After nearly two years of leaked renderings, city permit filings, and other eyebrow-raising scraps of intel, the news is finally here in official form: the tower planned in downtown Austin at 98 Red River Street by developers Lincoln Property Company and Kairoi Residential quietly broke ground on June 13 earlier this year — and when the 74-story building reaches its maximum height of 1,022 feet by its scheduled completion sometime in late 2026, the tower will become the tallest in Texas, exceeding the reach of the current record-holder in Houston by 20 feet.
Today’s announcement by the developers also reveals the building’s name, Waterline, a reflection of the tower’s location at Waller Creek’s confluence with Lady Bird Lake. The mixed-use project will contain 352 apartments, 700,000 square feet of office space, a whopping 24,000 square feet of ground-level retail space, and a 251-room hotel set to become the first Texas location of the 1 Hotels brand by global hospitality company SH Hotels & Resorts.
The building’s 3.3-acre site, situated near the corner of East Cesar Chavez and Red River Streets on the far western edge of the Rainey Street District, positions the Waterline tower as an extremely visible gateway between the neighborhood and the rest of downtown — its proximity to the ongoing Waterloo Greenway project creating a new linear park along Waller Creek provides an opportunity for outdoor spaces that engage with the surrounding waterfront environment, including two new pedestrian bridges over the creek and three additional pedestrian and bike access points to the greenway and trail. Along with the tower’s design complimenting the nearby creek’s ongoing improvements, the developers have announced a $1 million donation to the Waterloo Greenway — which is certainly a nice little nudge towards its completion.
Lifted 30 feet above the street, the tower’s base is supported by sculptural columns that speak to sacred species of trees in Austin. Under this two-story canopy, the project pulls the native stones, lush landscaping and natural character of Waller Creek across the site to Red River Street.
Featuring separate entrances to the hotel, office and residential uses, the ground floor paseo provides an open air connection from Red River to a gateway staircase leading west to Waller Creek. This public area around the grand staircase will serve as a day and night gathering place between the creek and two levels of food, beverage and retail.
— Waterline Announcement
In addition to the name of the tower and the much-appreciated confirmation of its groundbreaking, Lincoln and Kairoi have announced that one of Canada’s largest pension investment firms, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, is the project’s primary equity partner — which might sound a little odd, but it seems that Austin’s healthy real estate development market represents an attractive investment even to the far-flung pension managers of the Canadian government.
Waterline’s design team includes global architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox — known for big-ticket projects like New York’s massive Hudson Yards redevelopment — working alongside Dallas-based architects HKS, local landscape design firms TBG Partners and Nudge Design; and interior designers Michael Hsu Office of Architecture and Studio Mai. The building’s engineering team includes firms WGI, Brockett Davis Drake, and Alvine; with DPR Construction serving as general contractor.
After enduring roughly two years of slow-burn progress towards what would truly be a game-changing tower — not simply for Austin, but the entire state — finally seeing these details laid out in the cold light of day is kind of surreal. What once was downtown Austin’s worst-kept secret now has its own website. See you in 2026!