A South Austin office, residential and retail project planned for an assembly of adjacent properties between 1301 and 1401 South Lamar Boulevard appears to be moving forward in earnest this month, a 3.88-acre redevelopment which will replace locations of Genie Car Wash, Austin’s Automotive Specialists, and Jiffy Lube with two buildings containing a total of 134,623 square feet of office space along with 309 apartment units and ground-level retail space — as we’ve seen from current plans, the four-story northern building contains offices and retail, the five-story southern building next door offers apartments and retail, and both structures share underground parking.
The Austin’s Automotive and Jiffy Lube locations have been closed for a while, but Genie Car Wash only ceased operations recently, with fences now up around the site. City filings for the development date back to 2019, but this is the first real evidence of anything moving forward here, perhaps a sign that the owners were waiting out the assembly’s retail lease periods. Demolition permits for the current retail structures at this site were issued by the city last month, so it’s only a matter of time — but we do hope the Genie folks find a use for that neon sign of theirs.
The project, associated with developers Ardent Residential, Endeavor Real Estate Group, and investment firm Seamless Capital, is currently listed as offering at least its office structure for lease by early 2023, though an overall construction timeline is unknown. Designed by architects at RCH Studios and STG Design, the office part of the complex certainly looks impressive, though we still haven’t seen significant renderings of the residential component next door — you can see it on the right in this image:
Though we’ve seen the office building planned here a lot more than its twin, the project clearly owes a lot to its two levels of underground parking, allowing both buildings to contain active retail uses facing South Lamar Boulevard and other streetscape improvements representing a boost to this area’s pedestrian environment — it’s not that the carwash and auto service operations here weren’t useful, but their comparatively huge parking lots and narrow sidewalks left a lot to be desired.
That famous South Lamar pedestrian environment
It’s only the latest in office projects joining the typical vertical mixed-use residential and structures more common to this corridor, with similar office additions nearby including the 2010 South Lamar and Bouldin Creek projects. Though the transition hasn’t always been smooth, the dense growth along this corridor and others like South First Street is a whole lot better than a parking lot, even if it means we’re going a little further to get our oil changed these days — small price to pay for a better city.