Developers planning an office tower on the northern end of downtown haven't put shovels in the ground yet, but some recently patched holes on the site reveal the group is moving forward with its proposal.
The holes were part of a geotechnical study on the land.
Before any tall building is constructed, holes are drilled into the ground to collect soil samples that provide guidance for designing the foundation.
The site is next to Market Square Park and is bordered by Preston, Prairie, Milam and Travis.
Civil engineer Edward Ulrich, whose firm conducted the geotechnical study, compares the different components of engineering a skyscraper to the human body.
"The architect designs the skin. The structural engineer designs the bones. The mechanical engineer designs the circulation. My job as a foundation engineer is to design your feet," said Ulrich, of Houston-based Ulrich Engineers.
The proposed tower would be developed by Essex Commercial Properties, the real estate firm affiliated with general contracting firm Linbeck Group, and Stream Realty Partners.
Essex president Eugene Lee said the developers are exploring ideas that would enhance the area's pedestrian and retail environment.
"We're hoping we can be an additional catalyst around Market Square Park," he said.
A start date has not been set for the project, which could have 750,000 square feet.