The cliché that the Domain represents Austin’s “second downtown” is a slight overstatement, but that doesn’t make its recent vertical growth any less impressive for a part of town that only a few years ago was indistinguishable from the car-dependent suburban sprawl of almost everything north of 183. The North Burnet Gateway Regulating Plan, which tweaked the region’s zoning restrictions to incentivize the development of a dense, transit-oriented urban environment back in the 2000s, continues to shape the future of this district — in fact, its boundaries and height limits might soon expand, as the success of the plan appears on the city’s skyline.
Even after years of growth under the auspices of this plan, every subsequent tall building announced here feels like a new milestone for what’s possible in a district miles from downtown, and an upcoming 20-story residential tower that wouldn’t look entirely out of place in Austin’s real downtown is one of the region’s latest achievements. The building appears to be the tallest multifamily project currently planned in the area, with 416 residential units and more than 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail space in an approximately 232-foot tower at 10711 Burnet Road — a 2.1-acre site now occupied by a smaller three-story office building and parking lot.
The property, located directly east of the Domain, north of Q2 Stadium, and a short walk from the Kramer Station of the MetroRail Red Line, is pretty much an ideal location for transit-oriented residential use, especially since much of the surrounding area is not particularly walkable even in spite of increasing regional density. While the developer is unknown, entities connected with the site’s current owner SynerMark Properties appear in city permits, along with Minneapolis-based designers ESG and local landscape architecture firm Nudge Design. Thanks to the reduced parking requirements in this region’s zoning, the project’s garage component will contain only 509 spaces — not trivial, but still significantly less than you’d see in other projects.
While few details of the tower are known beyond these numbers and illustrations, we still find its sheer existence a remarkable sign of things to come. More than a decade ago, when the North Burnet Gateway Plan was approved, a building of this height going up in downtown Austin would probably be front-page news at least once, and certainly a topic of conversation — now it’s just business as usual on Burnet Road. Imagine what might happen if we allowed this kind of zoning in a few more places?