A rezoning case filed earlier this month for an assembly of two adjacent properties near the intersection of West Avenue and West Ninth Street could bring more life to the so-called “Lawyer District” on the west end of downtown Austin, a region largely excluded from the rest of downtown’s denser zoning and defined by older single-family homes often converted to legal offices alongside other light commercial uses.
While there are a number of historic properties in the region worthy of preservation, the area’s current character does not contain the vibrant street life enjoyed by other areas of downtown due to a lack of restaurant, bar, or other retail uses — but that could change soon, with a rezoning passed earlier this year by City Council enabling a plan by local developer LV Collective for a cocktail lounge with an additional hotel or residential use in a historic former residence dating back to 1901 at the southwest corner of West 10th Street and West Avenue at 707 West 10th Street.
Now, it appears the same developer is looking to rezone another two adjacent former homes located directly south across the alley from the 707 West 10th Street site, with an application filed earlier this month for a rezoning from General Office (GO) use to the more permissive downtown mixed-use zoning category with a conditional overlay limiting development on the site to 60 feet (DMU-CO) for the residences located at 903 West Avenue and 704 West Ninth Street — both properties are owned as of this year by LLCs connected with LV Collective. As described in the permit, the developer’s goal for the two buildings is not to demolish the homes, but instead adapt them into a commercial project with hotel and restaurant uses.
Here’s a current view of the 903 West Avenue property, a home built in the 1930s:
And here’s 704 West Ninth Street, which dates back to 1910:
You’ll notice there’s another house on the corner that doesn’t appear to be involved in these plans, with the two LV properties now seeking rezoning essentially wrapping around it on the northern and eastern sides — here’s a map showing all three of the LV-owned properties in this area, all of them set for some sort of adaptive reuse:
It’s unclear precisely how this plan interacts with the cocktail lounge and residential or hotel uses the developer has planned for the 707 West 10th building next door, but we can easily hypothesize the future combined effect of these projects on what is arguably downtown’s last remaining “dead zone” — three adjacent buildings set to contain active bar and restaurant uses along with some sort of lodging component is going to bring a lot more attention to this part of the central city. Personally, we’re hoping these plans are only the first of many.
northwest downtown can be stunning – one day we will update the zoning here and fully restore the residential fabric that largely died as this area turned into the Lawyer District
down with the ghost town pic.twitter.com/NWr74FhbXX
— marshall geyer (@marshallgeyer) July 26, 2023