The temperature outside is currently cold and dropping, but there’s a new day on the horizon — according to recent city permits and other development activity, we’ll see multiple downtown Austin condo, apartment, and office towers sprout in the coming months like the first flowers of spring. It’s clear that 2022 represents a big year for vertical downtown growth, even though at our current pace we’ve been able to say that nearly every year. Still, this time is a little different, with the potential tallest tower in the state now preparing to emerge from the shadows. Here’s the case for what we’re watching right now:
It’s sort of cheating to include the 415 Colorado tower, since the demolition we mentioned last week has already kicked off big time — as you can see below, the corner of West Fifth and Colorado Streets has cleared out pretty quick:
Thanks, Urbannizer! 415 Colorado Demo moving quickly. Demo for the 321 West tower should start this weekend or next week. pic.twitter.com/1vNWYsT7VN
— The ATX (@TheATX1) January 19, 2022
The project, which we were delighted to report now has a full ground-level retail space to soften the blow of the restaurants we’re losing at this corner thanks to a late-game design tweak by Stonelake Capital Partners and Houston-based firm Ziegler Cooper Architects, will bring 47 floors containing 328 apartments and 110,000 square feet of office space to market. Current construction permits for the address indicate the tower will be underway until at least late 2024.
98 Red River
The real dark horse of Austin’s growth is this record-setting supertall tower design on Waller Creek from developers Lincoln Property Company and Kairoi Residential at 98 Red River Street. We’ve heard comparatively little official confirmation of the project from the powers that be, but what appears to be site prep is now underway at its fenced-off property — and more importantly, a right-of-way closure permit making room for construction filed with the city earlier this week indicates a possible start date as early as April 4 this year. You’ll notice traffic barriers already up around the site, making the de facto gateway to Rainey Street at East Cesar Chavez and Red River Streets even less hospitable to pedestrians than it already was:
Is this going to be the entrance to Rainey street for the next four or five years, with "sidewalks" only on one side? Or will they eventually use some of this space to let people walk on both sides? #ATXRising #KeshetGram pic.twitter.com/S6qwNtO8JC
— Stephen Ratke (@steveratke) January 10, 2022
Remember, these dates can always shift, since building what would be the tallest tower in Texas comes with a lot of moving parts, but it’s the firmest date we’ve seen yet for this genuinely game-changing development. Like we said, we’re thirsty.
Though seemingly almost forgotten in the ongoing churn of tower plans downtown, the tower planned by developers Ryan Companies and New York-based firm Tishman Speyer at 321 West Sixth Street could begin its demolition of the corner drive-thru bank and former Maiko Sushi Lounge space next door at 311 West Sixth Street before the end of the month, with a crane currently scheduled to go up at the site sometime in April. The project contains an estimated 140,000 square feet of office space along with 370 apartment units and ground-level retail, all wrapped up in a nice narrow package — although “BBVA” probably isn’t the name on the top anymore.
The Modern Austin
Announced by local real estate firm Urbanspace back in 2019, the Modern Austin Residences will bring a reported 56 floors of condos containing 346 units along with substantial ground-level retail to the northwest corner of Rainey and Davis Streets where you’ll currently find Container Bar and Bungalow — and based on recent permits, construction could start here as early as May later this year, with the tower’s financing already secured. According to Urbanspace CEO Kevin Burns, the last day of business for both bars is March 25, allowing each to celebrate one last SXSW. Sales for the Modern start in March, per the project’s Facebook page:
Ah, ze Republic. She is beautiful, no? It’s been a long wait for this tower, set to bring 46 floors of office and retail space to an unsightly surface parking lot just south of Republic Square in downtown at 401 West Fourth Street. We’ve been particularly impatient to see this one rise since its first appearance all the way back in 2018, since it comes in a stunning package by Duda Paine — the same firm behind the Frost Bank Tower and recent 405 Colorado tower.
But its developers at Lincoln Property Company — spread thin between the Sixth and Guadalupe tower and possible upcoming supertall — have finally given us some hope in the last few months, with new city permits for the project showing up late last year and a new application for raising a whopping three tower cranes at the site filed earlier this month. That’s not quite a smoking gun, without even a start date to tempt us, but it’s more forward motion on this inspiring project than we’ve seen in some time. The extremely optimistic take is that construction here could show signs of life by spring, but otherwise, we’re just glad this one’s not dead.