Cranes fill the sky as Austin’s building boom flies on


Highlights

At the peak of construction, there were three cranes at the site of the 37-story Fairmont Austin Hotel.

Regionwide, construction and related industries accounted for 59,000 jobs in 2016.

The state bird of Texas is the (construction) crane, or so the old joke goes.

With Texas’ largest cities – especially Austin – experiencing phenomenal growth in recent years, that well-worn one-liner might as well be true.

Construction cranes dot Austin’s skyline, helping erect towers that will become hotels, offices, condos, apartments and more over the next several years.

Currently, there are about a dozen of them at work in downtown Austin.

CLICK HERE FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF DOWNTOWN AUSTIN’S HIGH-RISE BUILDING BOOM

At the peak of construction, there were three cranes at the site of the 37-story Fairmont Austin Hotel at Red River and East Cesar Chavez streets. But with the 1,048-room hotel set to open this September, just one remains – and it’ll be gone as soon as a 170-foot spire is installed in the coming weeks.

With the addition of that spire, the Fairmont will become Austin’s second-tallest tower, behind the Austonian.

“Tower cranes have become an omnipresent force on Austin’s skyline,” said Doug Manchester, president of Manchester Texas Financial Group, the Fairmont’s developer. “When you take a moment to reflect, they’re both practically and symbolically quite profound. Practically, you just can’t build without their tremendous power and adaptability. Symbolically, these cranes continue to remind us that Austin is on the rise – physically, economically and socially.

“In Fairmont Austin’s case, these tower cranes are the first major sign that massive revitalization is finally underway surrounding Palm Park and the Waller Creek corridor. What was once a vacant dirt lot, is now transforming into a major destination.”

The building boom has helped put thousands of people to work, according to the Austin Chamber of Commerce. Regionwide, construction and related industries accounted for 59,000 jobs in 2016, chamber figures show. That’s a 38 percent increase since 2012, when there were 42,700 construction jobs.

“We think in general the mechanics of construction are often the overlooked unsung heroes of urban development that lead to impactful economic booms,” Manchester said.

Aside from the Fairmont, some of the other high-rises under construction downtown include:

  • The Independent , 58-story condo tower, West Third Street and West Avenue
  • Fifth & West Residences , 39-story condo tower, West Fifth Street and West Avenue
  • Aloft/Element hotels , 32-story hotel tower, East Seventh Street and Congress Avenue
  • Austin Proper , 32-story hotel and condo tower, West Second and Nueces streets
  • 500 West 2nd, 29-story office tower, West Second and San Antonio streets
  • Third+Shoal , 29-story office tower, Nueces and West Third streets
  • Hotel Zaza, 24-story hotel and apartment tower, West Fourth and Guadalupe streets
  • New University of Texas System headquarters, 19-story office tower, West Seventh and Lavaca streets
  • Shoal Creek Walk , 15-story office tower, West Sixth and Bowie streets

While the bulk of the activity is downtown, there’s also plenty of construction — and the accompanying cranes — on the UT campus and at The Domain, where Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group is building multiple new office towers.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Once disruptors, ride-hail firms now ‘major player’ at Austin airport
Once disruptors, ride-hail firms now ‘major player’ at Austin airport

Roughly four years after ride-hailing firms began shaking up the ground transportation business at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the at-times contentious relationship between the airport and ride-hailing entities has reached a more settled point — one representative of the importance ride-hailing companies now have for ABIA. The four...
Texas business coalition challenges Austin’s sick-leave plan

The city’s new ordinance mandating that most private businesses in Austin provide paid sick leave to employees — heralded by supporters as the most progressive labor policy in Texas when it won approval two months ago — is facing a legal challenge to prevent it from ever taking effect. Proponents of Austin’s sick-leave rules...
More South Congress changes: Developer remaking complex
More South Congress changes: Developer remaking complex

More changes are taking place on Austin’s trendy South Congress Avenue, with the latest redevelopment underway at the site that houses the CityView at Soco apartments. The developer, Turnbridge Equities, is demolishing a four-story building at the front of the complex, which is at 1007 S. Congress Ave. The old building — which included...
NRA lobbyist claims Yeti is ‘engaging in damage control’
NRA lobbyist claims Yeti is ‘engaging in damage control’

A key National Rifle Association lobbyist isn’t satisfied with Yeti’s response to claims the Austin-based company has cut ties with the organization. The NRA sent members an email Friday alleging Yeti had “suddenly, without prior notice” indicated it no longer wished to do business with the NRA Foundation. “That certainly...
Lawsuit filed to nullify Austin’s ordinance requiring sick leave
Lawsuit filed to nullify Austin’s ordinance requiring sick leave

A coalition of business groups has mounted a legal challenge to Austin’s landmark ordinance requiring that private employers provide workers with paid sick leave. The group — including the Texas Association of Business, the National Federation of Independent Business and the American Staffing Association — is seeking temporary and...
More Stories