The Related Cos.' plan to raise a new mixed-use urban node along South Congress Avenue would bring more high-density development to the southern banks of Lady Bird Lake. THE RELATED COMPANIES

Austin Business Journal reports, "a New York-based real estate development firm is planning to transform a 6-acre site at the intersection of South Congress Avenue and West Riverside Drive with high-rise towers — the latest indication that Austin's downtown skyline is poised to expand across Lake Bird Lake.

The Related Cos. wants to establish a planned unit development with a maximum building height of 575 feet, or about 50 stories. The multitower project would include approximately 800 residential units, as well as a 225-room hotel, 200,000 square feet of office space, 90,000 square feet of retail space, 30,000 square feet of space for restaurants and a 25,000-square-foot grocery store, in addition to an underground parking garage, according to documents submitted to the city.

The project would take place within Austin's South Central Waterfront District, a 118-acre area that in the years to come is expected to become a dense, walkable neighborhood that more closely resembles the Central Business District on the other side of the lake.

The aim is to “create a great place for people” that will become the “heart” of the area and stand as an example of a “walkable, environmentally-friendly place," said Mike Iannacone, Related's executive vice president and its top local official.

Speaking during a Feb. 21 meeting of the Austin Environmental Commission, Iannacone said the project is intended as a transit-focused project that will create a pedestrian-centered environment along the planned route for the city’s coming light rail network.

“A lot of it is about developing buildings with an eye toward the future and future adaptability,” he said.

The company's plan also includes an elevated boardwalk and a trail along East Bouldin Creek intended to encourage pedestrian traffic between South Congress and South First Street.

Related’s Austin office declined to provide further comment.

A Chevron gas station located at 400 S. Congress Ave. also would be included in the project if it is acquired by Related, according to a letter submitted to the city by the company’s legal counsel, Austin attorney Richard Suttle of Armbrust & Brown PLLC.

Austin-based civil engineering, design, management and consulting firm Garza EMC LLC and traffic engineering, transportation planning and development consulting firm BOE Consulting Services are participating in the project, city documents show.

The property, valued at $60.2 million by the Travis Central Appraisal District, includes the addresses 500 and 510 South Congress Ave., 105 West Riverside Drive, and 407 ½ Haywood Ave.

The locations are currently occupied by the South Congress Square Apartments, Ego’s Bar and a five-story office tower, in addition to another commercial building that previously housed a Travis County Mental Health office. Combined, the two commercial buildings total more than 70,000 square feet of space.

The site is part of Related’s growing Austin portfolio, which also includes plans to build a 15-story office tower atop the Hyatt Regency Austin’s parking lot on the southern shore of Lady Bird Lake at 208 Barton Springs Road.

In addition, the firm is constructing a sustainably sourced mass timber building at 901 S. Congress Ave. That undertaking, part of a growing trend of environmentally friendly large-scale timber construction projects in Austin, will result in about 260,000 square feet of office space in a building that's seven stories high, or about 75-feet tall.

The South Central Waterfront District is subject to a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ. The program was launched in 2022. A TIRZ is a financing tool used to help pay for redevelopment in specific areas. Taxes collected on real estate improvements made in a TIRZ are set aside for use within the zone.

Nearby, Endeavor Real Estate Group plans to transform the former Austin-American Statesman headquarters into another multi-tower mixed-use development.

Related, which is the firm behind New York’s Hudson Yards, made a $65 million offer for the South Congress site in September 2022. The site was previously owned by Austinite Nate Paul's embattled real estate investment firm World Class Holdings, although Paul lost it in a bankruptcy filing.

Before it was acquired by Related, the property spent several months in limbo because a holding company associated with Paul, Rising Tide Investments LLC, initially planned to purchase it out of bankruptcy for $95.1 million. That deal eventually fell through, however, opening the door for Related to buy the site.

In the suburbs, a Related subsidiary is considering plans for a $65 million, 310,000-square-foot facility in Lockhart as part of its $1 billion foray into the cold storage industry."


Source: Austin Business Journal 

Written by: Mike Christen

Published: February 22, 2024

Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on


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