Beyond Residential: Other Downtown Projects

While the focus of AustinTowers is downtown high-rise residential development, there are a number of non-residential projects that will also help reshape downtown over the next few years. Here are a few:

W Hotel - The new W Hotel will anchor the $225 million "Block 21" project in the heart of the second street district. If it is like other W's, the upscale design-themed hotel's bar and lobby will likely prove to be a popular nightspot. Block 21 will also include 200 high-end condos, a Willie-Nelson owned nightclub, a new Austin Children's museum, new studios for the Austin City Limits TV program, and 50,000 square feet of street-level retail. The project is expected to be completed in 2009.


Is this the Future Austin Skyline?

With more than a dozen high-rise projects currently in the planning or construction phases, Austin's skyline will change fast. This composite image (source unknown) provides a sense of the scale of the different projects. Note that the Congress Condos has been renamed the Austonian and is currently planned at 55 stories -- about the height of the Tom Stacy project at 5th and Congress. The Frost Bank Building, sometimes referred to as the world's largest nose hair trimmer, will no longer dominate the Austin skyline.

Future Austin Skyline

The Downtown Condo Market: 2003-2006

It's not easy to get a clear picture of downtown condo sales volumes. Real estate sales statistics are reported by MLS area, and the downtown area cuts across a few zones: Area 4 runs from Guadalupe to I-35. Area 1B runs from Scenic on the west to Guadalupe / Lamar. Both are bounded on the south by Town Lake and the north by 2222. There are also some projects south of town lake in Area 6. While most of the downtown units are captured in these statistics, there are also some units near the university, in Tarrytown, and in the other corners of central austin contained in area 1B and 4.

So what do the numbers show? Downtown condo sales grew from 2004-2006 by 33% while sales volumes in the larger Austin market grew by 27%. In fact, downtown condo sales as a % of all Austin condo sales actually shrunk from 31% to 25% during the same period. In 2006, a total of 619 condo units were sold in areas 1B and 4.

I draw three conclusions from the numbers:

Welcome to AustinTowers!

I've been closely following Austin downtown residential development for the last couple off years. It's been amazing. Developers are currently investing more than a billion dollars to build dozens of downtown residential projects. This will bring new life to downtown and the city, new tax revenues, while reducing growth in traffic and sprawl. Read More...