Block 185, the 35-floor downtown Austin office tower bringing an instantly-iconic sailboat-inspired design to the skyline and reportedly set to be occupied by tech giants Google celebrates its official topping out today, according to developers Trammell Crow Company and investment firm MSD Capital. (Sharp-eyed readers might note that “MSD” stands for “Michael Saul Dell,” meaning this tower was made possible at least in part by one of Austin’s own local tech success stories.)
Having reached its highest occupied point of construction at 601 West Second Street, the tower already marks a striking new presence for downtown — and if you’ve spent any time in the area lately, you’ve likely watched its ascent with great interest.
Rising 590 feet with multiple terraced setbacks accommodating the restrictions of the city’s Waterfront Overlay, along with a sail-shaped glass curtain wall on its western elevation, the project’s design from famed architecture firm Pelli Clarke Pelli and the locals at STG Design is a kind of signature flourish marking the end of a seven-year transformation in this corner of downtown — the Block 185 tower represents the final piece of Trammell Crow’s Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment project started back in 2014 as part of a deal with the City of Austin, which has gradually replaced four parcels formerly occupied by the water treatment plant with other buildings including Northshore Apartments, 500 West Second Street, and Austin Proper.
According to Trammell Crow, general contractors DPR Construction kept the Block 185 project ahead of schedule despite the pandemic occurring over a year into its construction process, with more than 350 craft workers mobilized at the site contributing a combined one million hours of work thus far to top out the structure — which upon completion will be Austin’s largest and tallest office tower with approximately 800,000 rentable square feet along with an additional ground-level retail component. The project is currently on schedule for completion by May 2022.
We were lucky enough to get a closer look the tower during today’s topping out event, and since many of these downtown views will presumably only be available to Google employees, you’d better enjoy them while you can — or make a friend at Google:
Here’s a recent drone video showing off the tower from several stunning perspectives — we didn’t shoot this one, but we know talent when we see it: