Ever since the Villas on Town Lake condos at 80 Red River Street finally came down earlier this year, we knew it was only a matter of time until we’d see a progress update on The Travis, an apartment tower planned atop the former condo site by Dallas developer Genesis Real Estate Group.
Genesis purchased the 2.3-acre property, located near the shore of the lake on the west end of the booming Rainey Street District, back in 2017, but plans were vague — besides the name “The Travis,” we knew the building would be 45 floors in height or more, with a possible second tower rising later on the site. Now, thanks to a rendering recently uploaded to the Genesis website, we’ve got our first view of its design:
Recent city filings for the address mention Dallas firm GDA Architects, the folks behind the Fifth & West condos on the opposite side of downtown, as involved with the project — and though we haven’t heard an official confirmation, it’s a fair bet we’re looking at their design in the above image, since Genesis has worked with them on a couple of tower developments before.
The site also includes a brief new description of the building — which, we noted, uses the word “luxury” twice:
Our upcoming luxury living multifamily development project, The Travis, will be Austin’ s tallest exclusive use apartment tower with 50 stories and 414 units. Located near Lady Bird Lake and just a block from Austin’s famous Rainey Street District, The Travis will be a state-of-the-art luxury building right in the heart of Downtown Austin.
— Genesis Real Estate Group Site
414 new apartments is certainly nothing to sneeze at, especially since the developer’s hoping to fit a second residential tower at this same address sometime in the future. It’s worth noting that only in the last year or so, we’ve seen designs for three new buildings all hovering around 50 stories in height show up in the Rainey Street District alone — 44 East Avenue, 90 Rainey Street, and now this.
They don’t all look exactly the same, mind you, but there are a few similarities:
To some extent, these designs are driven by Austin’s current development code — which is actually part of why the city’s looking to loosen up a couple of its existing restrictions on tall, skinny towers, good news for those of us who like efficient use of downtown space. This “tower and podium” residential architecture is common in rapidly-growing cities like Vancouver, so it’s funny that Joe Houssian, owner of Canadian development firm Intracorp behind the 44 East tower, told the Austin Business Journal earlier this year that our city reminds him of Vancouver 20 years ago! (He also said Austin had a much better music scene, so he’s fine.)
Other than this new image and the description from Genesis’ site, we don’t have much else to run with on this project at the moment, though coverage from last year states the developer hopes to break ground on the tower sometime in 2019. Anyway, it’s nice to get a peek at what’s next for this corner of downtown, which is now experiencing a growth spurt the likes of which the neighborhood’s never seen before — especially in terms of height. For Rainey Street, it seems, 50 floors is the new normal.