With the block-sized Centro office development now complete at 1401 East Sixth Street, its developers at local firm Riverside Resources are pondering the project’s second phase. You might recall that the pair of five-story office buildings now standing at the site are only part of the story, with more buildings planned on the block east of the project’s handy new outdoor paseo that pedestrianizes a stretch of Onion Street.
But while the assumption for years now was that Centro Phase 2 would simply add more office buildings to the roughly 3.25-acre collection of properties, the latest permits for the next stage of the project indicate the developers are shifting gears — city filings as recent as this month instead describe the second half of the project at 1501 East Sixth Street as a 260-unit apartment building, rising to a surprising height of nine floors as allowed by the density bonuses for residential projects in the Transit-Oriented Development area created around the adjacent Saltillo MetroRail station.
The development, using the name Centro East at the moment, would also contain roughly 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, with 337 parking spaces located in an underground garage. This is obviously all a major change of pace from the first half of the project, but we’ll always be glad to see more housing in the region, particularly when it uses the particular development bonuses of the area to blow past the five-story height limit of so many new multifamily projects in Austin.
While some details of Centro Part 2 are likely still in flux, a tentative construction schedule for the second phase indicates the project could break ground on excavation for its underground garage as soon as the beginning of next year, with completion possible by 2024. Renderings of the Centro offices carefully avoid showing too many details of the second phase, but it’s a good guess the structure’s design from the same folks at Gensler Austin will compliment the appearance of the first half — landscape architects Nudge Design and engineers WGI are also returning for round two.
Keeping in mind the number of future transit stations planned around Austin as part of Project Connect, and thus the number of transit-oriented areas we ought to densely develop around them, Centro East seems like a good blueprint for taller housing adjacent to the city’s coming rail network. Heck, maybe we could eventually try building some of them without parking?