A block of 1970s-era warehouses located at 99 Trinity Street, representing a low-density curiosity in a region of downtown Austin otherwise experiencing rapid growth, is listed for sale as of this week via commercial real estate giants JLL — and maybe it’s needless to say, but the possibility of development at this site is music to our ears.
This prime 0.94-acre tract at the southeast corner of East Cesar Chavez and Trinity Streets has sat unchanged since its 2012 purchase by WC 1st and Trinity LP, a limited partnership affiliated with local investor Nate Paul and his firm World Class, which operates under several “WC”-branded entities. Paul announced a residential development at the site known as Trinity Tower back in 2013, which almost immediately fell into limbo and hasn’t been heard from since. That same WC 1st and Trinity LP entity still owns the site according to current property records, but judging by this recent listing that could potentially change soon.
The warehouses on the property, currently converted by their owners for covered public parking, provide an odd contrast to the nearby Four Seasons Residences and the Austin Convention Center directly north across Caesar Chavez Street — and the address shares an intersection with one of the city’s latest towers at the recently-opened Austin Marriott Downtown. That’s an asset to potential buyers looking to raise a tower at this site, which the JLL listing describes as featuring “extremely favorable zoning characteristics for mixed-use development.” (Looking further into the future, this site will presumably be only steps from the MACC / Rainey Street light rail station of the Project Connect Blue Line.)
Located across Cesar Chavez from the Austin Convention Center and across Trinity from the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences, the Site is located on the banks of Waller Creek, at the termination of the Waterloo Greenway Park, within feet of Lady Bird Lake and a two-minute walk to Rainey Street Entertainment District.
With enhanced by-right entitlements and unlimited height, the site offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a site ideal for Class AA office, residential or hospitality uses, or a combination of any or all of the above, with a wealth of dining, nightlife and recreational opportunities at one’s doorstep.
It’s a safe bet any future potential development on behalf of a new buyer will look different than the 38-story tower World Class previously imagined here, since the site is unconstrained by view corridors and could potentially rise much higher considering what’s happened downtown between 2013 and 2021. The JLL listing includes a handy rendering showing a 40-something-floor tower that could be built at the site under current entitlements, but the design seen here could also be a decade old or more — look how many other new buildings are missing from the skyline:
Though the future of expansion plans for Austin’s Convention Center are up in the air — perhaps even literally, if the center decides to do the right thing and grow vertical — the 99 Trinity site’s highly visible location on the waterfront next door to what could potentially become the tallest building in Texas should incentivize whoever buys this property to develop a striking tower of their own. Might we humbly suggest gold?
(Speaking of properties associated with World Class, we were interested to see news this week that the firm has successfully refinanced its property at 56 East Avenue, one of the largest remaining development opportunities in the Rainey Street District. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a tower there too…one of these days.)