Over the last few months, we’ve tried to make as much noise as possible regarding upcoming plans for a residential tower at 504 East Fifth Street, the former site of long-time Italian restaurant Carmelo’s — also known as the Old Depot Hotel if you’re looking at the address from a historical perspective — at the corner of Fifth and Red River Streets that was sold to Houston multifamily developer Allen Harrison Company about a year ago.
Documents we saw earlier this year from the city’s Historic Landmark Commission gave us a look at how a potential residential project at the 0.6-acre site could integrate the historic properties on the address while still sprouting a roughly 30-story tower, but they didn’t give us any indication of what that tower would look like beyond some nice renderings of its ground floor, courtesy of the architects at Rhode Partners:
Catching up to the present, renderings were released this week as part of a promotional package for the site by multifamily brokerage ARA Newmark, which is marketing the possible tower under the name 5th + Red, complete with a video that unfortunately will not allow us to embed it on this page due to privacy settings. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Still, you ought to check it out, since it gives us the first glimpse at what a tower on this site might look like — other than our own hamfisted massings, of course.
ARA Newmark is pleased to present 5th + Red (the “Site”) to the investment community. Located at 5th Street & Red River Street, the Site presents the unique opportunity to build a trophy high-rise apartment, condo, hotel or mixed-use tower in the heart of downtown Austin, surrounded by employment, nightlife, dining and entertainment options.
— ARA Newmark Listing
Judging by the above sales info, we don’t know for sure what the usage of this project will entail — we’ve heard about a residential tower at the site before, but in addition to the fairly meaningful distinction between apartments and condos, there’s also the possibility of a hotel in the space, along with probable retail space on the ground floor. Either way, here’s a closer look at the tower imagined at the site in this new promotional material:
After getting in touch with Brett Rhode of Rhode Partners, it’s confirmed that these full-scale renderings, which also appear to clock in at roughly 30 floors, depict the same building seen in the earlier ground-floor renderings back in January. You can match them up yourself if you look at the columns facing Fifth Street — they line up pretty well with this rendering in particular. Still, thanks to Rhode for humoring us on this and confirming the match, which saves us a ton of speculation.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the mystery’s completely solved. This material is all for marketing purposes, and doesn’t indicate anyone’s decided to build exactly what we’re seeing up there. We’re used to hedging our bets on that by now, but these renderings still show us the potential of the site while keeping its specific constraints in mind — specifically our old friend the Capital View Corridor, which passes diagonally over the northeastern corner of this site in a manner that would behoove any tower project to alter its shape to accommodate it.
Compare the map of the CVC’s path below with the geometry of the potential building’s tower component, and you’ll see why it’s the shape that it is:
In the end, a future project at this site could look like the renderings above, or it could look completely different — but the constraints of the CVC and added necessity of preserving and integrating the historic buildings on the site means any promotional design for this location, assuming it fulfills both of these requirements, probably isn’t too far off from what we’ll eventually see. It’s a gamble, but Rhode Partners builds some nice buildings, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what we’ll get in a few years.