The region of downtown Austin northwest of the Capitol, just east of the historic Judge’s Hill neighborhood and labeled by Google Maps as the “North Side,” is a bit of an odd duck. As we’ve covered in more detail before, this area’s got different zoning rules than most of downtown, meaning its buildings generally don’t go as high as you’ll find elsewhere — in fact, this quadrant of the central city represents a sort of gap between density in West Campus and the rest of downtown.
That gap may find itself filled in the near future, however — in addition to upcoming civic, hotel, and office projects, the part of town we’re apparently calling the North Side now finds itself the site of a new 27-story condo project at 1615 Guadalupe Street, according to planning documents recently filed with the city:
Named in these documents only as 17th Street Condos, the city filings describe a 319-foot, 104-unit residential tower with 5,306 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, planned on a .29-acre plot currently occupied by an insurance office — meaning it would become the area’s tallest tower by a bit, comparable in size to the nearby Dobie Center in West Campus. Actually, it’s 10 feet taller!
If looking at this building’s future location on the map gives you déjà vu, it’s because it’s directly west — as in, right next door — to the roughly 18-story Hilton Garden Inn project anticipated atop the parking lot at the corner of West 17th and Lavaca Streets. It’s also cater-corner to the block where the county’s new civil and family courts facility is planned. Let’s just put it all down on one map before I get a headache — this part of town is growing quick:
If you were tired of green boxes, I’ve got bad news for you, champ — here are massings of the 17th Street Condos and Hilton Garden Inn next door, giving you an understanding of their respective heights if not their actual colors and designs:
Speaking of which, the design for the condo tower comes from the locals at Rhode Partners, the architecture firm best known for the Independent and plenty of other stuff around town. It’s hard to tell exactly from the few illustrations we have now, but the building’s look — a parking podium topped by an open amenity deck, with the residential component rising above that — looks kind of like a junior version of the 70 Rainey condo tower approaching completion on the other side of town:
Per county records, the property is owned by Higginbotham, a Texas insurance broker — but the developer listed in these documents is 1615 Guadalupe, LLC, an entity associated with New York-based real estate outfit Reger Holdings.
That’s just about all we know on this project for now, so let’s get off track for a minute. It turns out that Reger, with an existing national portfolio of commercial, industrial, and residential buildings, has more plans for the Austin area — in addition to this tower, the firm’s apparently developing something called EastVillage, a 425-acre mixed-use community out on East Parmer Lane imagining commercial, residential, and retail space gathered harmoniously around a 1.5-acre “village green.”
The blend of urban density, expansive parkland, single and multi-family residential options and all of the conveniences that come with living close to great retail, food, and entertainment eliminate the terms, “MoPac traffic” and “I-35 congestion” from EastVillage residential vocabulary.— EastVillageATX.com
I know we don’t pay a lot of attention to far-flung suburban development around here, but I’ve never seen any coverage of this plan in our local media, so I’m not sure what to think — besides, of course, being incredibly amused that the project’s front-page description has the audacity to label East Parmer Lane’s sprawling landscape of semiconductor factories and empty farmland as “Austin’s Upper East Side:”
The urban setting incorporates a collection of both work and lifestyle amenities, naturally attracting the creative class that is making its mark on the future of technology, art, business, and the social scene of Austin. It all comes together in Austin’s Upper East Side, where EastVillage defines the new frontier.— EastVillageATX.com
Going by the map, they’re technically correct in the sense that its location is very “east” and very “upper” from the center of Austin, but I’m still reminded of a certain picante sauce commercial’s perspective on the well-meaning New Yorkers who might try and relate to Texans at their peril. Anyway, it’s a pretty ambitious project, and it’ll be fun to see where it goes — more importantly, we’ll be keeping you looped in on this 17th Street Condo deal for the foreseeable future, since there’s nothing else quite like it on the books for this side of downtown. Onward and upward, as they say.
Header image caption: A massing of the 17th Street Condos project looking north towards the University of Texas campus, using the stated height of the 27-story tower from available plans. Image: Google Maps / James Rambin
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