At 848 feet, the 66-story residential and office tower planned at the northwest corner of Sixth and Guadalupe Streets in downtown Austin will be the city’s new tallest, at least for a couple of years — someone could announce a taller building tomorrow, but this project, known as 600 Guadalupe, has a solid head start.
After its announcement roughly a year ago from developers Lincoln Property Company and Kairoi Residential, the building’s been making the rounds on local media this month, and we’ve seen a satisfyingly thorough amount of renderings from designer Gensler Austin for the mixed-use office and residential tower — but more often than not, they’re from the perspective of the image above, pulled back so far to capture the entire structure you can barely catch what’s happening on the ground.
Since we’re all about good street-level urban design, we thought it might be nice to take a look at 600 Guadalupe from a closer perspective, and see how it will hopefully transform its sleepy block of downtown into a place people actually want to be.
Thanks to new renderings included in the project’s application to the Downtown Density Bonus Program, we’ve got a better view of the building’s latest design, which has seen some slight design changes over the last year. To build the 575,000 square feet of office space and 349 residential units listed in these documents, the developers must meet the density bonus program’s requirements to increase the tower’s permitted FAR from 8:1 to 25:1 — and that includes Great Streets-compliant sidewalks, along with meeting the two-star minimum rating of Austin Energy’s Green Building program.
But there’s another consideration at work here. Though the nondescript low-rise hotel currently occupying the area might not catch your eye, the Sixth and Guadalupe Street block is directly adjacent to the Bremond Block Historic District, a collection of 11 historic homes mostly found within the block bound by West Seventh, West Eighth, Guadalupe, and San Antonio Streets.
But one structure in the district, the 1858 James T. Brown House, actually sits on the northeast corner of the Sixth and Guadalupe Street block — so the new building’s got to play nice, and in this case that means taking a bite out of its parking podium to make room:
The comparison above shows the house and its surroundings before and after the tower’s construction, and as you can see, the house is staying put. It turns out the original design for the setback area around the house as seen in earlier renderings wasn’t well-suited to the scale of the historic structure, so the new rendering seen here includes a redesigned setback:
Here are a few additional views of the building’s ground-floor design and streetscape from its density bonus application, which include Great Streets-compliant sidewalk improvements and two retail spaces — one of which is designated as restaurant space on the plans we’ve seen:
If you recall from earlier views of the project, its larger restaurant space has undergone some changes since we last saw it — an earlier rendering shows a two-story version of East Austin eatery Launderette occupying the space, with significantly different design both for the retail area and the screening of the parking podium above. That patio in the old rendering looks pretty nice:
Last week’s design commission meeting that would have discussed the tower’s density bonus application was canceled, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what happens — but regardless, its developers say a groundbreaking could take place before the end of the year.