Proposed project would have three downtown towers, one of up to 65 stories: Two Austin developers are proposing a $500 million mixed-use project downtown that — if it happens — would change the skyline with three new towers, including a high-rise with condominiums and hotel rooms that could become Austin’s tallest building.
Mac Pike cq and Wally Scott, principals in the Sutton Co., a real estate investment and development company, told the American-Statesman they want to build their project — tentatively called Waller Center — on 3 acres near East Cesar Chavez and Red River streets, along the banks of Waller Creek.
In addition to residential, hotel and office uses, the developers envision shops and restaurants along Waller Creek like those lining San Antonio’s Riverwalk.
Several local real estate experts said they think Sutton’s proposed project stands a chance of happening, with the odds improved due to a major equity player on board — Klabzuba Realty, a longtime family owned real estate and oil and gas investment company based in Fort Worth.
Pike and Scott said conceptual drawings of the project they released to the American-Statesman are in the early stages, and said the heights and uses of the buildings could change based on market demand and other variables.
In addition to a condo/hotel tower that could be as tall as 65 stories — the Austonian residential tower at Congress Avenue and Second Streets is currently Austin’s tallest building at 56 stories —Sutton envisions an apartment tower of 35 to 45 stories and an office/retail tower of 17 to 20 stories. Pike said there are no height limitations on the tract, which is zoned for dense downtown development, and said it is not restricted by rules that protect Capitol views.
Pike said he hopes to start work on all three buildings in mid- to late-2014, pending city approvals. He said he intends to submit a site plan to the city in the next 90 days.
Controversial cancer grant could be reconsidered for funding: An $11 million grant at the center of the controversy surrounding the state’s cancer agency would likely be reconsidered for full funding if the Dallas startup, Peloton Therapeutics, receives a favorable review and is not implicated in the criminal investigation, an agency official said last week.
Wayne Roberts, interim executive director who inherited the problems at the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, made his comments at a hearing before the House Committee on Public Health and in an interview afterwards.
The previous leadership at the agency — commonly known as CPRIT — approved the $11 million grant without the required scientific and business reviews, which wasn’t discovered by the agency for two years. CPRIT had advanced Peloton the first $3.2 million of the grant before the problem was disclosed publicly.
The Travis County district attorney’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into the mishandling of three of the agency’s almost 500 grants, totaling $56 million, including the Peloton grant.
Peloton had reapplied for funding last fall — before the problem was disclosed publicly — but its second application was frozen by the state leadership in December, along with other pending grants.
Despite months of media and legislative attention, plus a critical state audit, it remains unclear why CPRIT executives recommended that the Peloton grant be approved — without the required reviews — and then kept quiet about it for two years.
Roberts said Peloton’s second application would go through the required reviews once state leaders lift the moratorium on the grant process.
“I don’t know whether they’d win out or not,” Roberts said of Peloton. “I’d assume we’d take the peer review’s recommendation without prejudice.”