A seven-story office building that could be up to 96 feet tall is being planned for a site just south of Lady Bird Lake that now houses a Schlotzsky’s restaurant.
The 1.26-acre property at 218 S. Lamar Blvd. is owned by Michael Carl Pfluger and William Reid Pfluger. The developer of the proposed project, Generational Commercial, plans to ask the city for a zoning change to build a development that would be taller than 60-foot height existing zoning allows.
The Austin City Council is scheduled to be briefed on the proposed project Aug. 9.
Amanda Swor with the Austin law firm Drenner Group PC is representing the Pflugers in seeking a type of zoning known as a planned unit development, or PUD.
Swor said the earliest anticipated start of construction is 2020.
The property is appraised at about $6.2 million by the Travis Central Appraisal District.
Heather Chaffin, the city’s zoning case manager for the proposed project, said plans call for a building with about 154,000 square feet of office space and 26,000 square feet of pedestrian-oriented uses on the ground floor..
The developer is offering up to $20,000 to upgrade an adjacent Capital Metro bus stop.
South Lamar Boulevard is identified as an “activity corridor” in the city’s Imagine Austin comprehensive plan, according to the developer, and the new building would mesh with what city planners envisioned for the area.
“Activity corridors call for a variety of activities and types of buildings located along the roadways,” the developer said in a submission to the city. “Specifically, this project will provide an office use along the portion of the South Lamar corridor between Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Road where there are currently no other office uses, thereby providing a vibrant, needed use for the corridor.”
But some area residents say the project is not a good fit for the location.
Dave Piper, president of the Zilker Neighborhood Association, said the site is better suited for a residential use.
“Here’s a perfect opportunity to put in residential housing that the city claims we need,” Piper said. “Do they really mean what they say when they talk about the need for more residential density?”
Chaffin said the site’s existing zoning allows a mix of residential office and commercial uses, though it does not require a mix. A development could be all residential, all commercial/office, or a combination of uses.
Jeff Jack, a resident of the nearby Zilker neighborhood, said: “My personal concern is that the building is too tall at 96 feet” for a location where height is capped at 60 feet.
“In short another step in turning the south shore into an expanded downtown, walling off both sides of the river corridor one project at a time,” Jack said.
In a controversial case, a site just across South Lamar that formerly housed a Taco Cabana received PUD zoning and 96 feet of allowable height, although that project has yet to break ground.
The 218 S. Lamar development would have access to both South Lamar and Toomey Street, Chaffin said.
All parking would be in an underground garage, and parking would be made available to the public after hours, Swor said.
Portions of the garage could be used for parking and storage by the Zach Theatre, which is located next door, according to city filings.
Those filings indicate the ground-floor uses could include retailers and a high-turnover restaurant.
Once the PUD application is submitted, it will be reviewed by city staff and undergo other reviews by various city committees, Chaffin said. The Austin City Council will have the final say on the zoning change, she said.