The 1980s-era John H. Winters state office complex housing the Texas Health and Human Services Commission at the southeast corner of North Lamar Boulevard and West 51st Street in the Central Austin district popularly known as the Triangle received a pretty nice upgrade from the Texas Facilities Commission in 2021, with a new 406,000-square-foot office building by architects Jacobs and STG Design creating, if only for a moment, a genuine feeling of urbanity in this area in tandem with the Residences at the Triangle apartments across the street:
Of course, the development also included a 1,850-space parking garage around back — as an institution, Texas really loves its parking — but it was still interesting to see the state adding something almost like density on its roughly 29-acre parcel of land in this district. Fast forward a few years and the Facilities Commission is back with a second phase of the project, set to bring a new 302,000-square-foot office building and requisite parking to the currently unoccupied western edge of the site facing the triangular confluence of Guadalupe Street and North Lamar Boulevard.
The seven-story office structure designed by international firm Perkins & Will is currently scheduled for groundbreaking this summer, with completion expected by spring 2026. This second phase of the project will also adapt part of the massive surface parking lot occupying the north end of the complex — that’s the good news, but the less-good news is that adaptation comes in the form of a parking garage adding an additional 2,000 spaces to the site.
The state also plans a Phase 3 here at some point, which will add a third new office building to the current parking lot area — along with one more parking garage, meaning once the property’s fully built out to these specifications it’ll likely have more than 5,000 parking spaces. Yowza!
As seen in the layout of the three phases planned for the tract above, there’s an interesting wrinkle at play here despite all the parking — you’ll note a 23-foot right-of-way setback at the edge of the property in order to accommodate the future Triangle light rail station of Project Connect’s Orange Line, which might be the first time we’ve seen a state project meaningfully acknowledge that there’s presumably going to be trains around here at some point. Conceptual renderings of the Triangle Station actually show its location directly in front of the new building, as seen below:
With this future infrastructure in mind, it’s possible some of those thousands of parking spaces planned at the state site could someday serve as a park-and-ride for downtown travelers, assuming the presence of transit options eventually convinces the state that maybe it doesn’t need all those garages for its own people. You’ll recall we mentioned the original Winters building at the site dates back to the 1980s, and back then its addition of roughly 1,500 commuters to the area was met with alarm by some irascible residents of nearby neighborhoods, who perceived a negative impact from the new building seemingly based purely on vibes alone. There’s some kind of lesson here, and if you figure out what it is, please let us know.