The Riley – New Development In Downtown Austin’s Warehouse District

The Riley – New Development In Downtown Austin’s Warehouse District

Tom Calhoon, owner of the building at the southeast corner of 4th and Lavaca (Warehouse District), is redeveloping his property into an event-venue space called The Riley.

You might recognize the building, as it used to be home to 219 West, and recently the Red Room.  The latter operator was not there long and notable for accusations of LGBT discrimination.

Details are sparse, but it’s very interesting to see downtown development that’s not a high rise!

Also, this is the second major development on this intersection… caddy corner, Gables and Hotel ZaZa are expected to break ground soon on a 25 story tower.






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. avatar ModerateMan says:

    There are ~400 retail restaurant and alcohol establishments downtown that don’t have their own parking lot. I don’t know why this one would.

  2. avatar DeeJayMMC says:

    Interesting. I didn’t realize the Red Room had already closed, but good riddance. Also, I take it from the mockups that they’re going to combine the building with the rather curious edifice at its rear? (I was never clear if someone lived there or not, and if so how on earth they could sleep with music pumping from Rain and OCH till 2am each night)

    OTOH I have to ask: event venue? Seriously? I’m not an event planner, but I know a half-dozen of them — and also the owners of two event venues — and can give you a veritable laundry list of why that location is an absolutely godawful spot for one, starting with the not-so-small matter of parking. An event space of that nature will absolutely require valet parking, and with the second-floor edition the space will likely fit about 200, but where on earth are the cars going to go? I know there’s already valet available from several spots within a block’s radius, but this is all happening at a time when nearly every surface lot east of Guadalupe is about to be closed and built upon, so adding *another* valet zone could prove completely untenable. Or is there some deal we don’t know about for parking in the state-owned office building across Lavaca to the west?

    • avatar DeeJayMMC says:

      Er, second-floor *addition*…

    • Your surface parking will be replaced not only with towers but floors of parking space far exceeding the capacity of those space-wasting lots.

      • avatar DeeJayMMC says:

        True, but outside of the 2nd St. District (where public parking availability was mandated by the city), no downtown residential buildings allow parking for anyone except residents, and most of the commercial buildings don’t, either.

        • Actually, a bunch of them appear to make deals with valet parkers – which makes sense, because you can earn money from your parking structure without having to pay an attendant or take the risk of having hundreds of drivers go in/out of your facility (instead just the couple of valets).

        • avatar DeeJayMMC says:

          Actually, that’s the exception, not the rule. Parking garage space in class-A commercial buildings downtown is 100% occupied. A large majority of those spaces are reserved, meaning the occupant has the right to use them 24/7. The only major exception I’m aware of is the building on the NW corner of Fifth & Lavaca, which was mostly a parking structure to begin with.

          Apartment/condo buildings have little to no parking available for non-tenants, especially in the evening when residents are home. The AMLI on 2nd is, again, one of the few exceptions, but it was intentionally designed to provide at least some spots for 2nd St. District visitors, plus all visitors to the Violet Crown Cinema get free validated parking day or night.

          Surface lots are, of course, entirely unreserved and a free-for-all during the evening, and these days it seems like the going rate is $10 — if you’re lucky. (I’ve seen a few charging $40 during events like SXSW and ACL.)

        • Dunno. Last time I was down there I saw valets pulling into commercial buildings. Where do YOU think they’re putting the cars they park, if not in the commercial ones?

        • DeeJayMMC,

          I’m not here to criticize, but your assertions are ill-founded.

          I have personally worked on valet contracts with Casey Curran of First Impressions Valet (best outfit in town if anyone needs an operator) for some of my projects’ valet needs; and just in the immediate area of this development, they have (literally) hundreds of spaces in Frost Tower, The Austonian, and were closing on a deal with The Ashton. He also mentioned there was another big deal they’re working on, but couldn’t disclose the details.

          This is not the “exception”…it is the ‘norm.’

        • avatar DeeJayMMC says:

          I also don’t mean to criticize, but a) until recently I owned a retail business in the 2nd St. District and am intimately familiar with its various parking protocols (day and night, valet and self-park, City Hall garage vs. AMLI buildings vs. Silicon Labs buildings, etc.); b) my mother works in the One American Center office building (600 Congress), and until recently worked at 98 San Jacinto (the office building next door to the Four Seasons); and c) my best friend works at 100 Congress. I know for a fact that ALL of the contract parking spots in b & c above are gone. Laz, the parking company that manages a majority of downtown garages and surface lots, has zero contract-parking availability as well. If Frost Tower is open for valet, it’s only at night and for the part of the parking garage that isn’t reserved parking only (if it’s like other commercial garages, it’s at least half reserved).

          As for the Austonian: you’re seriously arguing that this building, which even today — several years after its launch — is 75% vacant, represents “the norm”? Even taking the most basic look at the building at night will show you how few lights are (literally) on. The owners have refused to cut their outrageously high prices, and consequently its units have seen few takers and many floors haven’t even been finished out yet. So yes, of *course* they have plenty of room for valet people to park cars. That doesn’t mean the rest of the residential buildings downtown — which, at least for rental properties, have an occupancy rate of 98%, last I checked — can say the same. (The W and Four Seasons aren’t anywhere near that full (though also nowhere near as empty as the Austonian), but both have somewhat unique parking situations since both also include hotel parking spaces.)

        • To avoid further misinformation, below are the facts.

          -Four Seasons = 100% sold
          -W Hotel = 90% sold
          -Austonian = 75% sold

          Those numbers do not count what is currently under contract.

  3. 219 West, formerly at 4th and Lavaca, is not to be confused with the 219 West at 612 W. 6th Street. It would be easier to keep track of the place if it had a name that made sense!

  4. Catercorner.

  5. avatar Michael Raiford says:

    Good additon to “warehouse” district! A bit larger….but nicely scaled!

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