A five-story, 110,000-square-foot office project with approximately 8,000 square feet of ground-level restaurant and retail space by local real estate firm Aquila Commercial is set to rise any day now on an East Austin hillside located at the northwest corner of San Marcos and East Seventh Streets, representing a transformative development for the unoccupied half-acre site at 924 East Seventh Street. The building’s only name at the moment is 7th & San Marcos, according to Aquila’s latest marketing materials.
The surroundings of the property are currently relatively untouched by the substantial growth we’ve seen along nearby corridors like East Sixth Street — so it’s appropriate enough that the structure’s design by Beck Architecture, though somewhat similar to Beck and Aquila’s look for its recent office building at 2010 East Sixth Street, will become the East Seventh corridor’s most notable marker of dense development in this region only a few blocks from I-35 and downtown proper.
Its hilltop location, unique for East Austin and located directly south of the historic French Legation site, provides “highly visible” views of downtown, the rest of East Austin, and even the Capitol — years ago, this property was set to be developed as a three-story hotel project, but this office building’s increase to five floors will enable even better views. That maximum height of 60 feet is enabled by the tract’s location inside the planning area for the Plaza Saltillo Transit-Oriented Development District, which we’ve seen used to great effect in other nearby projects.
Another advantage of the structure’s five floors is its necessity for underground parking, which almost always enables superior street-level engagement and overall appearance since you’re suddenly actually designing a building instead of hiding a garage — this project features four full levels of below-grade parking, with the entrance opening to San Marcos Street. Approximately 4,500 square feet of its overall 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space will be occupied by a restaurant and patio, and according to Aquila the building will also include an “on-site art studio and gallery space,” which we’ve decided now constitutes a trend.
Alongside the structure’s design from Beck Architecture, the construction arm of the Beck Group will also serve as the project’s general contractors, a design-build method of delivery previously seen for Aquila’s East 6 project. The project’s current reported schedule anticipates completion by the first quarter of 2024.