High-density multifamily development hasn’t yet reached a fever pitch in Austin’s North Loop neighborhood — in fact, the biggest project underway in the area is likely the Flora Apartments currently rising on Middle Fiskville Road near Airport Boulevard. Still, Dallas-based real estate outfit Trinsic Residential Group has its eye on the neighborhood’s northwestern edge, with plans for a mixed-use project at the southeastern corner of North Lamar Boulevard and West Koenig Lane — a 3.65-acre tract of undeveloped land owned by the Texas Department of Transportation. It’s an oddly-shaped plot, and to me it looks sort of like a friendly whale:
The proper address for the state-owned property, which only received the necessary rezoning for its development in 2016, is 5629 North Lamar Boulevard. Though it’s sandwiched slightly awkwardly between Koenig Lane and the shopping center at 5555 North Lamar Boulevard, Trinsic has big plans for this land, with recent city filings for the property’s development describing 286 apartment units and 5,768 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
According to David Glessner, a public information officer for TxDOT, the sale of the land to Trinsic is “moving through the TxDOT sales process,” and once the transaction is concluded, “TxDOT has no involvement in the buyer’s development plans for the site.” Adam N. Brown, Trinsic’s managing director for development in this region, provided us with further info about what the firm has planned:
The proposed development has been given the working name “Aura North Lamar” and is approximately 280 luxury apartment units with ground floor retail/restaurant space on the North Lamar frontage. The intersection of North Lamar Boulevard and Koenig Lane is a high-profile corner, which will give the project great exposure. That said, we are excited to bring to life this long vacant tract of land with the mixed-use project.
The residential units will feature high-end interior finishes and will have access to community amenities including a top-floor sky lounge, clubroom, state-of-the-art fitness center, dog park, and a highly amenitized pool courtyard. The North Lamar frontage will be activated and tied into the fabric of the surrounding neighborhood with space for ground floor restaurants and retailers.
— Adam N. Brown, Trinsic Residential Group
Trinsic’s no stranger to the Aura apartment brand, which comprises almost its entire portfolio of properties in Texas and beyond. If all goes well for the firm, Aura North Lamar will become its second project in Austin, alongside the planned Aura Riverside development at 6107 East Riverside Drive.
Renderings aren’t yet on the table for the Aura North Lamar project, but it’ll be interesting to see how the design of the building deals with the land’s odd shape following Koenig Lane’s curve. Considering that this site, as far as we can tell, has never been developed, the plan seems like a best-case scenario for adding rental units to the 78751 region without running roughshod over any of the neighborhood’s charming existing properties — not that the area couldn’t stand to lose some parking lots to density, mind you. According to Brown, Trinsic plans to break ground on Aura North Lamar by summer 2019, with delivery by fall 2020.
While we’re at it, there are actually a couple of other dense residential projects worth noting near the Aura North Lamar location. The first, known only for now as Lamar at North Loop VMU, is located at 5210 North Lamar Boulevard, a 2.38-acre site only a few blocks south from the Aura project, near the Taco Cabana and Camden Lamar Heights apartments located on opposite sides of the corner of North Lamar and North Loop Boulevards.
The only developer listed for the project is Madrone Ventures, LLC, an outfit associated with the Midland-based Fasken Oil & Ranch, one of the nation’s largest privately-owned oil companies. No renderings are available for this project for the moment, though it’s described as having 209 apartment units over 5,685 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The second project, though seemingly without a retail component, will bring 297 apartment units to 601 West St. Johns Avenue, a 2.43-acre site at the corner of West St. Johns Avenue and Guadalupe Street. Called St. Johns West for the time being, it’s a development by firm JCI Residential, which is also behind the Flora Apartments currently underway in North Loop.
We don’t always cover developments this far north from downtown, but it’s interesting to see the growth in this area, which has typically been pretty sleepy compared to the active VMU development along, say, the Burnet Road corridor. Maybe it’s time for us to pay a little more attention to what’s going on over here — I don’t exactly see it slowing down, do you?