New Rainey Street Apartment Tower Proposed: The Austin Skyhouse

New Rainey Street Apartment Tower Proposed: The Austin Skyhouse

According to an administrative site plan application filed with the city, the Austin Skyhouse is a proposed downtown Austin mixed-use apartment tower at 47 Rainey Street.  If built, the tower could deliver 15,000ft of retail and 320 apartments to downtown Austin’s red hot rental market.

The ~1.4 acre site, shown below, is directly north of the Legacy apartments (187 units), and across the street from the Milago Condos (240 units).  The CBD zoned property has long been expected to be developed into a tower, so this shouldn’t be received with much surprise.

According to the application: “The applicant is proposing to construct Apt. Tower/Retail and Garage/Retail with associated improvements.”  The applicant is familiar to downtown Austin development – Novare/Andrews Urban – the same team who developed the successful 360 Condos.

Since Milago has the dominant lake and city view for the first twelve floors, we’ll hopefully see a tall tower over podium design where most of the units’ views would clear Milago’s roof.  Given the parking challenges in the Rainey Street district, perhaps we’ll see extra parking included in the design which could be available to visitors to the neighborhood.

This is the latest of several proposed downtown Austin high rise projects catering to renters.  Riverside Resources is under construction of their 20 story building at 3rd Street & San Jacinto.  7 Rio looks like it is being repurposed as a rental product and could break ground this year.

(UPDATE 1: Novare is building the Skyhouse concept in Atlanta on what looks to be a similarly configured site.  UPDATE 2: we’ve confirmed the tower will be 23 stories and could break ground as early as May.)

downtown Austin Skyhouse site



About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. We need projects like this not some low-housing projects in downtown Austin.

  2. While renters and home owners in the Rainey Street area might complain, this new development can be a large contributor to the district. In the grand scheme of things, this development contributes to the area in several ways:

    1) Tax revenues generated from the commericialization of this land will contribute significant amounts of funding to several downtown neighborhood projects like the Waller Creek Tunnel project and other projects that will enhance the surrounding area.
    2) The design is likely to feature a large parking garage that can provide some needed relief to the parking situation on Rainey St. that is poised to get worse with the EIGHT newly proposed bars/restaurants that will move into refurbished homes and vacant sites in the district that are going to be developed regardless of whether neighborhood owners like it or not.
    3) Further development of the district will raise the values of the homes/condos should the owners decide to sell their property in the future, especially with the continuing development of East Riverside and the Holly street area just across the highway from the Rainey Street district.

    It is amazing to me that residents in Austin that bought land inside downtown gripe about the development that inevitably expands around them. Don’t they expect that sooner than later??
    You have to understand that as a downtown resident, the conveniences, amenities, walkabilty, vibrance, energy, entertainment, and opportunities that downtown living provides comes at a cost, and other people want to enjoy it as well. 20 years from now there will not be a building downtown that does not have somewhat of an impeded view from other structures. Embrace it and be glad that you can even enjoy a quality of life that is hardly available anywhere else than downtown Austin! 🙂

  3. I kind of feel for the Milago owners that may have impacted views, but I also don’t think anyone who lives in Milago, Legacy or the Shore has much right to complain, all three developments were built on the change to CBD zoning, with the added benefit of not having height restrictions / view corridors. Anybody expecting neighboring properties to magically remain undeveloped ignored the reality of the situation, IMO.

    What I want, more than anything, is to get to the final build out of Rainey Street, with sidewalks and the like, and not the hodgepodge that exists today. I think it’s in the City’s best interest to make that happen as quickly as possible more than anything else. finding some way to get bus access to such a dense corridor might help, or maybe someone will have a great idea to better connect across Cesar Chavez to the rest of downtown, the neighborhood entrance as it stands isn’t friendly to bikes, pedestrians or cars.

    • I agree with most of what Steve R says (above). Personally, I would much rather have a ‘solid’ development like an apartment tower across the street from Milago than a bunch of stacked shipping containers, food trucks, party tents, dirt/mud, and extension cords running to portable ATM machines (whether temporary or not). I own an eastview condo with all the glorious I-35 sights (at the moment, it makes the am radio traffic reports less necessary) and also a live feed of the occasional dust up at the mental health center. Not sure how an apartment tower is going to make things worse. It’s an urban environment!

  4. My understanding is the bulk of residential portion will be shifted to the northern end of the site, where many of units will not have to compete with Milago for views of the lake and city.

    **if you’re in favor of, or opposed to this project, all comments are appreciated. Keep the conversation productive. Anonymous comment trolls are likely to be deleted.

    • Richard Cranial says

      Well – based on comments that the design is similar to the ATL condos, it looks as if the entire spot will be taken – 32 floors high – which is more than double the height of the Milago and will mirror the Legacy. I would put that in comparison to the Sabine east side condo owners whose views are completely blocked by the Hilton Garden Inn.

      If the structure is more condensed and shifted to the north as you mentioned (similar to Legacy’s design) then it would be “better”, however, Rainey residents in that area will still be negatively impacted.

      Regardless, there are many people who are extremely displeased and unhappy with this project – and not mainly due to competing views, but the primary concerns are that this area is extremely condensed and compacted as-is. Adding 320 units will bring in 3x more people in a such a concentrated location that’s already challenged for parking and traffic since it’s constricted by Lady Bird Lake – – that is quite cluttered to say the least.

      Based on experience, drawings and layouts and pictures do not provide a true and accurate depiction as to daily living that includes people and traffic flows. You have to live there or spend dedicated time in that area to gain a true understanding as to the current state and constraints, which many people believe are valid concerns. Heightened congestion and clutter, and increased noise levels can very quickly turn an appealing area into an undesirable location and experience.

      Regardless of the wide spread unpopularity and the valid concerns by residents on Rainey St, there seems to be nothing that can be done about this. Unfortunately it is what it is, and IMO I don’t believe that is fair.

      • No offense but I know many people who live in the Rainey Street area who are all for this project, they know it will help the neighborhood with new Retail and more foot traffic. The street grid will be taken care of soon enough now that there are more people in the area.

  5. Richard Cranial says

    This really sucks ass for Milago owners. I mean really, such a nice piece of property and they have to build another high rise? How many more do we need to squeeze in? Ridiculous.

    • A better question is how many more subdivisions do we have to build in the Texas Hill country that promote sprawl, use lots of water, energy and raw materials, and blight the landscape?

      • Shore Resident says

        Good point. Its terrible seeing what is happening on the north side of San Antonio where the hill country begins. Stripping the hills of all greenery and trees to develop cruddy, cheap homes is quite disgusting and sad to look at. Having just recently purchasing a condo at the Shore I am quite excited to see proposed development as this. The idea of 10 new bars (such as the Container bar) and the addition of the proposed Van Zandt hotel and Waller Creek Convention hotel will make this place a real hot spot. Cant wait to see what happens!

    • They are going to squeeze in as many highrises as they can. Do you not realize that is part of the CBD? People who move into Downtown should know what they are getting into. That is life of living in a city core, if people don’t like it, they can move to the suburbs and live in low level sprawl where they have to use a car to get anywhere.

  6. rainey resident says

    Yeah, 300+ new residents and 15K of retail will help the already treacherous parking situation. Must Austin RUIN everything that is of value in this town?

  7. love to see the design!

  8. No surprise at all, yet extremely exciting non-the-less!

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