It has been almost 5 months since tech giant Oracle announced a major investment in the East Riverside Corridor.
The company is putting the pedal to the metal, already submitting detailed site plans to the City, the first step towards breaking on 560,000-square-foot campus.
The reason it is able to move so fast as that the Oracle’s future home was conceived as a turnkey development, back in 2014 by Ryan Cos. as a $210 million-project called “The Waterfront” and designed by Austin’s own STG Design.
The site plans submitted in March for the Oracle campus retain the name “The Waterfront” on the cover page and city permit applications, and also retains STG Design as architect.
The Waterfront was initially conceived as a 625,000-square-foot office development, broken up into three buildings, according to 2014 news reports. According to Oracle planners, its new building will instead be one massive building, along with a detached parking garage, weighing in at about 60,000 square feet less than the 3-building plan.
Although they were aiming high, no one probably foresaw in 2014 that Oracle would come in with the self proclaimed vision of developing a state-of-the-art campus designed with special focus on the needs of millennials, including buying the 295-unit Azul Lakeshore apartment building for employees.
Below are STG Design’s renderings of the Waterfront concept, along with the fresh blueprints for the Oracle building.
Although not directly attributable to the Oracle news, there is already some money changing hands elsewhere on East Riverside, and another big lot now up for sale.
A 66,000-square-foot existing retail building at 2015 East Riverside Drive, home to Emos, was recently purchased by Presidium Group, which bought a nearby 5.6 acre site last year.
Separately, a 7.3 acre lot is being marketed as immediately development, probably at a buyer’s premium if the emphasis for its close proximity to the Oracle campus in marketing material is a clue.
New voice at City Hall?
One thing that remains to be seen is whether Oracle will become an active participant in shaping policy at City Hall, especially as Austin’s politicians stoke the ire of local technocrats.
Austin Business Journal Editor Colin Pope recently wrote about his hope for the tech sector to start weighing in, especially when it comes to mobility.
Oracle has made a significant statement by stating nationally that the Austin campus is designed to become a millennial magnet. To that point, I’m really curious if it will weigh in on future policy discussions at City Hall, such as bond allocations to increase bike infrastructure.
It would be nice for Riverside to also receive additional transit investment, which probably would be akin to the MetroRapid upgraded bus installations. (Although truth-be-told, whether the service is actually an “upgrade” is subject to debate among civic scenesters and wonks.)