[UPDATE: Unfortunately, they removed the video from youtube! Fortunately, we took the screengrabs posted below while is was still public.]
The 37-story, 250-unit residential tower project known as 5RR planned for the corner of East Fifth and Red River Streets by real estate firm Stonelake Capital Partners marks the end of a long and winding road to the redevelopment of shuttered downtown Italian restaurant Carmelo’s at 504 East Fifth Street, which closed in 2017 — originally expected for a residential project by Houston firm Allen Harrison Company, the property sold off a year later to local investors World Class Holdings, now better known for their collaborations with the FBI than their development.
The 2020 foreclosure sale of the Carmelo’s site to Stonelake, a firm known for actually building things, increased the likelihood of a tower here, but even so the site remains physically challenging. The building formerly home to Carmelo’s is actually the historic 1870s-era Depot Hotel, meaning any new development at the site will need to incorporate the old structure at ground-level — and up in the air, the site is covered in part by a Capitol View Corridor, meaning all the designs we’ve seen for the property over the last five years have curved at the same angle.
Though Stonelake put out an early rendering of its version of the tower, later site plan filings showed us that design was no longer up to date, with newer plans indicating its architects at Gensler Austin had a tower with a bit more curve to its edges in the mix. Now, thanks to a YouTube video uploaded last month by 3D visualization firm Revamped FX, we have a uniquely detailed look at the staging and timeline of the 5RR tower’s construction, with our first view of the final completed product appearing at the end of the video. We’re sure some local tower projects produce videos like these for internal use only, but we’ve never seen anything quite like this floating around out in the wild for an Austin tower before:
The video shows a two-year construction timeline starting in July 2022 and ending with a completed tower in November 2024, which is likely speculative but still gives us an idea of what to expect whenever work does kick off here — really, unless you’re a big skyscraper nerd (guilty) the finished building at the end is what you’re looking for.
While the video doesn’t focus too much on what’s headed to the historic former Carmelo’s building directly adjacent to the tower, it’s still there at the end of the footage, with the tower section mostly rising from the parking lot next door. With its curves and artful dodging of the CVC, the tower seen here is classic Gensler Austin — those folks sure do like their curves lately, and we have no complaints. We admittedly have no confirmation that this will be the final design of the tower outside of its necessary angles of CVC avoidance, so we’ll look forward to seeing the real renderings of 5RR whenever they’re ready to go — but for now, this video is a pretty great taste for what’s to come.
h/t to Urbannizer for digging this up.