While Austin sprawl—like Austin’s boom—is old news, it’s easy to focus on the city center when looking at growth (the towers! so tall! so easy to mock and/or adore!). The truth is, Austin’s growing everywhere—and some projects are growing not just out, but up, directing attention—as well as more businesses and residents—away from downtown. From stadiums to waterways, they’re also taking increasingly varied and interesting forms. Here are 10 Austin development stories that deserve your attention.Read More
10 developments poised to alter the Austin landscape
Big projects spread across the city as a new decade takes shape
Apple’s $1 billion new campus in north Austin broke ground last year and is expected to be completed in 2022. The 133-acre facility is less than a mile from its current local campus off Parmer at Riata Vista, just south of Jollyville. The new campus will have space for up to 15,000 workers and will add 5,000 jobs in the immediate future. In terms of development, though, Apple is merely the reason, not the prize: It’s surrounded by 7,000 acres of undeveloped land called Robinson Ranch, positioned for potential (and seemingly inevitable) development in myriad ways, about which the owners have kept mostly mum.
Several thousand square feet of new space is in various stages of development in the area of the current Domain complex, including: Domain 9, an 18-story office tower with 332,865 square feet of rentable space; Domain 10, 15-story, 300,000-square foot office building whose primary tenant is Amazon; Domain 14 and 15, proposed high-rises that could have hotel, office, apartment, or condo uses; Domain Z4, a proposed 60,000-square-foot class building.
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Austin FC stadium
After a semiprotracted battle over the construction of a new stadium for the city’s new Major League Soccer League team, Austin FC, ground was broken late last year and season tickets sold out almost immediately upon becoming available. Located at McCalla Place in north Austin, the $190 million, the Gensler-designed facility will hold 20,500 spectators as well as a variety of bars, clubs, suites, and outdoor spaces. Scheduled to debut with the FC at the start of the MLS 2021 season. In addition to fans, the facility is already attracting surrounding commercial development.
Grove at Shoal Creek
Despite vociferous neighborhood pushback and some hangups in various city committees, the 76-acre, mixed-use development prevailed and indeed already has homeowners living there, despite the fact that the whole thing won’t be completed for another couple of years. A total of 1,500 housing units as well as office and retail space are planned.
Another Gensler design, the Moody Center isn’t a large development, but it’s part of a wave of significant changes transforming the northeast part of the University of Texas campus and adjacent central city spaces. Intended to replace the iconic-ish Frank Erwin Center at 17th and Red River (which will be demolished and replaced by new additions to the Medical Center campus), the new, multipurpose arena will be the new seat 10,000 for Texas Longhorns basketball and up to 15,000 for other events. Oak View Group and the University of Texas are building the $338 million arena, which will be named for the Moody Foundation, which contributed $130 million toward its the construction. It’s expected to open in 2022.
Innovation flagship tower
Without venturing too much into the subject of new downtown towers (a different map, which you can find here), it should be noted that the reopening of Waterloo Park and a planned 324,000-square-foot, 17-story office building on part of the former Brackenridge hospital campus will, hopefully, lend shape to the development of what keeps being called the “Innovation District” for some reason.
As the dust in the air around the Texas Capitol attests, work on what will ultimately be four new office buildings north of the current complex and a pedestrian mall on Congress Avenue between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The 1.5 million-square-foot project is budgeted to cost $895 million and is planned to be completed in two phases, one in summer 2022 and the other by fall 2025.
While Waterloo Greenway isn’t a development in the sense we’re used to thinking of these things (i.e., not a big building, not a group of buildings), it has and continues to have a profound impact on the way the city looks, feels, and functions. the ultimate goal of Waterloo Conservancy, overseeing the project, is to restore, recreate, and connect 37 acres of city parkland that runs through the eastern side of downtown from East 15th Street to Lady Bird Lake. The north end of the greenway will include a new facility, the Moody Amphitheater, and Waterloo Park, which has been under renovation for some time but is scheduled to reopen in 2020. A secondary effect will undoubtedly be more private development adjacent to the creek, especially on the east side of downtown.
Austin American-Statesman site
The 19-acre south riverfront site of the local daily’s offices and, formerly, printing presses (as well as a go-to for bat-watching) is slated to become a mixed-use development of up to 3.5 million square feet, including several towers, 3,700 parking spaces, and possible a pedestrian bridge over Lady Bird Lake.
While changes that will allow it to go forward were approved in the face of sustained protest in October, the proposed development for 4700 Riverside Drive doesn’t really have a name, other than its address and the derisive “Domain on Riverside” moniker applied by those who objected to developers’ intention to demolish affordable apartment complexes in the area. The Austin American-Statesman reported in October that housing, retail, restaurants, offices, and a hotel are planned for the 97-acre site and that the mixed-used development will “be built in phases over 10 to 20 years.”