You’ll find towers in various stages of planning or building on corners throughout downtown Austin, but two really stand out this month as signs of upcoming change — the southeast corner of West Fifth and Colorado Streets; and the southeast corner of West Sixth and Guadalupe Streets. Let’s hike down there and see what’s cooking.
West Fifth and Colorado
Demolition kicked off last month at the southeast corner of West Fifth and Colorado Streets, clearing several buildings most recently occupied by restaurants Chinatown and Lonesome Dove, the latter relocating to a new location up the street — along with the structure at 409 Colorado Street currently being used as offices, but best known for its history as the original home of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s first single-screen theater in 1997, long before anyone could imagine this homegrown chain would become a national phenomenon. C’est la vie.
Once this corner’s cleared and prepped, we’ll likely see a quick groundbreaking on the 415 Colorado tower by investors Stonelake Capital Partners, a 47-floor, 640-foot residential and office tower designed by Houston firm Ziegler Cooper Architects, along with landscape architects TBG Partners and general contractors Harvey-Cleary.
Potentially completed by 2024, the project’s set to bring 110,000 square feet of offices beneath 328 apartments to the site — and yes, as we were happy to confirm last month, the building has been redesigned to include retail space, making the future of this corner much more interesting for those of us who don’t live or work there.
West Sixth and Guadalupe
Just a few blocks away at West Sixth and Guadalupe, we arrive at our much less photogenic corner transformation — visible demolition hasn’t commenced just yet, but fences are up on behalf of development team Ryan Companies and Tishman Speyer for the clearing of this corner drive-thru bank, along with the 1927 structure most recently home to Maiko Sushi Lounge. Good news for all the Maikoheads out there who were pretty gutted this place closed — it’s already got a new location open at the old Max’s Wine Dive space at 207 San Jacinto Boulevard. Local news doesn’t seem to have noticed this yet, but it’s there!
So what’s going up here? Once the corner’s cleared out, we expect to see forward motion on Ryan/Tishman’s 321 West tower plan, most recently described as a mixed-use project containing 140,000 square feet of office space beneath 370 apartments — making the two plans we’re discussing in this article surprisingly similar! The 321 West project looks a bit different than the 415 Colorado tower, however, with a design from architects Page we’ve described before as “pleasingly narrow.” The height on this one has jumped around a bit, but based on the latest reports we’re expecting a tower between 55 and 58 floors rising 675 feet or more.
That’s not the only thing still up in the air about this project, with the tower originally announced as a Ryan Companies project on behalf of bank chain BBVA, meaning most of the renderings we’ve seen have the bank’s logo at the top. Thing is, that bank doesn’t really exist anymore, having been bought out in 2021 by larger bank holding company PNC Financial Services. The Ryan/Tishman developer partnership now owns the property, so it’s unclear whether the ground-level retail space of the building will still contain a bank like we saw in earlier plans — we kinda hope it doesn’t, since a bank is less fun than almost any other commercial use. Heck, we’d prefer a dentist.