A development planned for an assembly of properties along Rainey Street currently occupied mostly by the Rainey Street Food Truck Lot is currently seeking city approval for the construction of a 48-story tower bringing more residences to this downtown Austin neighborhood — and though it’s not the tallest plan underway in the district, if built this would displace an earlier proposal and be unique as a mid-block development on Rainey Street proper, similar in scale to other projects like 70 Rainey, 9092 Rainey or the River Street Residences occupying a corner lot instead. The plan, currently in the early stages of the city’s review process under the amusingly simple name of Rainey Tower.
Though it’s a new advance of development toward Rainey Street’s stretch of bungalow bars, this site is really the best-case scenario for infill — as far as we can tell, the project doesn’t actually replace any of the district’s current bars, simply requiring the removal of the site’s food truck park along with the demolition or relocation of the converted bungalow now used for office space at 84 Rainey Street.
The only building currently operating as a bar along this stretch would survive — plans show the incorporation of bar Reina located at 78 Rainey Street into the project site, with the original building remaining in place next to the new tower. The new building will also contain more than 15,000 square feet of retail space with cocktail lounge and restaurant uses, along with a reported 11 units designated as affordable on top of a $1.7 million fee-in-lieu payment to the city’s affordable housing trust.
Though recent property records show the site’s still owned by 70 Rainey developers Sackman Enterprises, the 78-84 Rainey project actually appears to be the work of local developers Lincoln Ventures, best known lately for the 30-story student housing community known as Waterloo that’s set to become the tallest tower in West Campus once it’s finished in 2022. Real Towersheads will remember Sackman’s original plans way back in 2017 for a nine-story mixed-use tower project at this same site, but considering this district’s vertical growth between then and now it’s no surprise that the conversation has shifted to something much taller.
The tower’s architects at STG Design have previously contributed work nearby for the Natiivo tower fast approaching completion at 48 East Avenue and the East Tower project in the early stages of site prep at 84 East Avenue, and judging by the illustrations of the new building seen in its recent site plan documents this project appears to be similar in form to those towers — it starts with a parking podium containing 437 spaces along with ground-level retail and lobby space, all of which is topped off with an amenity deck, then it rises with a residential tower section that likely has a second rooftop amenity deck near the crown. The building’s site plan also names local landscape architects TBG Partners and civil engineers Wuest Group.
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