EXCLUSIVE: Another high-rise set for Austin’s Rainey Street district


Lee Development & Construction hopes to break ground by year-end on a residential tower at 48 East Street.

Developer still weighing whether to build condominiums or apartments.

Amid continued demand for downtown living, an Austin developer plans to build a residential high-rise in the Rainey Street area where a number of apartment and condominium projects have risen over the past decade.

The project is proposed for 48 East Street, which formerly housed law offices and now has tenants leasing space on a short-term basis.

Lee Development & Construction is the developer planning the tower.

Robert Lee, president, CEO and founder of Lee Development, said no zoning change will be required to build the high-rise, which he hopes to break ground on by the end of the year once building permits are obtained from the city of Austin.

Although the design has not been finalized, the tower as currently envisioned would be about 33 stories, Lee said.

He said he is in discussion with lenders regarding financing for the project, which he said would cost an estimated $60 million to build.

A filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation says the project would have 244 apartment units. However, Lee said it has not yet been determined if the project will have rental units or for-sale condominiums.

“We believe that both markets are still strong and both can be served well,” Lee said. “We’re looking at financing options, and that will determine what product type we end up going with. It’s a work in progress now.”

Bartlett Cocke will be the general contractor, and Austin-based STG Design is the architect for the project.

Lee Development has built numerous projects locally, including the 21 Pearl residences just west of the University of Texas and a small apartment complex at 3114 South Congress Ave.

Currently, the real estate development firm is building a 40-unit condominium project on Burnet Road. Buyers have reserved half of the units so far, which range in price from $285,00 to $340,000, Lee said.

If built, the tower on East Avenue would join a host of others that have cropped up in the Rainey Street district since 2006, starting with the 13-story Milago condominiums. A recent addition is the Millennium, an 8-story apartment project at 91 Rainey St.

At 70 Rainey St., New York-based Sackman Enterprises Inc. is building a 34-story luxury condominium tower that is due to be completed late next year. To date, buyers have contracted for nearly half of its 164 units, which range in price from the high $400,000s to more than $4 million for the remaining four penthouse units.

On June 30, the Villas on Town Lake, a 1980s condo project at 80 Red River St., was purchased by Dallas-based Genesis Real Estate Group.

Genesis is proposing to build two apartment towers on the waterfront site, the first of which could be about 40 stories tall and have about 400 apartments.

Elsewhere downtown, other condo projects under construction include The Independent; Fifth & West; and Austin Proper Hotel & Residences.

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