For the first time in a very long time, a developer has announced plans to construct a new 27-story downtown condo and office tower. The developer is proposing to build a tower of up to 350 feet on the vacant lot between Whole Foods and Austin City Lofts. The announcement is a clear sign that the downtown market is stabilizing and expected to improve dramatically over the next few years.
The building is being proposed by Schlosser Development, a local firm with a significant track record in the 6th and Lamar neighborhood. Schlosser developed the Whole Foods headquarters, the Home Away headquarters across the street, the Officemax building just South of Whole Foods, and the REI / BookPeople building just to the North. This appears to be the company’s first tower project.
As proposed, the new building would include:
– Street level retail and parking on the lower floors
– 16 stories of office space
– 90 condo units on the top seven floors
– A companion building on the 2.7 acre site would include three levels of commercial office space with parking and street-level retail. The smaller building allows full utilization of the site which is partially in a protected capital view corridor
Since zoning limits development on the site to 120 feet, a variance would be required to build the project as proposed. The tow buildings would comprise a whopping 600,000 square feet.
The announcement of such a large condo and office project is another sign of a downtown market resurgence. In this case, the developers may have been inspired by the recent leasing of 52,000 square feet of office space on a nearby project to HomeAway. There has been very little new office capacity added downtown over the 5 years: the last large scale office project to be constructed downtown was the Frost Bank Tower which was completed in 2004.