At ~1,400,000 square feet Waller Park Place, a three tower mixed-use plan is the largest private development ever proposed in downtown Austin (correct me in the comments if I’m wrong). It’s the vision of the Sutton Company, who formally filed their site plan approval application with the City of Austin last week.
Back in September, Downtown Austin Blog first revealed the concept for the 3 acre tract stretching from Cesar Chavez to Davis Street, hugging Waller Creek. Then it was being called Waller Center and seemed really to be just a conceptual vision.
Below is what we know (note these numbers have gone up since Waller Center was announced in September and could still change)
- Tower A – Office, 25+ stories, on the corner of Red River and Cesar Chavez
- Tower B – Apartments, 50+ stories, internal on the site
- Tower C – Hotel/Condo, 40+ stories, at Red River & Davis
- Target FAR is 10:1
- The architect is the IBI Group
- No phasing is contemplated – all three towers built simultaneously
- The site is part of the Waller Creek TIF district
With Block 1 (tbd) anticipated, and Trinity Tower (tbd) being conceptualized, Waller Park Place would be the last opportunity in downtown Austin for waterfront development with protected lake views.
Above and below are a couple of crude massing-drawings I made for each tower to help view the relative dimensions and heights of the three towers, and to help us see how these buildings will fit into the skyline.
Jude-any new news on this post?
People will come to Austin regardless of if we build a dense downtown. You have to ask yourself if you would rather have sprawl and more traffic on 183/mopac/i35, or have it localized to a few streets that you choose to live on.
I am all for this project and doubt anyone will miss the currently unsused land.
I don’t think anyone’s arguing that the land shouldn’t be repurposed. It’s more a question of the *scale* of the repurposing. A total of 1,400,000 square feet coming online at roughly the same time is a HUGE number. A project that big in downtown proper, where the streets are 3-4 lanes wide and generally allow for entry points on all four sides (assuming a project takes up an entire block), is one thing; that’s a fair description of the Seaholm development, in fact. A project in a neighborhood of two-lane, two-way roads (one lane in each direction), with streets that can’t realistically be converted in any substantive way, just seems like a recipe for disaster, regardless of the benefits of density vs. sprawl (on which we agree).
Agree that an already difficult traffic & parking situation is going to become much, much worse in this intersection. Sure, the City wants everybody to use alternate transpo such as bikes and CapMetro, but until CapMetro extends their weekend, holiday and special event hours, that’s a pipe dream. The fact that they have yet to do that boggles my mind.
Not to mention the quaint nature of Austin, as Wally says. City ‘leaders’ don’t seem to care much about that, which is pretty short-sighted.
Change is inevitable, but with some degree of thoughtfulness it can and should be a complement and not a detriment to the city.
This development along with the Fairmont are replacing parking lots and vacate dilapidated buildings. Who would miss that? My concerns are traffic related but with this location a lot of the residents and hotel guests will be walking everywhere. It will turn an eyesore of an area to one with retail and pedestrians. Works for me.
Lance Hunter says
This development will cause the loss of Chain Drive, the oldest LGBT bar in Austin, and the only real leather bar in town. It’ll be sad to lose the place, though with the way Rainey Street has changed over the years (and the way those who promote Rainey Street go out of their way to pretend Chain Drive doesn’t exist) it was inevitable.
I disagree with Wally to some extent (and I’ve lived in Austin since 1985), and generally speaking I’m in favor of downtown development. This particular proposal, however, is just WAY too over the top. I know that Cesar Chavez/Red River parcel pretty well, and I’m finding it hard to picture even *one* tower there (or, at least, the tallest of the three), let alone THREE towers with a combined 115 floors (!!) on a mere three acres, and ones on the fringe of downtown at that. Worse still, the similarly huge Fairmont Hotel will be built catty-corner to it. Has anyone even done a traffic study on this thing?? Red River is a two-lane street, and it’s the ONLY entrance into the entire Rainey St. area (unless you’re a particularly savvy local and know the “back way” via the I-35 service road, though going that way requires navigating the already packed Rainey St. proper area). I’m trying to picture the traffic from this project’s office building at rush hour, and picturing it somehow taking HOURS to turn left on northbound Red River onto westbound Cesar Chavez. There’s also the fact that the area is on the fringe of downtown to begin with, and it’s a fairly lengthy walk from there past our massive convention center to the main part of downtown.
Finally do these buildings have a reasonable amount of parking?? Anyone who’s spent any time around Rainey St. knows how limited street parking (or private lot parking) is in the area.
I’m over all this massive development in Austin. Being a local that’s been here for YEARS this place will never be the same, and the city officials that accept these plans are not folks that have appreciated the “quaintness” of Austin and the real charm that originally attracted all these people to this land. It’s really too bad to see this area be completely defaced in the blink of an eye.