Ever since Travis County abandoned its unpopular proposal to construct a new civil courthouse downtown at the city-owned 300 block of Guadalupe Street and announced its intent to sell the parcel off to a private developer, the rumor mill’s been running wild. Even before that, almost a decade ago, this site was slated to be the headquarters of Austin Museum of Art.
The site is prime for tower development, unencumbered by any Capitol View Corridors and situated across from Republic Square Park. Though we’re still not certain of the project’s winning developer, renderings from local architects STG Design emerged over the weekend on their website.
Currently referred to as 308 Guadalupe, the project as rendered above shows a building roughly 59 stories in height, with about 5 additional floors of mechanical. This would edge out The Independent as Austin’s tallest building.
From an initial glance at the tower’s design, it looks like mixed-use, likely including hotel and residential components along with ground-floor retail and restaurant space in keeping with the placemaking goals of the general district around it. To reiterate — it’s not clear that this design is the winning bid, but it certainly shows the potential of the site.
Although it may already feel like our city’s in the middle of a peak hotel boom, projects like the Fairmont and Hotel Mirabeau are proof that the bubble’s not popped yet. We’ve heard continuous rumors that Virgin Hotels is seriously investigating Austin as a potential site for its next project, with another already underway in Dallas — could this be it? It’s a little too soon to call, but the company’s propensity for glitzy showmanship would seem to dovetail nicely with the city’s newest, tallest tower.
STG, by the way, are the folks behind projects like the 48 East tower planned near the lake, the Seaholm redevelopment, and the Thinkery — all interesting projects with recognizable looks.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that these renderings are speculative, as architecture firms sometimes do to attract developers’ attention — but other projects of this variety in STG’s portfolio are labeled “Study,” a label curiously absent from the 308 Guadalupe design.
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