The skyline and other parts of Austin will see some changes this year with new developments set to open.
From tech giants set to welcome workers to housing for UT students, these are some projects to look out for in 2022.
Block 185 | 601 W. 2nd Street
After about three years in the works, Google workers are expected to take over Austin’s tallest office tower. It is slated to be complete in May. Plus, we'll see Uchi's newest restaurant Uchibā take post in the building.
The sailboat-inspired downtown building is expected to stand at 594 feet. Also included is a creekside tenant amenity, retail space and a boardwalk. The tower will also feature outdoor roof areas for prime views of Lady Bird Lake.
Apple Campus | West Parmer Lane and Dallas Drive
Thirty years since Apple first established a presence in Austin, the company is set to deepen its roots with a $1 billion campus in Northwest Austin. Apple has previously said employees will start reporting to the campus sometime this year, though COVID-19 has caused delays to in-person work.
The 133-acre campus, near its office on West Parmer Lane, includes 2 million square feet of office space, a 192 room hotel and space to bring in 5,000 employees.
Waterloo Central tower | 701 E. 5th Street
In July 2020, Hippo Analytics, a California-based property insurance company that uses AI and big data to analyze property information, signed a lease at the five-story office tower.
With a curtain wall glass design taking up 39,000 square feet, this project is expected to be completed sometime in Q2.
Moody Center | 2001 Robert Dedman Dr.
In replacement of the Frank Erwin Center, this $338 million arena will be able to seat 10,000 for Texas Longhorn basketball games and up to 5,000 more for other events. It will make its official debut in April.
The arena takes its name from the Moody Foundation, which gave $130 million toward construction.
Concerts have already been booked, including a first performance by John Mayer and a George Strait and Willie Nelson show. Click here for scheduled events so far.
Waterloo West Campus tower | 2400 Seton Ave.
With 241 units spanning 30 stories, the $77.6 million student housing complex in West Campus will be the tallest tower in the neighborhood at 300 feet. An exact completion date has not been announced.
Lincoln Ventures, the Austin-based developers behind the plan, have said 20% of units will be affordable housing with the remainder going at the market rate. The building will include amenities fit for college students, including conference rooms, a rooftop terrace with a fitness center and a complimentary coffee bar.
RiverSouth tower | 401 S. First St.
Stream signs powerhouse law firm as the first tenant for its signature Austin project, RiverSouth. International law firm Baker Botts has signed a 12-year lease to assume 50,000 square feet of the 350,611 square-foot office tower. http://bit.ly/rs-bakerbotts\u00a0pic.twitter.com/1RhiQqaa4D— Stream Realty Partners (@Stream Realty Partners) 1559597880
Located at the intersections of South First Street, West Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Road, this 15-story office building will be finished next month and start move-ins in May. Taking up 17,000 square feet, it includes an underground parking and bike storage, a fitness center and a lounge with skyline views.
The developer, Stream, said the leasing demand “has been nothing short of remarkable.” Already, 50% of the building is pre-leased to tenants such as AlertMedia and some Austin-based businesses.
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By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.