More than two years after the first appearance of plans for a 31-story mixed-use tower development surrounding the Symphony Square historic site in downtown Austin, demolition has finally arrived at the project’s approximately 1.7-acre land assembly — never mind that we still haven’t actually seen a rendering of the tower from its developer Greystar, it’s still a good sign of progress on will likely be the second tower project to break ground in downtown Austin since the start of the pandemic.
The site for the building assembled by developer Greystar includes the former offices of the Austin Symphony Orchestra at 1117 Red River Street, and the shuttered Velocity Credit Union facing Sabine Street at 610 East 11th Street, which occupies the whole eastern half of the block between East 11th and 12th Streets — and it’s these buildings that are currently being cleared, with the former 1970s office building on stilts at the corner of East 12th and Red River Streets now roughly halfway down:
The removal of these non-historic structures and the subsequent construction of a tower at this site will not harm the actual Symphony Square next door, which contains several historic structures and an outdoor amphitheater on Waller Creek dating back to the 1970s. The last time we saw development filings for this project outlining its various uses, the building was set to contain approximately 385 apartments, 129,000 square feet of office space, multiple ground-level retail spaces facing both Red River and Sabine Streets, and some sort of “co-living” component with 78 units sitting on top of its offices — this all adds up to a building containing approximately 850,000 square feet, or 567,000 square feet not counting its parking garage.
It’s nice to see signs progress on this structure, despite how relatively little we know about it compared with other projects of its scale in downtown. We presume, perhaps wishfully, that along with long-awaited renderings of the building finally revealing details of its looks by architecture firm R2L, its developers will someday also announce the official name of the community — “Symphony Square” is likely a placeholder, since that would get pretty confusing for its neighbors. Judging by the naming conventions of similar buildings downtown, we can probably expect a name like “The Waterloo.” But we’re just spitballing here.