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Austin: 44-Story Apartment Tower Planned at 3rd Street and Colorado

07/26/2017 02:51:00 pm | Viewed: 539

Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange

Street Level concept for 3rd & Colorado Tower

Streetscape concept for the proposed 3rd & Colorado apartment tower. Courtesy of Riverside Resources and GDA Architects.


Posted: 7-26-2017, 4:28 p.m.

by Adolfo Pesquera

Austin (Travis County) - Riverside Resources, the developer of Austin’s Whitley Apartments, have submitted plans to construct a 44-story mixed-use residential tower in the downtown Waterfront District.

At the July 24 meeting of the Design Commission, members of the project team provided details in order to obtain a letter of substantial completion with Great Streets guidelines. The commission approved the project, however, it faces numerous hurdles.

Commissioners had several concerns, particularly with the fate of the existing one-story commercial brick building; this is an older building that was recently renovated. The developer’s plans do not take it into consideration.

“The applicant is saying, ‘This is what it is. We aren’t making an effort to preserve or cause the historical context to live on,’” said Commissioner Conor Kenny. “We have some concerns here, but there’s no historical district, the building’s not historical. But it does clearly totally change the character of that little area, a character that is quickly going away.”



Sullivan's Steakhouse is located in the one-story building that Riverside Resources plans to demolish. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.


The Sullivan’s Steakhouse of Austin holds a lease on the building, but the property was sold last month. Riverside Resources’ attorney Michael J. Whellan of Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody claimed in correspondence to the commission that the building was 62 years old and did not have a historic designation.

However, the commission noted that Whellan was off by 30 years and the building was almost 100 years old. While the commission recognized that the lack of a historic district and historic designation for the building, they decided to craft their letter of substantial completion to include that they were not advocating demolition.

Furthermore, one of the commissioners went on the record to state that he notified the Historic Preservation Office and was told that the building would be recommended for review by the Historic Landmark Commission.

Riverside Resources is also attempting to comply with the Downtown Density Bonus Program. To that end, it proposes increasing the FAR square footage from 8:1 to 25:1. The density bonus is for an additional 287,541 FAR square feet, and the developer proposes paying $2,875,410 into the Austin Affordable Housing Trust Fund in lieu of providing affordable housing on-site.

Riverside Resources hopes to begin construction in 2018 and get the tower completed by 2012.

  • Lot Area:                    17,712 square feet
  • Building Height:        518 feet
  • Residential:              315 @ 357,000 square feet
  • Commercial:            7,274 square feet @ ground level
  • Total FAR:                 429,000 square feet
  • Parking Garage:      360 spaces


3rd & Colorado Tower by Riverside Resources


Mark Sullivan of GDA Architects described the layout of the proposed building in terms of how it would comply with the Great Streets guidelines.

“Our ground floor level, we have populated with a retail and restaurant space that fronts onto West Third Street. It also has a corner front to Colorado Street. The residential fronts to Colorado,” Sullivan said.

One curb cut is proposed on Colorado that would lead into a parking garage. Utilities would be accessed from and alley that is reached from Colorado. The streetscape is already landscaped according to Great Streets guidelines, but will have to be cleared due to the extensive construction. Riverside Resources proposes replacing the existing street trees with 5-inch caliper trees, and otherwise complying with all Great Streets requirements.

For the benefit of residents, there will be an amenity level on a 12th floor deck that will include a pool. There will also be a dog park on the 11th floor.



The latest Riverside Resources project is in the central Waterfront District.


The parking garage will occupy nine levels from floors three to eleven, and the residences will occupy the upper 32 levels. Sullivan said the garage will be totally screened to make it appear less like a garage.

He described the tower design as contemporary with clean and simple lines. Structurally, it is to be made of concrete and steel.

“We have aluminum and glass fenestrations, as well as metal accents, and pre-cast concrete make up the majority of the tower skin,” Sullivan said.

At street level, the design proposes heavy use of glass for transparency into the lobby and retail sections. GDA also mentions the possible use of an operable glass wall system to provide street dining and encourage pedestrian activity throughout the ground floor to sidewalk. Outside the residential lobby, stone, with variations of color, is being considered for that exterior.

In addition to the Whitley, Riverside Resources and GDA are also in the process of constructing 5th & West, a luxury 150-unit condominium tower at the corner of 5th Street and West Avenue.

The Development Team

  • Owners:             Riverside Resources and Austin 3C Venture LP
  • Architect:            GDA Architects LLC
  • Civil Engineer:  Stantec
  • Landscape:      Studio Outside
  • Structural:         Brockette Davis Drake Inc.
  • MEP Eng:         Bay & Associates Inc.




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Author Info
Adolfo Pesquera

Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.