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Thread: Downtown Projects

  1. #1
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    Downtown Projects

    This doesn't cover everything in the pipeline, but it's a start.



    1) 3 Eleven Bowie



    2) Gables Park Plaza II



    3) Seaholm Power Plant



    4) Energy Control Center Towers - No good renders out there. This gives an idea. 2 on the left.



    5) Central Library



    6) Green Water Treatment Plant






  • #2
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    7) Federal Courthouse



    8) JW Marriott





    9) Whitley



    10) Hyatt Place (thanks to LoneStarMike of SkyscraperPage for the photo)



    11) Fairmont



    12) Skyhouse


  • #3
    Thanks for posting. The sheer amount of development underway downtown is both incredible and completely terrifying.

  • #4
    Obligatory: Austin was so much better back in the old days.



    Note: Actual map is 7x larger. Cool to look at in full size: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...in-1873-sm.jpg

    Bernard
    Last edited by Bernard; 01-04-2013 at 03:53 AM.

  • #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    Obligatory: Austin was so much better back in the old days.



    Note: Actual map is 7x larger. Cool to look at in full size: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...in-1873-sm.jpg

    Bernard
    We have that hanging in our dining room and its two friends hanging in the living room. Great pictures.

  • #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard View Post
    Obligatory: Austin was so much better back in the old days.



    Note: Actual map is 7x larger. Cool to look at in full size: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...in-1873-sm.jpg

    Bernard
    Armybrat had a cool house back then.

  • #7
    The federal courthouse actually opened about a month ago

  • #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mizzou415 View Post
    The federal courthouse actually opened about a month ago
    Yep, there was a thread on it which I didn't post on, but I actually like the look of it. I think it goes well with the city.

  • #9
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    Central library is missing homeless dudes trying to get inside to take a $#@!.

  • #10
    Longhorn Al doing some work! Thanks for posting all those. It's nice to see everything in context. Within 2-3 years, the skyline is going to unrecognizable if all these projects go through.

  • #11
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    Great job putting this together, Al.

  • #12
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    Why are they building so many 10-15 story apartment/condo buildings rather than fewer 40-50 story buildings? It's taking up all the property and leaving little for future expansion, pedestrian $#@!/parks, parking, etc. For those of you who haven't lived in Austin since the 90's or early 2000's, parking is 100x worse now.

  • #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Murfdogg21 View Post
    Why are they building so many 10-15 story apartment/condo buildings rather than fewer 40-50 story buildings?
    Does COA zoning allow buildings that tall outside of the downtown zone?

  • #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murfdogg21 View Post
    Why are they building so many 10-15 story apartment/condo buildings rather than fewer 40-50 story buildings? It's taking up all the property and leaving little for future expansion, pedestrian $#@!/parks, parking, etc. For those of you who haven't lived in Austin since the 90's or early 2000's, parking is 100x worse now.
    That's a complex question. By "they" do you mean "the developers"?

  • #15
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    I'm working on #12.

  • #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Murfdogg21 View Post
    Why are they building so many 10-15 story apartment/condo buildings rather than fewer 40-50 story buildings? It's taking up all the property and leaving little for future expansion, pedestrian $#@!/parks, parking, etc. For those of you who haven't lived in Austin since the 90's or early 2000's, parking is 100x worse now.
    Because it doesn't make sense for developers to build for 10-20 years from now and just eat a bunch of empty real estate in the interim?

  • #17
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    Jesus, looks like SimCity.

  • #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horn_Spanker View Post
    Central library is missing homeless dudes trying to get inside to take a $#@!.
    Don't forget the homeless guys who drag a desktop PC and monitor into the libraries so they can look at porn.

  • #19
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    And that complaint about parking is damn funny when you realize that the city is trying to push a new code through that allows developers downtown to only put minimal to zero parking in with their new buildings. AAS article on it.

    Me thinks the city is putting a bit too much faith in that whole cap metro house of genius.

  • #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murfdogg21 View Post
    Why are they building so many 10-15 story apartment/condo buildings rather than fewer 40-50 story buildings?
    10-15 story residential >> 40-50 story residential

  • #21
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    I'd like to go downtown more often and spend money in our fine city, but parking is such a pain I refuse. There's no reasonable bus or train service to get me from where I live to and from downtown, and I'm not spending $40 or more (one way) on a taxi. Parking is part of a city's vital infrastructure just like anything else. I honestly can't imagine how downtown Austin functions (or will function) with such poor planning.

  • #22
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  • #23
    Parking is not a problem downtown. I really have no idea why someone would say it is. It's a pain in the ass compared to going somewhere that has a dedicated parking lot because you might have to pay, walk some stairs, and walk a few blocks but that's true of any downtown area. Garages/lots are generally $10 or less for the whole night and there is more than enough capacity so that the garages are never full (which is why they're now asking not to have to build so much parking, as those spots are just sitting unused).

  • #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Mizzou415 View Post
    Parking is not a problem downtown. I really have no idea why someone would say it is. It's a pain in the ass compared to going somewhere that has a dedicated parking lot because you might have to pay, walk some stairs, and walk a few blocks but that's true of any downtown area. Garages/lots are generally $10 or less for the whole night and there is more than enough capacity so that the garages are never full (which is why they're now asking not to have to build so much parking, as those spots are just sitting unused).
    This has been my experience as well, granted I live in Houston now and only rarely travel to downtown Austin on business. The increased hours of parking meters has also freed up a lot of parking later in the evening. That being said, Cap Metro is still horrible and doesn't provide any decent downtown transportation unless you happen to live in central austin.

  • #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Murfdogg21 View Post
    Why are they building so many 10-15 story apartment/condo buildings rather than fewer 40-50 story buildings? It's taking up all the property and leaving little for future expansion, pedestrian $#@!/parks, parking, etc. For those of you who haven't lived in Austin since the 90's or early 2000's, parking is 100x worse now.
    Numerous reasons:

    - FAR restrictions (Floor-to-Area Ratio)...in the downtown CBD your base FAR is 8:1. Meaning, if you have a 25,000sf lot, you can only build 200,000sf of habital floor space (parking and utility infrastructure does not count toward this total). Which essentially is how you end up with all the +/- 15-story bldgs (8-12 levels of residence + 4-6 levels of parking). You can negotiate a higher FAR with the City (the Austonian has an FAR of 25), but it takes an inordinate amount time, money, and letting the City go balls deep on your project (sans lube)

    - Capitol View Corridor / Capitol Dominance Restrictions...there are certain 'viewpoints' throughout the City that have protected view 'corridors' back to the Capitol Building, which cannot be blocked by any high-rise development. There are some 35 view corridors spanning in all directions from the Capitol that reach as far as 360 beyond Westlake. I have 3 projects currently under development that are limited due to this set of restrictions.

    - Zoning...all projects start here. The zoning of your site dictates what you can do with it, and that's before you get to any zoning 'Overlays' (additional development restrictions...and in the very, VERY rare case, development incentives). The CBD zoning pretty much allows you to dictate the product you bring to market (office, retail, residential, mixed-use, et al)...however, the CBD zoning only applies to a very small percentage of developable land in Austin...nearly all of which is spoken for. So if you get outside of the CBD and acquire a lot with a MF-5 designation (Multi-Family density level 5) you're going to be limited to a certain number of units per acre and have a height restriction. You can apply for variances and/or get your Zoning designation changed...but that is a minimum 6 month process - courting the City, persuading Council members and neighborhood associations...and you're not even guaranteed the variance at the end of it all.

    - Free Market...developers, their company, and their investors are all in these projects to make money...a lot of it. And with individual control of individual parcels of land (inclusive of the restrictions listed above)...it's not like one developer can go to another and say: "hey, instead of doing a 15-story project each; let's combine our resources and do a single 30-story development." Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that...at least until Austin decides to adopt a system like NYC where you have developmental 'Air Rights' which can be transferred from one property to another. Since we can't do that here...it's a mad dash to the finish line. To make real money in this game you have to be First, Best, or Different...and being First in a proven market is always your best bet.

    There are other reasons, but you get the gist...I'm sure I will already receive a few "tl;dr" by this group; but that's your answer in a nutshell.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blain View Post
    I'm working on #12.
    Blain, what's your involvement with SkyHouse?

  • #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtomHeartBevo View Post
    Don't forget the homeless guys who drag a desktop PC and monitor into the libraries so they can look at porn.
    I'm not homeless.

  • #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by dahobbs View Post
    That being said, Cap Metro is still horrible and doesn't provide any decent downtown transportation unless you happen to live in central austin.
    incorrect. i'm not sure what your experience is riding the bus in Austin, but the service is above average if you live in most of the city of Austin. There are areas which this isn't the case, but in much of the city Cap Metro is a great alternative to driving.

  • #28
    Quote Originally Posted by P-Ville's Finest View Post
    incorrect. i'm not sure what your experience is riding the bus in Austin, but the service is above average if you live in most of the city of Austin. There are areas which this isn't the case, but in much of the city Cap Metro is a great alternative to driving.
    Not sure if sarcasm?

    Plenty of experience with it. If you're a student living in certain defined areas, it is a decent transportation method. Outside of that, the routes make little, if any, sense. Plus, stopping every block in downtown is $#@!ing retarded.

  • #29
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    i'm very serious. cap metro bus service is above average, and is a great alternative to driving if you live in much of the city.

  • #30
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    I take the bus downtown to the office a couple of times a week. It's not bad.

  • #31
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    some of those building are pretty dope.

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by goat_1970 View Post
    Numerous reasons:

    - FAR restrictions (Floor-to-Area Ratio)...in the downtown CBD your base FAR is 8:1. Meaning, if you have a 25,000sf lot, you can only build 200,000sf of habital floor space (parking and utility infrastructure does not count toward this total). Which essentially is how you end up with all the +/- 15-story bldgs (8-12 levels of residence + 4-6 levels of parking). You can negotiate a higher FAR with the City (the Austonian has an FAR of 25), but it takes an inordinate amount time, money, and letting the City go balls deep on your project (sans lube)

    - Capitol View Corridor / Capitol Dominance Restrictions...there are certain 'viewpoints' throughout the City that have protected view 'corridors' back to the Capitol Building, which cannot be blocked by any high-rise development. There are some 35 view corridors spanning in all directions from the Capitol that reach as far as 360 beyond Westlake. I have 3 projects currently under development that are limited due to this set of restrictions.

    - Zoning...all projects start here. The zoning of your site dictates what you can do with it, and that's before you get to any zoning 'Overlays' (additional development restrictions...and in the very, VERY rare case, development incentives). The CBD zoning pretty much allows you to dictate the product you bring to market (office, retail, residential, mixed-use, et al)...however, the CBD zoning only applies to a very small percentage of developable land in Austin...nearly all of which is spoken for. So if you get outside of the CBD and acquire a lot with a MF-5 designation (Multi-Family density level 5) you're going to be limited to a certain number of units per acre and have a height restriction. You can apply for variances and/or get your Zoning designation changed...but that is a minimum 6 month process - courting the City, persuading Council members and neighborhood associations...and you're not even guaranteed the variance at the end of it all.

    - Free Market...developers, their company, and their investors are all in these projects to make money...a lot of it. And with individual control of individual parcels of land (inclusive of the restrictions listed above)...it's not like one developer can go to another and say: "hey, instead of doing a 15-story project each; let's combine our resources and do a single 30-story development." Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that...at least until Austin decides to adopt a system like NYC where you have developmental 'Air Rights' which can be transferred from one property to another. Since we can't do that here...it's a mad dash to the finish line. To make real money in this game you have to be First, Best, or Different...and being First in a proven market is always your best bet.

    There are other reasons, but you get the gist...I'm sure I will already receive a few "tl;dr" by this group; but that's your answer in a nutshell.

    Blain, what's your involvement with SkyHouse?
    This is proving to be a huge roadblock on a project we're working on.

  • #33
    Parking in downtown Austin has always been easy. You just have to walk 4-6 blocks at night. Even less in the daytime. Downtowns aren't meant to be malls surrounded by parking.

  • #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyesSuck View Post
    This is proving to be a huge roadblock on a project we're working on.
    Shoulda researched that before buying the property. They've been in place since the 80's.

  • #35
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    i had no idea 3 Eleven Bowie (#1) was going to be so tall.. they are really wedging it in there between shoal creek and the littlest bar in texas

    Also, i thought Gables Park Plaza II (#2) was going to be 35ish stories.. looks more like 18 there. The rendering could be old, or maybe they scaled back. not sure.

    I am not impressed with Central Library (#5) and i really like and respect Lake/Flato. Hope the final product surprises me.

    JW Marriot (#8) is under construction right now.. or at least close to be done with excavation. The hole is surprisingly deep. (that is what she said)

    Is the Fairmont (#11) going to be coordinated with the Waller Creek Development Plan that is supposedly going to occur?
    Last edited by YoLaDu; 01-04-2013 at 02:50 PM.

  • #36
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    Why do developers insist on naming stuff stupid $#@! like "3 Eleven"? Why not just "311 Bowie"? Or, hell, even "Three Eleven Bowie".

  • #37
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    Because 311 Bowie sounds like some stupid ass theme party held by a douchey fraternity. Where everybody comes dressed like Ziggy Stardust got a giftcard to Abercrombie & Fitch.

  • #38
    asshat TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bozo_casanova View Post
    I take the bus downtown to the office a couple of times a week. It's not bad.
    Be careful not to get any poverty on you. $#@! stains.

  • #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by goat_1970 View Post
    Blain, what's your involvement with SkyHouse?
    Just small potatoes, for now.

  • #40
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    +Rep What happened to the Hooters/Jaliscos condos? I read recently there is one going up where Runtex is.

    I own a condo up the street and I try not to leave at 8 and 5 if I'm home. I've thought about hitting the pedestrian light at the convenient store up the hill, so I can stop traffic and get on the road.
    Last edited by bnb; 01-04-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  • #41
    asshat Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyesSuck View Post
    This is proving to be a huge roadblock on a project we're working on.
    Do y'all have similar restrictions up there? Or are you in Austin?

  • #42
    asshat Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longhorn_Fan68 View Post
    Shoulda researched that before buying the property. They've been in place since the 80's.
    If he's working 800-804 Congress, then it's a weird situation. Their plans meet the CVC, but not the city ordinance for stepbacks. Other buildings on the east side of Congress have been allowed, but this would be the first on the west side, apparently. Other buildings are complaining. The Downtown Alliance/Association whatever and the smaller business support the building.

  • #43
    asshat Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bnb View Post
    +Rep What happened to the Hooters/Jaliscos condos? I read recently there is one going up where Runtex is.
    Alliance Residential will build the Broadstone Apartments on the corner of South First and Riverside where RunTex is. Should be about 79 feet tall according to the Statesman. Another development is happening in the same area behind RunTex by the Hyatt Regency. The city wants to change up the street grid and widen the streets. Rhodes Partners is going to develop the site, and the Hyatt is building a big parking structure and ballroom space. Don't forget the Austin American-Statesman site is up for sale too.

    Current


    City's vision


    City's vision of the view from the bridge.


    RunTex site


    Rest of the lot


    Looking South
    Last edited by Longhorn Al; 01-04-2013 at 05:30 PM.

  • #44
    asshat Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al has a gigantic e-peen. Longhorn Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoLaDu View Post
    i had no idea 3 Eleven Bowie (#1) was going to be so tall.. they are really wedging it in there between shoal creek and the littlest bar in texas

    Also, i thought Gables Park Plaza II (#2) was going to be 35ish stories.. looks more like 18 there. The rendering could be old, or maybe they scaled back. not sure.

    I am not impressed with Central Library (#5) and i really like and respect Lake/Flato. Hope the final product surprises me.

    JW Marriot (#8) is under construction right now.. or at least close to be done with excavation. The hole is surprisingly deep. (that is what she said)

    Is the Fairmont (#11) going to be coordinated with the Waller Creek Development Plan that is supposedly going to occur?
    3 Eleven Bowie is my favorite building at the moment.

    Gables II is planned for 18 stories now.

    I don't know if it's coordinated with Waller, but it'll be right on it. I am not sure which will come first. Waller or the Fairmont. With the hotel shortage in downtown, I'm guessing the Fairmont breaks ground fairly soon (later this year hopefully), and before the Waller Creek design comes to fruition.

  • #45
    Banned Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club Tailleur17 Shaggy Bronze Club
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    Pics aren't accurate renderings. Not enough ironic mustaches and hats.

  • #46
    asshat TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ Probably Shaggy upper class TJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tailleur17 View Post
    Pics aren't accurate renderings. Not enough ironic mustaches and hats.
    That's not true. There are a ton of them, you just can't see them as they're inside waiting tables.

  • #47
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    I guess the one is going up where the old Filling Station is any time now. I look forward to all the park improvements I've read about. (Trailers at Aut. Shores, etc). My taxes keep going up and up, but I guess It's good if I ever want to sell. I bought my condo at the right time 10 years ago. Now it has doubled in price.
    Last edited by bnb; 01-05-2013 at 09:00 AM.

  • #48
    Fairmont is schedulesdto break-ground end of this year. Allegedly they have their anchor restaurant in-tow already but I am not certain if it is yet signed.

    At this point I really see little to zero reason for the City to be spending $120m on the proposed Central Library. It's a complete waste of the city's resources and loss of sales tax which could otherwise be generated from the tract.

    Good info Goat and Al. Curious - are the two of you involved in the commercial or residential side of development? In what capacity?

  • #49
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    Great stuff - I love lookin' at these projections.

    When I got here in 1959, the Norwood Tower was the tallest building in the city besides the UT Tower & the Capitol:



    The 5 story building on the left (now Perry's) was the Capitol National Bank where my Dad worked for a short time.
    Last edited by Armybrat; 01-05-2013 at 10:22 AM.

  • #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Chet Steadman View Post
    Fairmont is schedulesdto break-ground end of this year.
    I really hope you're correct. That is an awesome building, and is one I really would like to see happen, though I've had my doubts about it recently. I just haven't heard much about it for a while, and with the 1,012 room JW Marriott going up already I was wondering if financing would be available for another 1,000+ room hotel so nearby.

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