When it comes to downtown Austin, almost everyone loves the Warehouse district. It’s historic, iconic, and full of life. Its small scale is a nice counterbalance to the surrounding towers. The area, though much smaller than it used to be, is widely known and a common entertainment destination for residents and visitors.
So it will be mixed emotions that downtown dwellers will greet yesterday’s news of a new 30-story shiny glass office tour planned for one of the key warehouse district blocks. The tower, which will certainly block many Austonian northwest views, will contain 18 stories of fancy offices on top of 12 stories of above-ground parking. The building is being developed by Cousins Properties which also developed the Frost Bank Tower just a couple of blocks away. Fortunately, the new building will not sport the same giant nose hair trimmer crown.
The building — currently named “Colorado and Third” — is planned for a parking lot site that was previously supposed to become a hotel. The lot, located on 3rd and Congress, is at a prime intersection connecting the warehouse district to the Second Street District.
The 30-Story “Colorado & Third” Project
There is no doubt that the expansion of downtown Austin office inventory is essential to bringing more people downtown and to increase downtown destiny. According to the Statesman, “Cousins has filed for a zoning change with the city to build a tower with more square footage than current zoning would allow. Hendricks is presenting Cousins’ plans to brief the Downtown Commission on the project this afternoon. The commission is an advisory board that makes recommendations to the City Council on downtown policies and projects. Hendricks said two key factors are driving Cousins’ decision to add more office supply downtown, where office rents and occupancies are on the rise. About 80 percent of the leases for first-class office space downtown will come up for renewal between 2012 and 2016. In addition, the downtown office market is becoming increasingly diversified, with a growing number of technology companies choosing to locate in the central business district, pushing up the demand for space.”
The project would include 6,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.