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Inside SXSW’s planned new HQ

Festival & Conferences break ground, reveal plans for 12-story downtown building

Rendering of curvy white building
Rendering of future SXSW Center at 1400 Lavaca Street
Renderings courtesy of Greenbelt Commercial

South by Southwest Festivals & Conferences, more colloquially known as SXSW, broke ground on its new headquarters, planned for 1400 Lavaca Street, Tuesday.

The ceremonial groundbreaking was actually held at the nearby Doubletree Austin Hotel, which overlooks the site. A 3D model of the future building was also revealed.

The planned 145,000-square-foot building, which is officially called SXSW Center and owned by CZ Properties, is mere steps from the state Capitol. The 12-story tower will include the SXSW offices, designed by Gensler, on the top three floors (as well as the 13th floor penthouse and rooftop deck, where we suspect there will be room for a volleyball court and a possible shrine to Roky Erickson).

On the first floor will be lobby, retail, and office space, and five floors are dedicated to parking. Remaining floors will be leased to other businesses and will include public space as well as retail and restaurants.

Along with Gensler, the design team includes lead architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, locally based landscape architects dwg, the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems as and sustainability consultant. The developer is Victor Young of Greenbelt Commercial.

With a target of receiving Austin Energy 2-star and LEED Gold certifications, the center will include such features as a rain garden on the front plaza, a grove of heritage live oak trees, low VOC interior finishes, low-flow plumbing fixtures, xeriscaping or native landscaping, bicycle rooms and showers, compliance with the Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO), a high-performance curtain wall, and efficient mechanical systems that will are project to result in 14% more energy efficiency performance 14% greater than that of a conventional building.

SXSW Center is expected to open in late 2019.