Today, we’re just going to casually chat about some towers downtown. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? It’s certainly a lot nicer than me trying to write an entire article about one of these projects, since the updates we’re about to discuss are fairly small. Still, don’t you like feeling informed? Of course you do. Hit it:
The mysterious Block 185 is back in the spotlight after its city site plan was updated with a new document last month describing the “conceptual” usages of a building at the location, which as we’ve discussed before is one of the hardest blocks to develop in downtown due to its various setback and access restrictions.
This new plan describes a mixed-use building with 711,370 square feet of offices and roughly 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, which is completely different than prior rumors of a residential tower headed to the site — and seems to track with the overall trend of large-scale office developments downtown. Unfortunately, we still don’t know the height.
500 West Second Street
Speaking of offices, the so-called Google Tower at 500 West Second Street is getting even Googlier, with a permit filed yesterday for a new Google “G” sign on the western side of the building. We don’t know exactly how that’s going to look — it could be a smaller sign at street-level, but I personally hope it’s more of a Palazzo Braschi situation.
The Avenue, definitely our favorite upcoming car-free residential tower project planned at 721 Congress Avenue, made another step forward towards reality after the demolition permit for the existing building at the site was approved late last month. That doesn’t mean we know when the demolition will actually take place, mind you — but being very excited about this project means we’ll take whatever we can get.
The Tower Formerly Known as Alexan Capitol
The missing piece of our article earlier this week about the Alexan residential project at 700 East 11th Street was the actual timeline for the tower’s construction, and now thanks to a brief comment from Matt Enzler, managing director for the tower’s development firm Trammell Crow Residential, we know the target for groundbreaking is sometime in late summer or early fall of this year.
One other detail Enzler mentioned was that, as implied by the different names for the building we’ve seen in various city documents, the issue of the tower’s identity isn’t settled — he says they’re juggling a few ideas around but will probably decide on a name next year. We just know it’s gonna be Alexan Something.
There’s not much in the way of updates on 600 Guadalupe Street, which is both an address and the name of Austin’s potential next tallest tower. Still, even though we have no definitive timeline for the start of construction except “soon,” its architect Gensler is still keeping the hype train chugging along with frequent new renderings of the mixed-use building, which will supposedly include offices, multifamily units, and ground-floor retail space.
Is it just the angles, or did the building’s design change between the first rendering up there and the new one Gensler designer George Blume posted on Instagram a week ago? Either way, this tower’s thicker than a bowl of oatmeal!
Fifth and West
The Fifth and West condo tower has come a long way since we toured its construction site last year. It’s a really neat building, with a curious sign now hanging from the facade. It seems the strategy is to tempt monied suburbanites by promising all the benefits of living downtown with none of the scary stuff that comes with it, such as…other people?
“Low-density luxury” is a hell of a tagline, ain’t it? Not to mention the crack about having all the hotel luxuries with none of those pesky hotel guests — that’s a clear jab at competing condos like the new construction at Austin Proper, or the existing W Austin and Four Seasons Residences that share amenities with their respective hotels. All of the Austin, none of the riff-raff. That’s keeping it weird, folks!