Feature Photo (above): A commercial developer is looking to demolish the administrative offices of the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society Inc. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Austin (Travis County) — Greystar, a national commercial real estate developer, has taken an interest in demolishing the downtown administrative offices of the Austin Symphony Orchestra Society Inc. in order to construct a mixed-use hotel, office and retail tower.
A request is pending before the Planning Commission to change the zoning for 1117 Red River Street, a four-tenths of an acre lot. The case is to be heard Tuesday and Development Services staff is recommending approval.
Michelle Rogerson Lynch, director of land use and entitlements at Metcalfe, Wolff, Stuart & Williams, is representing the symphony, which is the landowner, on the zoning request.
Aerial view of the lot and building subject to the Austin Symphony zoning request. Image: Google Earth.
The one-story, 5,000-square-foot office building at the northeast corner of Red River and East 12th Street was constructed in 1976.
It is the least historically significant of several buildings the symphony controls on that block. Waller Creek cuts through the southwest corner of the block and there is an outdoor amphitheater there, surrounded by historic buildings. They should not be affected.
The staff report notes that Velocity Credit Union owns much of the east portion of the block, 610 E. 11th Street, and had it rezoned to CBD in 2017 for future development.
“The Austin Symphony requested rezoning from commercial to CBD (Central Business District) so that they may redevelop their property and seamlessly combine with the development planned for Velocity–a mixed use project to include office, multifamily and hotel uses,” the staff report said.
“Under the current proposal, the existing office building would be demolished, and one or more buildings would be built on both tracts. The symphony would then be able to move into a new building, and have a larger, updated office space,” staff continued.
The Austin Symphony is not in the land development business, however. According to Development Services records, Charleston, South Carolina-based Greystar is being billed for the city fees attached to the zoning request.
The project site is cater-corner from the Waterloo Neighborhood Park and two city blocks east of the Texas Capitol complex. As such, it is subject to the Capital View Corridor requirements, which will limit the height of any new construction. It is also subject to the Great Streets Program, which requires an enhanced pedestrian realm that could include wide sidewalks, as well as enhanced landscaping and lighting.
If the zoning request is approved tomorrow, it will go to City Council for consideration April 11.