Demolition is scheduled to begin this week at the southeast corner of West Fifth and Colorado Streets in downtown Austin, clearing several buildings for the construction of a 47-floor residential and office tower developed by Texas private equity firm Stonelake Capital Partners. The project, at the moment known simply by its address at 415 Colorado, will contain approximately 328 apartment units located above 110,000 square feet of office space in a 640-foot tower designed by the Houston-based firm Ziegler Cooper Architects — best known around here for the look of the nearby Austonian condo tower, which features a similar crown.
The project received a recommendation of its density bonus for a floor area ratio of 25:1 by the city’s Design Commission late last year, but there were some conditions to that ruling, as the commission wasn’t wild about the building’s lack of pedestrian engagement on the ground floor and requested adjustments to the tower’s design.
Stonelake’s original proposal contained an outdoor food vendor area at the far northeast corner of the tower near an alley facing West Fifth Street, but no dedicated commercial space. The Design Commission’s conditional recommendation asked for better sidewalk access to that vendor area, more outdoor seating, and a coffee kiosk business in the lobby to enhance pedestrian activity — instead, Stonelake went back to the drawing board and exceeded those recommendations with a full ground-level retail space now planned for the building at its main corner of West Fifth and Colorado Streets, expected to contain a coffee shop or cafe-style business with covered outdoor seating, as seen in these revised renderings from the developer:
It’s a modification that shrinks both the building’s residential and office lobby spaces by approximately 20 percent, obviously a welcome change since it makes the building more useful for those who won’t live or work there and provides a replacement for the retail space being demolished for the tower’s construction — for what it’s worth, displaced restaurant Lonesome Dove is moving just one block north to the shuttered Italic space at 123 West Sixth Street, Chinatown still has three locations outside of downtown, and Frank, well…had trouble paying taxes with hot dogs.
Committed Towersheads will recall our fondness for a previous iteration of the tower planned at this site — and though we mourned the loss of Tower 5C dramatically, we’ve come around to the merits of the 415 Colorado project. We’re always going to prefer buildings with a residential component, and the new tower’s look, while not as outrageously bold as the 5C design, is tastefully complimentary of the nearby Austonian’s crown and actually looks a little like the unused STG Design proposal for the Republic tower site. But there’s one big reason everyone needs to get on board — the building’s garage podium will contain 495 parking spaces. That’s about half the expected parking of the Tower 5C design, and though we’ve still got some ideas on how to get that garage buried, it’s a major step in the right direction for downtown.