Austin: Developer Proposes Mix-Use Waterfront Skyrises at Former Newspaper Complex
Feature Illustration: An artist rendering of the waterfront project along part of Lady Bird Lake’s southern shore by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
by Art Benavidez
Austin (Travis County) — A local real estate company had their neighborhood plan amendment for a mixed use public waterfront project request postponed by the Planning Commission so that they could gather more information, at Tuesday’s meeting.
The development company controlling this 18.8-acre property on the south bank of the Colorado River wants to change the land use designation from Industry to Mixed Use.
VBX last reported on the project in August of 2019 when the Austin chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin) arranged a meeting regarding the project where nearly 100 area architects, designers and urban planners were afforded an opportunity to share their thoughts on preliminary redevelopment plans.
The land is the former home of the Austin American Statesman. The newspaper’s old three-story office and printing press facilities occupy 280,110 square feet. The site is directly south of Downtown Austin.
Endeavor Real Estate Group is proposing to construct 812,900 square feet for office use, 963,500 square feet as multifamily, 254,500 square feet for a hotel, 112,000 square feet as retail/food and beverage, and 800,000 square feet of above ground parking.
In June of 2019, the American-Statesmanreported that its owners, the Atlanta-based Cox family, were working to redevelop the site in partnership with Endeavor Real Estate Group in conformance with the city’s South Central Waterfront Plan.
The plan is a city blueprint for facilitating development along part of Lady Bird Lake’s southern shore.
The working title of the project is the 305 S. Congress PUD.
The development will include water quality ponds and reconstructing 1,700 linear feet of the hike and bike trail and will dedicate 6.54 acres of public parkland along Lady Bird Lake, which will be available to the public.
Building height depictions of the five buildings describe a 215-foot-tall residential building, a 375-foot office building, a 525-foot office building, a 445-foot multifamily-hotel building, a 365-foot multifamily building and a 295-foot multifamily building.
Endeavor Real Estate Group is proposing to develop 1,378 multifamily units (55 units of which will be available to 80% of the median family income for 40 years) which will increase the housing options in the neighborhood and the city, and a 275-key hotel, according to city documents.
Richard T. Suttle, Jr. with the law firm Armbrust & Brown, LLC represented the project to the commission.
“We’re creating a new environment for people to walk, stroll and hangout in a vibrant, diverse and welcoming public space that embraces our city’s culture and honors the spirit of Austin,” he said. “We are improving on the South Central waterfront project plan by putting all parking below grade and out of sight. Creating a better visual experience for pedestrians, bikes and cars that brings people to the waterfront from the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Doug Voigt with Chicago, Illinois-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and theSan Francisco firm CMG Landscape Architecture are on board the project.
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.