The folks at Endeavor Real Estate Group aren’t wasting any time on the 30-story mixed-use tower planned at 91 Red River Street. The building, called Red River Tower in some documents, will bring 328 apartments, three floors of office space, and ground-level retail to the growing Rainey Street District — and demolition clearing the .74-acre site for the tower’s construction begins later this month, only a few months after our first good look at the building.
An approved demolition permit with the City of Austin, issued for the property assembled from adjacent addresses at 91-93 Red River Street, states that asbestos abatement for the 1960s-era warehouse and office structure on the northern portion of the site will commence on October 17th. Demolition proper kicks off October 23, and will last a month, according to the permit.
The 91 Red River Street section of the future tower’s location — which is currently used only as a gravel parking lot — was previously home to the first outpost of the G’Raj Mahal Cafe food truck, but the restaurant has since relocated to its permanent Rainey Street address. Before that, it was a used car lot known both as Washington Motors and Artie’s Red River Motors, which “kept hippies and poor folks on wheels” with the tongue-in-cheek guarantee of “90 miles or 90 minutes.”
The business was owned for some time by local character Doug Breeding, who lived in a bus parked at the site and frequently offered low-cost services and lodging at the car lot for itinerant musicians:
Doug Breeding, remembered as one of Austin’s oldest hippies, fixed and sold the cars of many of Austin’s greatest musicians, and in the end it was one of his own rebuilt trucks that betrayed him. Breeding, who owned and ran Red River Motors for three decades, died Thursday when a dump truck he had salvaged lost a wheel and carried him over a cliff in Honduras. He was 70.
Friends described the Austin native as a conundrum, at times generous or selfish, curious or dismissive, easygoing or temperamental, indifferent or obsessed, but always a music fan. He was a patron and supporter of musicians, including Doug Sahm, Speedy Sparks, Junior Brown, Joe King Carrasco and many others. His support often took the form of low-cost cars, car repairs, a tour bus or a place to sleep. Breeding himself lived in a bus parked off Red River Street, near Rainey Street.
— Doug Breeding Obituary, Austin American-Statesman, 2002
The warehouse and office structure at 93 Red River Street was built in 1965, and for a time after 1983 served as the headquarters of Capitol Bearing Service. It’s now used by co-working space Tabwork, and LAZ Parking uses its lot to park bar-goers in the Rainey Street District. Little else is known about the structure, and it likely won’t be missed by even the hardest of hard-core preservationists. I mean, I love a nice brick building, but c’mon.
There’s a reason Endeavor’s moving fast to clear this site — the developer hopes to break ground on the building by the end of this year, or at the “very beginning” of 2019. We’ll see how that goes, but for the time being, if you’ve got some strange emotional connection with these addresses, you’d better go pay your respects pretty quick. Personally, I paid something absurd like $15 to park here back when the original Lustre Pearl was a thing in 2012 or thereabouts, so I’m shedding no tears for its demise — bring on the building!