Five long years after the first rumblings of a residential tower planned on adjacent downtown tracts currently occupied by restaurants at 506 and 508 West Avenue, the 359-unit multifamily project by local developer Manifold Real Estate appears to be moving forward. A rezoning case for the two properties, changing their designation from Downtown Mixed-Use (DMU) to the more height-permissive Central Business District (CBD) zoning is scheduled for the Planning Commission on February 14 next month, after getting its can kicked down the road a couple of times due to opposition from a number of nearby condo owners — everybody likes living in a tall building until somebody else has the audacity to build another tall building next door.
But the rezoning, which would allow the tower to rise to its planned height of approximately 47 floors on the roughly half-acre land assembly, is consistent with CBD zoning found on several nearby blocks and seems to have the support of city staff, meaning there’s little chance this case won’t be approved in favor of the tower. Speaking of which, would you like to see the tower?
The site plan for the project now includes these elevations of the structure, designed by Gensler Austin with landscape work from our friends at Nudge Design. Drawings don’t really do the heavy lifting of a rendering, meaning this tower’s still keeping some secrets, but by the looks of the illustrations — and the recent track record of our local Gensler office — it appears the tower will integrate some curves into its facade, with the corners looking suspiciously rounded-off in the “squircle” tradition. We’ll likely get a first look at the tower plan in full 3D once its developers submit an application to the Downtown Density Bonus Program, but you get the idea.
Although we don’t foresee any major obstacles to this plan moving forward, the tower’s construction would require the demolition of the two restaurants currently occupying its site — Irene’s and Taquero Mucho, respectively located at 506 and 508 West Avenue. While Taquero Mucho’s decor kinda makes us feel like we’re having a stroke, Irene’s has a good happy hour you might want to check out.
If we have one complaint about the Manifold project here, it’s that it doesn’t appear to replace these restaurants with any new retail on the ground level, which seems like kind of a missed opportunity despite the welcome addition of housing. We’re not saying there aren’t already a lot of options around the area, including the $42 chicken parmesan at the restaurant formerly known as Hut’s, but we wonder if the issue of ground-level activation won’t come up if the project heads to the Design Commission. Have you folks considered a coffee cart?
Leave a Reply