As we so brilliantly predicted a while back after seeing a number of projects here and connecting some pretty obvious dots, the northwestern quadrant of downtown is increasingly looking like the central city’s next frontier for growth — and there’s a new face on the block, with local developer Pearlstone Partners along with their frequent collaborators at New York-based ATCO Properties appearing to purchase the quarter-block at the southwest corner of West 14th and Lavaca Streets.
A deed of trust document filed in Travis County with an effective date of November 1, 2021 records the sale of several tracts comprising this corner, with the previous owner a partnership entity between local firms Sabot Development and Twin Crest Capital, and the new owner a joint venture between Pearlstone and ATCO. The site is an approximately 0.42-acre assembly of four neighboring properties including 1304 and 1308 Lavaca Street; and 301 and 303 West 14th Street. The sale price is unknown, though the deed describes a $15.5 million promissory note issued by an ATCO-connected lending entity.
Previous plans from the Sabot and Twin Crest partnership indicated the development of a hotel project at this corner, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Pearlstone and ATCO have something else up their sleeves — Pearlstone’s overall portfolio is massively skewed towards residential developments, with the firm currently partnered with ATCO on the 41-floor Rainey District condo tower Vesper, along with the approximately 200-unit Parkside condo project in the Mueller neighborhood. We’ve obviously got nothing against hotels, but it would be nice to see more opportunities for longer-term residents in this district, particularly since only one new condo tower — the 28-floor Linden development currently underway a few blocks north at West 17th and Guadalupe Streets — has emerged in this corner of downtown since the 1960s.
You might recall that earlier this summer the city’s Historic Landmark Commission signed off on the demolition of the multiple quasi-derelict structures currently standing on this corner, including a 1940s gas station and a former dwelling modified for retail use, and that approval obviously carries over to the new owners. Due to its proximity to the State Capitol, there are a number of constraints on the assembly, with some of its southern area limited in height by a Capitol View Corridor and the entire corner under the restrictions of the Capitol Dominance Overlay.
Still, even with these various hurdles the site is currently entitled for a 165-foot tower, which could translate to 15 residential floors or so — it’s worth noting that one of the better ideas thrown around a few years back when we were trying our best to draft a new Land Development Code was the removal of that Capitol Dominance Overlay, which would allow a project here to rise significantly higher. Food for thought, isn’t it?