A 54-story tower project bringing a whopping 644 new multifamily residences and approximately 20,000 square feet of ground-level restaurant space is now planned by local real estate firm Wilson Capital for the 0.8-acre Avenue Lofts condo site located at 410 East Fifth Street in downtown Austin, according to the latest permit activity from the developer — and with the demolition of the existing 38-unit residential building at the property already approved by the city’s Historic Landmark Commission earlier this year, the new tower plan could be moving forward soon.
Wilson Capital’s purchase of the Avenue Lofts site at the beginning of 2022 was the fourth negotiated buyout we’ve seen in the last few years of an established condo community in downtown Austin with a larger tower project in mind — other recent sales include the Villas on Town Lake, the Railyard condos, and Brazos Lofts.
Though the extensive modification of the Avenue Lofts building over the years has rendered it ineligible for historic preservation, the structure is undeniably charming — originally built as a state health department office in 1943 with New Deal-era public works funds in a subtle Art Deco style, the building’s 1999 adaptive reuse into condos by architect Charles Fisk on behalf of developers the Sutton Company added iconic design elements like the round porthole-shaped windows at the building’s main entrance, which compliment the general streamlined aesthetic of the structure so well that many folks are surprised to learn they were added later. Details aren’t available yet, but we would really love for the look of the new tower at the site to find some inspiration from the original building’s design.
According to the latest permits, the project plans to participate in the Downtown Density Bonus Program to exceed its entitled floor area ratio of 8 to 1, with marketing materials for the site previously indicating a tower with a ratio of 25 to 1 is possible thanks to the site’s lack of other height restrictions. However, the presence of Brush Square next door could impose some design limitations on the building’s frontage due to the impact of the Downtown Parks Overlay — in any case, the building’s density bonus application process will most likely give us our first look at the new tower.
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