city. They often cost more because of their specialized nature.

This is the breakdown for most healthcare facilities:

  • Acute care facilities – $888 per sq. foot
  • Specialty clinics – $619 per sq. foot
  • Medical office buildings – $498 per sq. foot

Universities and Schools

bare 4 storey building

A university or school building is a cornerstone in almost every community. Therefore, it’s crucial to know the average costs of building them. Elementary and high school buildings will be anywhere from $295 to $359 per square foot. However, a university can vary based on the type. Average prices for university buildings are:

  • Laboratory buildings – $765 per sq. foot
  • Administrative buildings – $596 per sq. foot
  • Classroom buildings – $580 per sq. foot
  • Dorms – $322 per sq. foot

Manufacturing Facilities

You can expect to pay about $209 per square foot for a light industrial or regional warehouse. However, technology labs will average about $635. If buildings require advanced safety and electrical systems, it will be higher to build.

Commercial Offices (High-rise Buildings and Mid-rise Commercial Buildings)

The average construction cost for office buildings will vary based on the number of floors and size. It’s about $313 per square foot for your average single-story office building. However, a mid-rise building costs $562, and a high-rise office building costs $660 in the US.

Many factors will increase the price of a multi-story office, including high labor costs, stricter building codes, and more expensive materials.

Regional Average Commercial Construction Costs

The location of the commercial building will determine the total commercial construction cost per square foot. Therefore, it’s wise to compare rates to ensure you’re within your budget for the area.

Eastern US

Typically, commercial construction costs are slightly lower in the Eastern states, but they’re above the national average of about $523 per square foot. This includes regions like Raleigh-Durham, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.

Typically, medical centers cost about $720 per square foot, while schools are $349, retail spaces are $424, office buildings are $518, and community buildings are $648.


The commercial building cost in Nashville, Denver, and Chicago is about $459 per square foot. However, the actual cost in other areas of the Midwest varies because of the climate changes.

Schools are the least expensive to build and average about $266 per square foot. Then, you have office buildings at $465, retail spaces at $388, and community buildings at $593.

Western US

Building costs for places like Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco, Honolulu, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle will be higher than anywhere else. The western US often sees building costs averaging about $539 per square foot.

Medical centers are more expensive to build and cost $742 per square foot. However, office buildings are about $511, community buildings are $657, schools are $379, and retail spaces are about $407.

unfinished construction of building

Southern US

The Southern US is one of the most cost-effective places to put a commercial building. The average cost per square foot is about $413 in Orlando, Miami, Dallas, and Atlanta. Overall, warmer climates reduce the construction time necessary.

Schools cost about $238 per square foot, retail spaces are $336, community buildings are $513, office buildings are $461, and medical centers are about $521.

Estimating Prices for a Commercial Construction Project

Creating a budget for your commercial building project takes careful planning and time. The estimates above are a great starting point. However, you must work with a designer, engineer, and contractor who understands your needs to get the project’s exact commercial construction cost per square foot. You may also want to work with a professional estimator if it’s a large-scale job.

If you require help determining your budget for commercial building projects, it’s wise to create a construction estimate and get quotes from many suppliers and contractors. Whether building from the ground up or renovating a current building, it can save you from unexpected expenses if you estimate the costs now.

Saving Money on Commercial Construction Costs

Saving money on commercial construction might be slightly tricky. However, here are a few tips to help you:

  1. Value Engineering – This process focuses on improving your product’s functionality while lowering costs. For example, your project plan might require using specific materials and processes. However, after the value analysis, you learn you can use less expensive materials (such as pre-engineered metal buildings) and a straightforward process to achieve the same result. This cuts costs!
  2. Sustainable Construction – If you use sustainable materials and practices, you can save money. Options include emphasizing durability, buying/using recycled materials, adding energy-efficient windows, using water-saving technologies, and much more.
  3. Bulk Buying – If you can buy materials in bulk, you’ll save time and money on your building project. Many times, suppliers offer significant discounts for a big purchase. Therefore, you might avoid purchasing the same items throughout your project. Simply bulk order it all at the beginning to save money.
worm's view of white glass paneled building

Why Work with Ace Construction Texas, Inc.

The construction industry is ever-changing, but certain things remain the same. Most companies focus on ensuring that the construction process is done correctly so that everything is safe.

If you have plans to build a commercial building and want to know how much it costs per square foot, it’s wise to contact Ace Construction Texas, Inc. We can help you get an appropriate estimate on the price you’ll pay, which will help you focus on funding. Request your free estimate by calling (512) 576-0593 today!

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