Adding new street grid, a mix of uses, and an attractive new “butterfly” bridge over Shoal Creek, downtown Austin’s Green Water Treatment Plant (GWTP) redevelopment is one of the most significant projects underway.
There are several pieces to the GWTP puzzle, and even us inveterate downtowners will benefit from a refresher. The site is visibly made more complex with concurrent redevelopment of Seaholm and the new Austin Central Library to the west, and Third+Shoal to the north.
The Green Water Treatment Plant four-block redevelopment, for many years, was a concept of “what could one day be” and for years was not.
Built in 1925 and decommissioned in 2008, the Green Water Treatment Plant was Austin’s first water treatment facility. In 2008 the City of Austin sought developers for public-private partnership to redevelop the site, as part of broader 2nd Street District, and selected Trammel Crow because they proposed the most dense and ambitious plan for the site.
Some environmental issues stalled the redevelopment for a while, but now remarkably there are three distinct projects underway, plus one more wildcard to-be-determined.
Northshore (Block 1)
Construction on the first phase of redevelopment is the Northshore, a three-tiered mixed-use tower that bills itself as “the ultimate luxury living experience” with approximately 440 luxury apartments, along with 50 affordable units and more than 40,000 square feet of office and retail space. Construction is wrapping up, and the project is expected to open soon.
500 W. 2nd Street (Block 23)
One block up from Northshore is the the 500 W. 2nd Street office tower. Construction started December of 2014 on this 29-story, 500,000 square foot office tower that will have two ground-level restaurants. The lobby of 500 W. 2nd Street promises to be a striking experience from both the inside and out, by way of 26-foot tall frameless glass wall. Google made headlines by becoming the first tenant to sign on at the project and will occupy almost half the building by its completion in 2017.
Austin Proper Hotel & Residences (Block 188)
This 32-story Austin Proper hotel and condo tower (now taking reservations) is the most recent to make the news, having just been announced this summer. The project will include 243 hotel rooms, plus another 94 condo units ranging in size from 850 square feet to 6,000-square-feet penthouses. Construction is scheduled to start in November.
To-Be-Determined (Block 185)
The last phase of Green Water is still up in the air, and please tip your editor if you know. Trammell Crow is being tight lipped. The master plan calls for another residential tower, hosting 295 units, and a little more retail. It’s unknown if the residential units will go up for sale, or for rent, but I’m hopeful that the market will support a condo development.
Honorable mention: Third + Shoal
It’s worth noting that the four-block development butts up to one other major development to the north, which is not part of the Green Water redevelopment: Third+Shoal (slideshare), at 208 Nueces. Construction of the 349,000-square-foot, 28-story office building is scheduled to be completed in early 2017, following the demolition of the underwhelming Austin Music Hall.