The Taco Cabana redevelopment, known as 211 Lamar, is upping its ante: betting on a nine story, 175-unit building, instead of a 135-unit, five story building as last envisioned by the developer.
This is the third public proposal for the site by the developer, which is a partnership between Post Investment Group of Los Angeles and Ascension Development of Dallas (pdf).
The new plan incorporates about 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, designed to take advantage of the curbside views of the lake, the Austin Business Journal reported earlier this month, including information that some space would be dedicated to the upcoming bicycle-sharing program, and three levels of hidden underground parking.
The Business Journal, which reported on the new plan Feb. 1, states that the developer wants to make it a condo project, instead of apartments. A Feb. 22 story in the Statesman refers to them only as apartments.
The plans for this site have changed quite a bit in the past 24 months, and now look to be a fallback from an initial plan that lacked financing. Initially, the developer planned a $40 million six-story hotel, with 12 condominiums on the hotel’s top floors, with units priced in the $600,000 to $700,000 range, but said if it couldn’t secure financing, it would go for apartments.
It is easier for builders to secure lending for rental units, versus condominium or hotel projects. However, many of the apartment complexes being built in and around the core of Austin are designed in such a way that at a later date, they can be converted into for-sale units.
Will Cureton, who was with CLB Partners when it was (formerly) developing the 7Rio project downtown and knows the Austin market, is the founder of Ascension, which makes up half of this developer team, so it’s safe to say there’s been a lot of thought put into this current, third, design/use.
We think the project would succeed as condos, a hotel, or apartments, all of which are experiencing unprecedented demand in Austin and will continue to.
This new plan is contingent on an up-zoning that will provide greater height scheduled for the Planning Commission March 12 and the City Council on March 28.
With some tongue-in-cheek fun, it’s worth pointing out that both recent newspaper stories are insinuating that the developer is holding a number of trees hostage in order to get the up-zoning approved.
The Statesman says that in “exchange” for zoning, the developer will be “saving some mature trees on site.” Meanwhile, the ABJ says: “The revised design also would preserve several stately trees along Riverside Drive, which would be removed if the rezoning is rejected.”
(We’re not even going to ask if those are Heritage Trees.)