We’ve been waiting for a while to get a better view of apartment developer the Hanover Company’s tower plan at the southwestern corner of Fifth and Lavaca Streets in downtown Austin, but the wait is over, y’all. Thanks to new city filings for the building’s inclusion in the Downtown Density Bonus Program, we’ve got our hands on the first renderings and other information on Hanover Republic Square, a 44-story, 310-unit apartment tower planned atop a site spanning 301 to 305 West Fifth Street, via Hanover and national architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz.
Right away, this project looks extremely similar in design to the residential tower planned a couple of blocks away at 300 Colorado Street back in 2017, before its developers scrapped the whole thing and decided to build an office tower there instead with a totally different look. Just look at these two tower designs side-by-side:
There are only so many ways to build a residential tower on top of a parking podium, and since both buildings were following the same city development code for the area it’s not so odd that they’d look pretty similar — both plans are 44 stories tall, even! Still, the white trim on the Hanover tower looks a little better than GDA’s design, at least in our book. SCB is the same architecture firm behind Hanover’s Northshore residential project a few blocks away, a tower we also think looks pretty nice.
As part of its density bonus application, the approval of which at the Design Commission’s Feb. 25 meeting is required for the developer to build to its desired floor-area ratio of 25:1, Hanover and SCB cooked up some very helpful diagrams of the building, its interior uses, and its relationship with existing and upcoming tower projects in the surrounding area. What’s great about this is that we can just post them here instead of having to draw more green boxes to help you folks understand how this 503-foot tower will fit its 432,765 square feet of residential space into the neighborhood. They’ve done the work for us, so we don’t have to!
All in all, this is shaping up to be a nice piece of infill for a corner previously occupied by a couple of closed bars and not much else. One fun detail from the ground-level site plan below is that it confirms the Roosevelt Room cocktail lounge, directly to the west of the Hanover site, will be hanging on for the foreseeable future — along with showing off the building’s interior layout and streetscape improvements, of course:
We really thought those guys at the Roosevelt Room were toast, but it turns out they own their own property and have no intention of moving, which is great news for cocktail-lovers everywhere even though it’s going to create kind of a weird little gap between this tower and the Plaza Lofts. Here’s a section of the project’s density bonus application that lays out a few of the building’s design features in greater detail:
The project is a multifamily residential building at the intersection of West 5th St and Lavaca St, one block away from Republic Square Park. The building consists of leasable residential apartment units and ground-level restaurant space. The entrance lobby for the residential tower is located along W 5th St, and the entrance to the retail space is at the corner of W 5th and Lavaca. Both sides of West 5th St and the project frontage along Lavaca St. (including the alley intersection) will be updated in accordance to the Great Streets Standards with wider sidewalks, site trees, benches, and other streetscape to help activate the pedestrian street experience, as well as create a greenway connection to Republic Square.
The ground level retail space will encourage more pedestrian traffic at the street level, especially with planned outdoor seating at the corner of West 5th and Lavaca Streets. Above the ground level are 9 levels of parking for residents and building employees. The ramp of the garage is located mid-block and inset from the street behind a paved drop-off drive that serves the residential lobby.
Above the parking garage is a residential level with a landscaped outdoor amenity terrace, followed by 31 more levels of residential units. At the top of the building are two residential amenity levels with an outdoor pool and a landscaped terrace that allows for prime views of the Colorado River and the city. The project is planning on achieving AEGB 2-star rating at a minimum.
— Hanover Republic Square Density Bonus Application, City of Austin Design Commission
The application estimates the building could break ground in Q4 2019 — assuming the Design Commission votes to approve the tower’s density bonus compliance at its Feb. 25 meeting, of course. We’ll find out soon enough, but judging by this application, it looks like the project won’t have much trouble.