While it’s possible that, as a lyric by Northwest band Sleater-Kinney put it, there are no cities to love, one thing is certain: Austin loves itself, very much, and seems happy to spread the love around. No, we are not the City of Brotherly Love (that’s Philly), nor does the city normally rank on the sort of “most romantic places” listicles that circulate around Valentine’s Day.
Yet we are a loving city—note, for instance, the wildly popular and selfie-centric “I Love You So Much” and “You’re My Better Half” murals, among others, and the decades of double entendres on the marquee of the Austin Motel for some of the more famous examples of this affection.
A mixed-use building in the works on East Fifth Street plans to keep spreading the love, not only with its name, Love More, but with an aesthetic that carries through the project. Designed on the current scale of its Holly neighborhood, it’s near many of the neighborhood’s popular restaurants and bars—including Launderette, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, and Lustre Pearl East—as well as breweries, galleries, and creative complexes.
Helping it ease into its surroundings will be Love More’s landscaping, to including native plants such as flowering desert willows for softening front pocket gardens as well as a private yard in back that will include two protected oaks and an outdoor dining room.
The three-story infill project, being developed by local firm Weaver Buildings, will be a small-scale building with 12 micro-lofts averaging 525 square feet on the top two floors and 2,692 square feet of ground-floor retail. The cost of residential units is expected to average $253,240.
The project architect is Scott Specht of award-winning firm Specht Architects, which has designed remarkable buildings around the world as well as several in Austin, including the Indeed headquarters and the recently opened Carpenter Hotel.
There are tentative plans for Love More to feature a mural by locally based artist Ender Martos. Weaver plans to begin work on the project in January and be completed by September 2019.