South Lamar Boulevard is no stranger to growth, but recent plans show there’s still more than enough room left for dense, smart expansion on the corridor — honest! Next on the menu down south is a 3.88-acre redevelopment of adjacent tracts at 1303, 1311, and 1401 South Lamar Boulevard, which will replace locations of Austin’s Automotive Specialists, Genie Car Wash, and Jiffy Lube with a mixed-use project adding a reported 138,780 square feet of office space and 309 apartment units between two separate buildings — along with a quantity of ground-floor retail space.
We ran down the major details of the development, associated with local firms Seamless Capital LP, Endeavor Real Estate Group, and Ardent Residential, earlier this year — but until now, we didn’t have any nice pictures of the project for you.
Here’s our first view of the development’s four-story office and retail building, for now going by no name except its tract’s address at 1311 South Lamar Boulevard, courtesy of Los Angeles-based design outfit RCH Studios — which recently opened an Austin office, meaning I probably don’t need to keep slurring those fine folks as Californians anymore — along with local architects STG Design:
Below we’ve included a street view from roughly the same perspective as the above rendering, or at least as close as we can get it — to get your general bearings, just remember you’re looking at the Lamar Square bus stop in both images:
The image above shows the 1311 building’s retail space and its direct connection with the South Lamar Boulevard streetscape, along with a minor view of the five-story residential building going up directly to the south at the tract next door. Still, all of these illustrations are focused on the office structure only — we’ll probably see additional views of the residential component later.
The design of the office building at 1311 South Lamar builds upon a strategy that divides the building into two distinct urban forms. The lower floors react to maintaining and reinventing the streetscape, while the upper two floors take advantage of the east – west views across Lamar and towards downtown.
This designation between top and bottom solidifies strategies of addressing the pedestrian scale of the street, while also complimenting the building’s position to the sky as it reflects and captures form in the context of two neighboring multifamily projects.
— RCH Studios
You’ll notice in the image above that the building’s office entrance is found off the street, giving up its prominence in favor of the retail facing South Lamar Boulevard itself. You likely won’t be surprised to learn that’s a conscious decision by the architects, but it’s one we’re obviously happy to see:
The lower two floors of the building were transformed to be an active space along the street front with accessible exterior spaces that face the activity on South Lamar. Warm wood clads the exterior and balconies overhang to frame space that provides an intimate scale and articulation.
The ground floor works double duty to provide prime street-facing retail programs and a remarkable double height articulation for the lobby entry. This strategy reinforces a connection along Lamar and brings the identity and energy of the project front and center.
— RCH Studios
If you’re slightly confused about the building’s placement on its lot relating to South Lamar Boulevard and the apartments going up next door, the project’s site plan gives you a better idea of where everything’s going — in the ground-floor layout seen below, South Lamar Boulevard is on the left side of the image, with the 1311 office and retail structure at the top and the separate apartment and retail component at the bottom, along with a driveway running between them:
It might be needless to say depending on how these renderings grab you, but to us this project’s design considerably exceeds expectations for structures of this scale on this particular corridor — RCH Studios, also behind the show-stopping landscape architecture of downtown’s upcoming Drake Bridge Commons, obviously didn’t come to play, and you’ll find plenty of other inspired work in STG Design’s local portfolio.
One of the fastest paths to our hearts is a building designed with enhancement of the street-level pedestrian environment as its first priority, and considering RCH Studios’ own description of the project, that’s arguably the case here — we’re just interested to get a closer look at the site’s residential building. With the development currently moving through permitting stages at the city, we probably won’t have to wait too long.