Remember the “extraordinary” downtown Austin condo and hotel tower planned by our friendly local Canadian developers Intracorp Homes at 307 East Second Street? Thanks to the project’s appearance at next week’s meeting of the city’s Design Commission seeking its density bonus, we’ve now got our first glimpse at the 65-story, 756-foot tower imagined for this 0.53-acre site at the corner of East Second and Trinity Streets near the convention center — and isn’t it remarkable that we can so casually note the appearance of a new tower rising more than 700 feet around here? If you’re a fan of tall buildings, this city in the 2020s is a brave new world. Let’s go:
The rendering of the tower seen above comes from its architects at local firm Page along with the Houston-based Rottet Studio, and so far it’s the only full view of the project included in these documents, with the rest focused on the street-level features more critical to its approval for the Downtown Density Bonus Program — but still, what a shot, huh? The tower’s significant height makes for a great sense of proportionality to its footprint, and while it’s not reinventing the wheel in its choices of colors and materials, you might notice the jagged peaks of its crown bear a slight resemblance to elements of Page’s nearby Indeed Tower, offering some nice new texture to the skyline. It’s also somewhat similar in form to the supertall tower planned on Waller Creek, but since it’s at a right angle to the other tower’s lengthwise orientation, the two buildings should play off each other nicely.
Though these density bonus application documents aren’t packed with details, they’ve got the important numbers — the unnamed tower is set to contain 135 condo units, a 326-room hotel, and more than 17,000 square feet of retail use; together adding up to more than half a million total square feet.
While we won’t know for sure until next week’s meeting, according to backup documents for the density bonus application the Design Commission’s working group has already reviewed the project as seen here, and determined it’s in substantial compliance with the Downtown Density Bonus Program’s requirements — and although the design of the building at ground level conforms to the program’s Great Streets standards, the working group notes the presence of two curb cuts on Second Street could be problematic for pedestrians:
Positive Attributes of the Project:
- Good example of a relatively small footprint building engaging the pedestrian/public realm with a nice sensitivity
to human scale at the streetscape. And the streetscape connection to the Level 2 retail by way of the
monumental stir is quite appealing.
- The overall architecture of the building shows a sensitivity to its site and the surrounding area.
Concerns regarding the Project:
- The porte cochere appears to be quite large; approximately 31.5 ft wide. Reducing this width might have
afforded more Level 1 retail space.
- The porte cochere also requires a separate curb cut very close to the Garage entrance curb cut. This could
pose some pedestrian safety concerns which need to be addressed/discussed.
— Evan K. Taniguchi, Design Commission Working Group
Below is a ground-level plan of the building’s pedestrian improvements so you can see for yourself — the topic may come up at next week’s meeting, but it doesn’t seem like the end of the world to tweak it a bit. Otherwise, we don’t see any obstacles to this one moving forward, and that means we’ll probably get more views of downtown’s next 700-plus-footer in the near future. What a time to be alive, am I right?
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