A 64-story mixed-use tower project designed by world-famous architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill will bring condos, apartments, and a 250-room hotel to the shores of Lady Bird Lake by the end of 2025, according to a new press release from M2 Development Partners, an entity associated with Washington, D.C.-based developer Timothy Morris. According to its developers, the 802-foot tower will rise at the 1.2-acre site at 80 Red River Street — the same address as the Travis tower project by Genesis Real Estate Group, a development described in previous reporting as a two-phase plan that would eventually raise two towers at this location on the far eastern edge of the Rainey Street District near Waller Creek.
Judging by the renderings included in the release, the first tower at the site is still expected, and this announcement from M2 simply shows us more details of the second tower — though the announcement of this project by a different entity raises the question of how Genesis will be involved, if at all, in the second phase of development at the site. For what it’s worth, the announcement by M2 doesn’t contain the word “Travis,” and simply mentions that the project site is currently entitled with “an existing site development plan.” Genesis is still listed as the owner of the 80 Red River Street property according to county records.
The developer’s description for the project lists a total square footage of more than 1,100,000 square feet, and includes a combination of 250 hotel rooms, 150 condo units, 170 multifamily rental units, a 6,000-square-foot spa, 30,000 square feet of meeting and banquet area, 10,000 square feet of retail space, a “signature rooftop restaurant,” and a 550-space parking structure — the orientation of all these features within the tower are shown in the rendering above.
Since the two illustrations provided for the project still conspicuously include the adjacent Travis Phase I tower — which, if current info remains correct, will include about 400 apartment units in a building previously described as containing 50 floors — we’re thinking its developers are still expecting both phases to go up at this site, even with the development uncertainties of the pandemic. According to the release, “M2 is currently in discussions with several potential LP & GP Equity Partners who collectively view the development opportunity as a compelling investment even in the current Covid environment.” Fair enough.
Design of the Project is expected to be completed by April 1, 2022. The Project will have a LEED Gold and WELL Certification. With LEED Gold, the Project will emphasize the preservation of planetary resources, focusing on the connections to the urban location, energy efficiency systems design, reduced water consumption and waste, and lower overall operating costs. With the WELL Certification, the Project will reinforce the Luxury Hospitality Brand standards of providing world-class services and amenities, all while providing an environment that enhances the health, well-being and productivity of residents, guests and employees.
— M2 Development Partners Press Release
One of the largest architecture firms in the world, the Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is behind countless iconic global buildings, the most notable of which include the world’s current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, not to mention a little tower called One World Trade Center. This isn’t SOM’s first rodeo in the area, with the firm’s most recent local work outlining plans for the redevelopment of the 19-acre former headquarters of the Austin American-Statesman — almost directly across the water from this site at 305 South Congress Avenue. It’s just another example of the increasing appearance of designs by Chicago-based architects in Austin’s new skyline.
Though its slight similarity to the other building might confuse you, the two Travis towers are a totally different project from the Waller Creek “Supertall” proposed only a stone’s throw away, almost literally next door to this site. We can’t stick the images together, but you can see a bit of the 80 Red River site in the rendering of the other tower, which we’ve helpfully pointed out for you: