Austin: Multi-Story Office Building Proposed for Schlotzsky’s Site on South Lamar
Featured Photo (above): Schlotzsky’s sandwich chain plans to vacate its Austin flagship outlet at 218 S. Lamar Blvd., where a seven-story office building is planned for development. Image: Google Streets
by Edmond Ortiz
Austin (Travis County)–The city is reviewing plans for a seven-story office structure with ground-level commercial space on a spot on South Lamar Boulevard where Schlotzsky’s, the Austin-born sandwich chain, plans to vacate an existing local flagship building.
Austin company Generational Commercial Properties has proposed developing 218 S. Lamar Blvd., on a 1.27-acre tract. A project case file dated May 8, 2019, shows the developer proposing 167,000 square feet of office space and 13,000 square feet of high-turnover restaurant space.
The city’s planning commission is slated to meet Aug. 27 to consider rezoning of the property.
Austin Jones, a city transportation engineer, noted in a May 9 memo about traffic impact that “the development is anticipated to be completed by 2020. There has been no statement to the city, however, on a construction start date.
The South Lamar project has been in the works awhile. The present property owners, Michael and William Pfluger, initially asked the city in spring 2018 to rezone the parcel to Planned Unit Development to allow for more vertical construction.
The plan calls for 95 feet of height of occupied space, but considering the mechanical plant atop, the total height of the building would be 110 feet. The existing zoning allows for a 60-foot height limit; rezoning would allow for 96 feet maximum height.
The developer has since been working out height, massing, scale and other project details. Generational Commercial initially envisioned 154,000 square feet of office space and 26,000 square feet of ground-level pedestrian-oriented uses.
City documents show the new structure would be built at an angle, and include a rooftop terrace and a four-level parking garage.
A perspective of the planned office high-rise at 218 S. Lamar Blvd., from South Lamar. Image: Runa Workshop/Generational Commercial Properties
The site plan was produced by Austin firm Runa Workshop, the project architect. Austin-based GarzaEMC is listed as the engineer.
The city’s planning commission was set to consider the rezoning issue in July, but Generational Commercial asked for a delay to have more time to answer questions posed by city staff. Austin land use law firm Drenner Group is the legal representative for the project.
Floor plan for the proposed office high-rise at 218 S. Lamar. Image: Runa Workshop/Generational Commercial Properties
Generational Commercial has developed a handful of office and industrial complexes mainly in the Austin and Houston areas, including the WeWork co-working space building at 801 Barton Springs Road.
The property is located in the Zilker neighborhood, just south of Lady Bird Lake, next to ZACH Theatre, and close to a mix of commercial and residential developments and recreational amenities.
There’s been an increase in high-rise construction in the South Lamar area in recent years. A development team involving retired Major League Baseball pitcher and former Texas Longhorn Huston Street plans to build a 96-foot-tall hotel/condo complex at 211 South Lamar.
Some Zilker neighbors have expressed concern about such high-rise concepts being built just south of the Colorado River, amid historically smaller scale developments. Residents fear taller buildings could ruin views of the river.
The existing one-story structure at 218 South Lamar was built in 1951 and measures nearly 9,300 square feet. The land’s value has been appraised at more than $6 million. Schlotzsky’s has been operating a restaurant and the company’s bakery and training center out of the current building.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.