Development Team Closes On Block 1

Development Team Closes On Block 1

According to a City of Austin release, representatives with the City’s Economic Development and the project development team closed on the GWTP property (aka “Block 1) on January 31st.  The development team is Trammell Crow, the Hanover Company, and Pacific Life Insurance.

Block 1 is a pivotal downtown waterfront development.  It will improve connectivity with Second Street through to Nueces Street, the new Central Library, and the Seaholm District.

Orientation of Block 1

Orientation of Block 1

Summary of what we know about Block 1:

  • Located at Cesar Chavez and San Antonio Street.
  • Total project size is approximately 1.7 million square feet of mixed use development.
  • Block 1 totals 1.776 acres of land
  • 38 floor three-tiered mixed-use tower
  • expect 440 apartments, including 50 affordable units
  • 40,000 square feet of office and retail space.

The residential component is still being referred to as apartments for rent, and given Hanover’s participation we’ll take that at face value.  (Hanover developed the Ashton).  We should see site work commence in February with public streets and utility work, including the extension of Second Street.

Back in August we caught a glimpse of what Block 1 tower could look like.  According to today’s release, the development team continues to signal it will be a 38 story building with a three-tier design, which is consistent with the rendering and elevations we’ve seen.

If you look at the downtown skyline from the south (78704), you’ll notice there’s a giant gap in the skyline between the AMLI on 2nd to the east and 360 Condos to the west.  This project should fill that gap nicely.

More importantly, the walkable connectivity this project brings cannot be understated.  It’s literally creating more “grid” and that’s perhaps the greatest upside this project can deliver to city-dwellers. 


South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

Rendering by SCB from August 2013.  SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw

Rendering by SCB from August 2013. SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw

Trinity Tower: Planning a 39 Story, 350 Unit Highrise

Trinity Tower: Planning a 39 Story, 350 Unit Highrise

Last year we discovered planning efforts for an apartment tower with the working name of “Trinity Place.”   The forlorn metal building on the corner of Trinity and Cesar Chavez was acquired by World Class Capital Group.

Since then, there hasn’t been a peep out of the site leaving many of us wondering what would happen there.  We’ve now discovered some proof-of-life based on public records filed by the engineering team.


corner of Trinity @ Cesar Chavez

The name “Trinity Place” has been scrapped, it is now dubbed “99 Trinity Tower” and is being proposed as a mixed-use residential skyscraper seven stories taller than the neighboring Four Season Residences.

The applicant is proposing a 39-story tower with ~14,000 square feet of restaurant on the ground level.  Those are unchanged specs from last year.  Above that, the first 8 floors will be dedicated for parking, with the remaining floors being dedicated to about 350 residential units.

Even with the Lakeside Apartments to the south, the structured parking garage will allow clear lake views for most of the residential units above.

The project is proposing Great Streets standards along Trinity St., and to build a hike and bike trail to connect to the existing Lady Bird Lake Trail.

While we know what is being proposed, it still remains to be seen if it will come to fruition in the end.  The applicant is trying to nail down the base floor-to-area ratio (FAR) provided by the zoning, and navigate restrictions within the Waterfront Overlay “North Shore Central” district and will have to wait for the city, which could take some time if history serves as a guide.

The ball is rolling on this site.  The demolition permit was issued to scrape the dilapidated metal structure for whatever lands there.  We are excited to see more.

***Below, DAB has mocked up a building envelope showing [extremely crudely!] how a 39 story building could fit onto the site, and how it would add to downtown Austin skyline.


a crude massing by DAB of how a 39 story building would fit on the 99 Trinity site


At 39 stories, the tower would be taller than the neighboring Four Seasons Residences

A Glimpse Of What Block 1 (Green Water) Will Look Like

A Glimpse Of What Block 1 (Green Water) Will Look Like

It’s been a long time coming for the $500MM Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment, situated along Cesar Chavez, bounded to the west by Shoal Creek, and to the east by Silicon Labs.  We’ve stumbled upon good reason to be excited that development could begin soon.

Back in May, when a site plan application was submitted to the city, we shared with you that the first phase of the new Green Water development – a residential highrise known simply as Block 1 – was moving from possibility to reality.


Block 1 is the NW corner of Cesar Chavez @ San Antonio Street

But I, along with nearly everyone else, was kind of confused about what exactly was being planned and how close the Green Water vision was going to match the original vision after a tree preservation snafu at City Council.  This has been resolved and the plan is to incorporate the trees into the design.

Updated elevation drawings were submitted to the city which show a building that steps back from Cesar Chavez.

We can expect that the first phase will be a 38 40-story mixed use building with a total of 446 units. Majority one-bedroom, but included efficiencies, two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms, ranging from about 450 square feet to 2,000.   It is anticipated these will be apartments (for rent).


South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

At street level, we should see 14,000 square feet of retail, 15,000 square feet of restaurant space, and another 23,000 of office space.

The project is being developed by Trammell Crow and designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), an award winning architecture, interior design and planning firm with offices in Chicago and San Francisco, who has some very classy buildings all over the world.

If you spend some time perusing SCB’s design portfolio, I think you can start to feel some excited anticipation for this on the Austin skyline.  No doubt, numerous tourists and passers by of what has become a fenced off lawn have wondered just what is going there.

While we can now see the profile the development, we eagerly anticipate some updated renderings.

DAB EXCLUSIVE: First Look at Broadstone On The Lake (former RunTex store)

DAB EXCLUSIVE: First Look at Broadstone On The Lake (former RunTex store)

Cities evolve.  Few quite as visibly as Austin over the past couple of decades.

We’ve got the first look at what’s coming to the site of the former RunTex store at S. 1st and Riverside Drive.  Demo permits were approved last month, and fencing has been erected around the site.

In its place, a six-story cousin (some might say “clone”) of The Crescent apartments – just down the street – is planned, called “Broadstone on the Lake.” It will feature 119 affordable units and 207 market rate ones, for a grand total of 326 apartments, according to city records.

The building is being designed by Kelly Grossman Architects, who designed the Hill Country Galleria, The Crescent and 404 Rio Grande.

Broadstone on the Lake rendering3

Broadstone on the Lake, Elevation Drawings

I’m not going to lie. While I’m thrilled about packing in some more density into the core, I’m pretty “meh” about the whole faux-urban motif of the design.  Some might say that level of design is better suited for a series of outlet malls in San Marcos.  But, let’s remember that the Broadstone apartment housing brand, much like the Millennium apartment housing brand coming to Rainey Street, is a national chain of apartment complexes, and it is what it is.

Thankfully, The Catherine – a 19-story, $68 million, 300-unit residential tower beginning to be constructed next door – has some design panache.  Formerly nick-named “StreetLights at Barton Springs” that building is next iteration of the Aquaterra condominium project, which fell victim to the lending withdraw of the 2008 recession.

(Also, also… the Hyatt Town Lake is removing a substantial amount of surface parking, and building a seven-story parking garage and ballroom behind the Sherry Matthews building. Austin Towers profiled the development there this past February.)

A note about RunTex

Although RunTex was a tenant and was going to get booted anyway, the poetic tragedy of the demolition coinciding with the apparent troubles of the RunTex business and brand is too dramatic to not mention here.

RunTex was founded 25 years ago, and as a fellow entrepreneur who knows about blood and sweat in pursuit of a dream, I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness for all the people whose lives are intertwined with the bricks and pavement about to be wiped from the earth there.

It is important, though, to note that I used the word “evolve” in the first sentence of this post.  Change isn’t easy, but the development of the site is a natural and healthy evolution for downtown Austin.

First Phase of Green Water Construction Moving Forward?

First Phase of Green Water Construction Moving Forward?

Move over, Seaholm!  The other massive redevelopment on Cesar Chavez, the Green Water Treatment Plant Redevelopment, is rumbling to life!

Adding to the seemingly endless list of construction occurring downtown, it looks the Green Water Treatment Plant construction could be getting underway very soon.

A site plan for a high-rise apartment on “Block 1” (110 San Antonio) – possibly climbing 38 stories – has been turned into City Hall for the lot just west of the Silicon Labs building. It’s another exciting moment for downtown Austin, and the culmination of years of “wait and see” from guys like me, who watched these project move at a glacial pace after the economy tanked in 2009.



It was way back in 2008 that Trammel Crow won the bidding process to redevelop the site, and another five years before it hammered out a deal with the city.

On May 25, 2012 the Austin City Council approved an agreement with a development team led by the Trammell Crow Company to redevelop the site with several buildings up to 30 stories tall.  The project will have 1.75 million square feet of development, including 826 apartments, 456,000 sq. ft. of office space, a 200 room hotel and 82,000 sq. ft. of retail (most along an extension of the 2nd Street  District).



The project hit another, unexpected, snag when a dust-up occurred over seven heritage trees that are on the site. There were some concerns that the city was applying double standards by not making the developer follow the Heritage Tree ordinance, which the city council enacted in 2010 after Trammel Crow had its plans, but before it inked a deal with the city.

In the end, Trammel Crow agreed to save the trees, but would have to sacrifice about 67,000 square feet of leasable area, and the city agreed to hand over $1.7 million to compensate them, according to the Austin Business Journal.  [h/t Chris Bradford, see comments]

We have yet to see clearly how a reduction of almost 70,000 square feet will impact the scope of the development.

Back in 2012, the per block details were posted on the SkyscraperPage forum:


Block 23 Office
28 floors
566,074 gross square feet
524,143 usable square feet

Block 1 Residential (SITE PLAN FILED)
38 floors
682,120 gross square feet
531,700 usable square feet

Block 185 Residential
39 floors
436,975 gross square feet
336,600 usable square feet

Block 188 Hotel
19 floors
245,643 square feet