Back in February, we took an early look at some of downtown Austin’s most mysterious upcoming towers. One of the murkiest of the bunch was the residential development planned at 91 Red River Street, a .74-acre plot of land owned by entities associated with mega-firm Endeavor Real Estate Group.
Though documents describing the project only use the 91 Red River Street address, the Endeavor-owned land is actually comprised of two adjacent addresses — 91 and 93 Red River Street — and in all, this plot comprises half the city block bound by Red River, Driskill, Rainey, and Davis Streets.
Situated on the far north end of the Rainey Street District and located directly across the street from the Hotel Van Zandt, it was only a matter of time before this site took shape into something more than the gravel parking lot and industrial buildings occupying it at the moment. And just like that, recent city filings from earlier this week have given us a few more pieces of information about what to expect.
New administrative documents first describe the unnamed project as a 30-story mixed-use tower, but the same files later indicate that the building will have 29 above-ground floors, “plus basement,” which could mean the tower has one subterranean level, and the earlier number was counting it. Of course, it could also just mean the floor count’s changed, or somebody got a number wrong.
Either way, 29 stories ain’t bad for the Rainey area — the Hotel Van Zandt across the street is only 16 stories tall, while the Shore Condominiums further back has 22 floors. Even 70 Rainey, the district’s tallest project for the moment, clocks in at 34 stories.
Further on, we find indications of the proposed building’s usage. It’s got retail on the ground floor, described as 12,817 square feet of restaurant space, along with seven floors of parking, three floors of offices, and 18 floors of residential units.
It’s unclear whether these units are apartments or condos — when the documents name the floor counts, those 18 floors of residential are called apartments, but the building’s traffic impact analysis application describes “328 condos.” We’ll probably find out which one it is soon enough, and the folks at Endeavor have responded to my inquiries with a polite “no comment,” so for now we’ve got to just let the mystery be.
Despite the address being fairly boring now, the 91 Red River Street site has history. An attractive 1900s home used to sit on that address at the corner of Red River and Davis Streets, and between that house and what’s now Container Bar was a used car lot called Washington Motors, which apparently sold cars with the tongue-in-cheek money-back guarantee of “90 miles or 90 minutes.”
In 2009, the lot became the first location of Indian restaurant G’Raj Mahal, which was a food truck at the time. The cafe relocated to its brick and mortar location at 73 Rainey Street back in 2014, and despite rumors that the house at 91 Red River street would be moved, it ended up demolished in 2016 along with the other home on the half-block.
With multiple large developments in the planning stages all over this area, it’s great to see a property so close to the action receiving the mixed-use treatment — some other nearby projects might lack a ground-floor retail presence, which doesn’t contribute as much to the quality of the neighborhood.
This tower will join several other planned developments bringing an increased office presence to the area. That’s a trend we’re seeing more and more in areas of Austin considered to be hip entertainment districts, and it’s likely a result of companies hoping to attract young talent by placing offices in a cool part of town. Keeping this in mind, it’s time to ask the tough question — are millennials killing boring offices?