Pending a zoning change, developers plan to start construction this summer on an tower with 175 luxury apartments just south of downtown, on a site that now has a Taco Cabana restaurant.
The project is slated for a high-profile 1-acre site at West Riverside Drive and South Lamar Boulevard, just south of the Pfluger Bridge and the Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail. Just east is the Butler Park Pitch and Putt, and to the south, the Paggi House restaurant.
The developers behind the project, which is going by the temporary name of 211 South Lamar, are Dallas-based Ascension Development, teaming with Los Angeles-based Post Investment Group. They are seeking a zoning change that would allow them to build a 96-foot building with 200,000 square feet of space, instead of a 60-foot building with about 130,000 square feet of space that existing rules would allow, said Steve Drenner, the Austin attorney handling the zoning case for the developers.
The case is set to go before the city’s Planning Commission March 12 and the City Council on March 28, Drenner said.
“I think it’s a really special site, a highly visible site, and a site that because of its location a lot of people will interact with,” Drenner said. “And we really thought it deserved a special project, and we think we’ve designed a special project that fits this unique site.”
The project would have eight stories of residential units above one level of retail, for a total of nine stories. In exchange for extra height and density, Drenner said, the project would provide a number of community benefits. Those would include having a large plaza, saving some mature trees on the site, and paying $420,000 into the city’s affordable housing fund.
The project also would include just over 9,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and other pedestrian-oriented uses, Drenner said. The building would open in late 2014 or early 2015, he said.
A project has been contemplated at the site for some time, Drenner said, since CLB Partners orginally acquired that land and the land where the six-story Bridges on the Park project now sits. The north side of the Bridges project, developed by CLB Partners, was built without windows or balconies, knowing that a project eventually would be coming next door, Drenner said.
Will Cureton, formerly with CLB Partners, is a co-founder and partner with Ascension Development. CLB Partners also developed the Austin City Lofts condo project on West Fifth Street downtown.
The architect for the proposed project is Austin-based Rhode: Partners Brett Rhode, a principle with the firm, also designed the Bridges on the Park.
Rhode said the site where the new project is planned “begs for a mature , urbane response, so we are putting an emphasis on how the building relates to the street to engage the public and provide a setting for people to experience this special part of Austin in a unique way. The convergence of nature, art and urban life can yield spectacular results.”