The Austonian, a 56-story tower at 2nd and Congress that would become the tallest building in the city, staged an elaborate “ground-breaking” ceremony today to signify the beginning of construction. While the ground-breaking does hold real symbolic value, it did not involve much in the way of construction equipment. For the ceremony, a pile of dirt was constructed in the middle of the lot and then symbolically dismantled by a large crowd of well-dressed dignitaries in business clothing and matching white hard hats!
While the ground-breaking does not truly commit them to completing the project, it is a step in the right direction. The project team announced that they have lined up full financing for the project from Spanish sources. With the financing complete, they are now commencing construction. When the cranes go up, it will be a good sign that the building will truly be a reality.
The Austonian is an exciting project that is one of the most bold developments in Austin. At 56-stories and with 188 units starting at $500,000, the project is exclusively focused on the high end of the market. This is the segment that remains the most unproven downtown. The commencement of construction is a good sign for the Austin condo market, especially in the middle of the current credit crunch and ongoing subprime lending crisis.