The 48 East apartment tower at 48 East Avenue will look a little different than what we were expecting, according to new renderings from architectural firm STG Design.
We’ve covered the tower in the past as one of the most exciting projects headed to the Rainey Street District, so it’s mildly disappointing to see that the new renderings of the tower removed our favorite feature: the striking diagonal facade of the building’s south elevation.
The renderings do include some nice features, like the semi-caged rooftop garden space, uniquely textured facade of the parking structure occupying the first few floors, and the varied pattern of windows down the right side of the facade facing East Avenue.
These features all appear, at least in renderings, to break up the monotony of the basic “glass rectangle” design when viewing the building both from afar and at street level. The building certainly isn’t unattractive, but we still miss that diagonal component from the 2015 design.
The building’s new design also includes a slight reduction in height. Though the building is still planned to have 33 floors, its height appears to have dropped from 370 to 350 feet, hardly a difference you could eyeball. A larger change is the building’s shift from mixed-use to exclusively multi-family residential, with the new plans eliminating a proposed 11,250 square feet of ground floor retail.
This is bad news for those of us who would prefer the Rainey Street District to support a more diverse assortment of businesses and services than just bars and restaurants, but without a large anchor like a grocery store in the area, standalone retail just can’t post the numbers to displace dining and nightlife.
Also partially to blame, at least as stated in the design documents, is the limited street frontage available along East Avenue — only 120 feet in the current plans. This space is needed for the building’s lobby and garage entrances, according to the developer.
Among the comments submitted on the project by the Austin Design Commission’s Planning & Urban Design Working Group is a concern that the building does not include mixed-use, but goes on to concede that the area market would probably not support retail. This probably won’t change until that aforementioned anchor business emerges — might we suggest a store to compete with the Trader Joe’s at Seaholm?