In the aftermath of the revelation that Austin could soon receive its first “supertall” tower in the form of a mixed-use project called Waller Creek by developers Lincoln Property Company and Kairoi Residential at 98 Red River Street — a site that’s sat undeveloped despite multiple evolving plans for its transformation over the years — whichever anonymous individual first leaked the renderings to development site Houston Architecture Info has continued trickling out various images and information about the tower. Unlike the “relatively accurate” verdict provided by Lincoln Property Company regarding the authenticity of our original round of images, we’re unable to confirm with the developers that some of the other images now floating around online for the project are current — though we suspect they’re just as good as the first.
Still, in the interest of accuracy we figured we’d stick to one of the few pieces of official information about this project, in the form of the currently-active permit for an aeronautical study recently filed for the tower with the Federal Aviation Administration. Structures rising more than 499 feet must submit these applications for study to the FAA to ensure they don’t obstruct the path of air traffic, and they include an official height — the one given for the Waller Creek project is 1,025 feet.
That would put the tower 23 feet higher than the current tallest building in Texas, Houston’s JPMorgan Chase Tower, and well into what qualifies for supertall status — and it’s only one foot off from our own estimate of the building’s height from earlier this month, not that we’re congratulating ourselves or anything. But plans shift over time and we’ve definitely seen those height numbers change on FAA filings in the past, not to mention that whoever’s leaking these documents related to the tower has put out information to the effect that the tower is actually 1,031 feet tall.
Six extra feet wouldn’t end up looking all that different to people on the ground, but since we’ve got that FAA number we thought we’d put together one of our mockups of towers headed for the Rainey Street District skyline and see how much this new supertall blows them all away. We’ve had to add a few buildings that are already standing for the sake of context, since Google Earth updates its 3D buildings on a bit of a delay — for example, in the most current imagery the Fairmont Austin is shown still under construction, something we also encountered with the Bing Maps imagery used to create the version of Austin in the new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator released earlier this year — but here’s how the supertall tower at Waller Creek will compare in height against its neighboring skyline, past and future:
First, above are two views including a massing of the Waller Creek tower by itself against the current skyline. Our standard disclaimers for these 3D massings apply — they’re generally accurate to the building’s height and orientation based on property lines, but not its overall shape. (We’re using that 1,025 feet number from the FAA permit, at least for the time being.) The real supertall, as we’ve seen in the renderings, has a significant taper as it rises, making it much smaller at the top in real life.
The two visualizations below bring in massings of several other towers in the Rainey Street District — we’ve had to add a few that were finished so recently that Google Maps hasn’t caught up. You’ll notice that the Waller Creek Supertall looks a little different here than in the two images above — in the above renderings we made the tower’s footprint smaller to better reflect how it tapers at the top, but in the images below we’ve more accurately modeled its property lines so its position relating to the towers around it is more accurate. Again, the heights are correct, but since the tower tapers it will look much more narrow at the top than it appears below:
It’s probably needless to say, but the Waller Creek tower would be unmistakable on the Austin skyline if built to the height seen here — and that’s saying a lot considering how many other towers have been announced within even the last year or two. We’ll look forward to finding out more on this game-changing development when the time comes, but until then, the green boxes aren’t so bad either.