The up and up: City’s tallest tower planned

De­vel­oper plan­ning 62-story tower for down­town Austin.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Shonda No­vak sno­vak@states­man.com

A San An­to­nio-based de­vel­oper is plan­ning to build an 850-foot­tall sky­scraper in down­town Austin, which would be the city’s tallest build­ing.

Lynd De­vel­op­ment Part­ners is team­ing with Dal­las-based Lin­coln Prop­erty Co. on the pro­posed mixed-use tower, which is planned for 600 Guadalupe St., Lynd Pres­i­dent and CEO Michael Lynd Jr. told the Amer­i­can-States­man. The build­ing would have more than 300 lux­ury apart­ments atop of­fice and re­tail space, Lynd said.

The tower as cur­rently de­signed has 62 sto­ries, although there could be more, pos­si­bly up to the “mid-70s” range, Lynd said.

At 850 feet, it would eclipse both the 56-story Aus­to­nian con­do­minium high-rise, which is 683 feet tall, and the In­de­pen­dent, a 58-story con­do­minium high-rise (nick­named the “Jenga Tower” for its un­usual de­sign) cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion that is on track to be 685 feet tall.

“We are go­ing to de­velop a 21st-cen­tury tower that is truly mixed-use in one of the most

vi­brant neigh­bor­hoods in all of Texas,” Lynd said. “This will be an iconic tower. We are very ex­cited about this project and its prom­i­nent ad­dress on Sixth and Guadalupe.”

Along with apart­ments, the build­ing would have more than half a mil­lion square feet of of­fice space, plus ground-floor re­tail space, Lynd said.

The project is be­ing de­signed by Gensler’s Austin of­fice.

Austin-based real es­tate con­sul­tant Charles Heim­sath, pres­i­dent of Capi­tol Mar­ket Re­search, said, “This is a su­per-ex­cit­ing an­nounce­ment on a block that is one of a small hand­ful of full­block sites left in down­town.”

There is no of­fi­cial name for the build­ing yet, which is go­ing un­der the work­ing name of 600 Guadalupe for now. Lynd didn’t have a pro­jected cost for the project, and he wouldn’t com­ment on fi­nanc­ing ex­cept to say he’s con­fi­dent Lynd and Lin­coln will be able to ob­tain it.

The pro­posed project would be built on the block bounded by West Sixth, West Sev­enth, Guadalupe and San An­to­nio streets, now home to an Ex­tended Stay Amer­ica ho­tel. Lynd said his com­pany has the site un­der con­tract from Ex­tended Stay for an undis­closed price. The ho­tel was built in 2000, ac­cord­ing to the Travis Cen­tral Ap­praisal Dis­trict, which val­ued the 1.6-acre site at $19.5 mil­lion this year.

Lynd said his com­pany will be sub­mit­ting plans for the project for re­view by the city of Austin in the near fu­ture. He said he an­tic­i­pates break­ing ground in the next nine to 12 months.

The of­fice por­tion of the project would open first, with space ready to oc­cupy just over two years af­ter break­ing ground, Lynd said. The en­tire project is ex­pected to take four years to com­plete, Lynd said.

Lynd said ex­ist­ing en­ti­tle­ments on the site al­low for up to 1.1 mil­lion square feet of de­vel­op­ment. The build­ing would be de­signed to con­cen­trate most of its height on the east­ern por­tion of the tract, to com­ply with rules de­signed to pre­serve views of the Capi­tol dome.

Lynd said that given the lim­ited num­ber of sites in down­town Austin that are en­ti­tled for de­vel­op­ment, “we felt us­ing as much of the en­ti­tle­ments (as pos­si­ble) is wise.”

The tower wouldn’t be the first project in down­town Austin for Lynd or Lin­coln.

Lin­coln de­vel­oped 5th+Colorado, a new 18-story of­fice tower whose ten­ants in­clude In­deed Inc. Lynd, mean­while, part­nered with Austin-based En­deavor Real Es­tate Group to de­velop the Bowie, a 36-story apart­ment tower near West Fifth and Bowie streets.

Heim­sath said he be­lieves am­ple de­mand ex­ists in down­town Austin to sup­port ad­di­tional of­fice and apart­ment de­vel­op­ment.

“The mix of of­fice and apart­ment use is ex­actly what is needed in down­town as both mar­ket seg­ments are very fa­vor­able for new de­vel­op­ment at the present time,” he said.

Lynd said his com­pany is in talks with po­ten­tial of­fice ten­ants, but he de­clined to elab­o­rate.

“Given down­town oc­cu­pan­cies, there’s a lot of de­mand in the mar­ket,” Lynd said.

Rents for top-tier of­fice space down­town set a record as of June, av­er­ag­ing $54.11 a square foot per year, Cush­man & Wake­field said in its lat­est quar­terly of­fice re­port. Sev­eral of­fice build­ings are un­der con­struc­tion, and a high-pro­file one re­cently opened called 500 West 2nd. That tower, whose an­chor tenant is Google, has 505,00 square feet of space and is 95 per­cent leased.

On the res­i­den­tial side, four con­do­minium high­rises are un­der con­struc­tion in down­town Austin, as well as a tower with about 200 apart­ments that Gables Res­i­den­tial is build­ing that also will have a Ho­tel ZaZa.

With down­town’s apart­ment sup­ply dwin­dling and con­ces­sions start­ing to go away as the new­est build­ings lease up, “we ex­pect to see rents to be­gin to rise on down­town lux­ury projects,” Lynd said.

Sev­eral apart­ment tow­ers have been an­nounced for down­town, the most re­cent be­ing a 44-story high-rise planned for the Sul­li­van’s Steak­house site at West Third and Colorado streets, and two apart­ment tow­ers that a Dal­las de­vel­oper en­vi­sions for a site that now houses the Vil­las on Town Lake con­do­mini­ums at the end of Red River Street.

GENSLER AUSTIN

An artist’s ren­der­ing shows the sky­scraper planned for 600 Guadalupe St., which would rise to 850 feet and sit­u­ate 300 lux­ury apart­ments above of­fice and re­tail space.

515 feet

Frost Bank Tower

581 feet

360 Con­do­mini­ums

685 feet

The In­de­pen­dent (nick­named the “Jenga Tower”); un­der con­struc­tion

850 feet

Un­named project pro­posed for 600 Guadalupe St.

683 feet

The Aus­to­nian

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