A Kentucky-based developer announced plans for a unique 44-story tower on a prime downtown lot today. The $200M project, “21c Austin” will combine a private contemporary art museum, condos, and a boutique hotel run under the 21c brand. The project is based on the 21c Louisville, which is the top-rated hotel in the city of Louisville, Kentucky.
Here are some of the details from today’s Statesman:
Another dramatic change could be on the horizon for Austin’s skyline, as plans take shape for a 44-story tower that would combine luxury condos and a hotel that doubles as a modern art museum.Developers today will announce a $200 million project at Third and Brazos streets that is to include a 21c Museum Hotel, the second such project following the successful opening of one last year in Louisville, Ky. The project would have 209 guest rooms and 200 condos as well as a world-class contemporary art museum that would offer free admission year-round to allow the public to experience original art in a nontraditional setting.
The investment in the project is truly staggering: $200 million for 779,000 square feet. It’s nice that the developers are investing first for underground parking, an expensive rarity in Austin, as well as for the museum which will add another cultural destination downtown while providing the project a creative identity. The project is being constructed at 3rd and Brazos on the current site of the Whitley printing company — a windowless black stucco one floor industrial building that has had “future condo site” written all over it. The project will require variances for the large size and is expected to break ground in 2008 with a planned completion in 2010.
The project architects include Deborah Berke & Partners, a very well respected boutique, modern New York firm as well as Goody Clancy Architecture, a national firm based in Boston. Susman Tisdale Gayle, a local firm retained to assist with many of the large Austin projects, will also be involved.
The renderings show a very attractive project:
What’s the bottom line? First, it’s nice to see developers who could choose any city in the world choose Austin for such a unique $200 million project. This concept, more than most, will make a significant positive contribution to the downtown Austin environment. It will also be a key project in an important part of the city: the area between Congress and the Convention Center, between Sixth and the lake. While the Second Street District and the contiguous Warehouse District are becoming the heart of downtown, this area is the prime connective tissue to historic Sixth Street, the important Convention Center District, and the rest of downtown. The area is threatened by the terrible Marriott block between second and third, congress and Brazos where a huge retail-less hotel monolith will break the westward pedestrian traffic flow from the 2nd Street district. This project will help balance the area, providing a hub for new restaurants, bars, and shops and hopefully creating a bridge between these important downtown neighborhoods.
While pricing has not been revealed, the developers have implied that the project will compete on the upper-end of the market with the Austonian and the Four Seasons condo project. As this market for high-end condos has not previously existed in Austin, it’s too early to tell how the project will fare financially. However, the unique boutique hotel will certainly be a welcome addition just a block from the convention center.
As always, the full AustinTowers profile can be found here!