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Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 6:43 AM
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Cool AUSTIN | Lambie Cove Residential | Feet? | Floors? | Proposed

Last week in the Update Thread I posted a Streetview shot and some information about a street vacation along 48 East Ave. that was item C23 on the Planning Commission's 04/14/15 meeting agenda. I thought the vacation might be related to the 48 East residential tower, but it turns out to be an entirely new residential tower across the street between East Ave. and I-35.

Perry Lorenz is one of the developers, and although the project is in it's very early stages, it's planned to have 200 residential units on top of an above ground parking garage with ground floor retail. Included in the retail will be a 12,000+ Sq. Ft. full service grocery store.

The reason for the vacation of the city's easement around the site is so the F.A.R. can be increased for a taller tower. The city's extensive easement around East Ave. is left over from the days before I-35 was built, and East Ave. was the main thoroughfare through Austin. This is the last remnant of the easement that hasn't been vacated for development.

All this information can be found in an hour long discussion of item C23 during the 03/24/15 Planning Commission meeting on the Planning Commissions website:

http://www.austintexas.gov/cityclerk...tings/40_1.htm

There was of course opposition to the project, and surprisingly enough (not) it is a group of residents living in the Towers of Town Lake condos whose views will be blocked. But of course the blocked views were not presented as the issue. Among other things, the speaker for the residents wants the surface parking lot currently on the site to remain. Another Tower of Town Lake resident mentioned that he doesn't want to have to walk to Cedar Park to see his grand kid because the traffic created from this project will block his exit from the Rainey St. area. Wow. Just SMH.

Here are some screen shots of the project. The quality is not very good as they came from a poor quality online video of the Planning Commission meeting.

This view is looking south. The shaded upper portion of the tower massing is the additional height that would be allowed from the increased F.A.R. that the developers would get from the vacation.





This next view looking north is awesome because it includes all of the U/C and proposed towers in that area. (I really hope the Waller Park Place towers get built as currently proposed.)
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Last edited by KevinFromTexas; Apr 22, 2015 at 6:36 AM. Reason: Added thread icon
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:36 AM
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Here's another view of the massing looking south:

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Last edited by The ATX; Apr 20, 2015 at 5:12 AM.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 12:01 PM
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Wow these are great finds, Hill Country! I never would have had the patience to watch an hour-long video on something so minor as an alley vacation. Austin forum members rock!

BTW, if all these projects actually get built, we might as well start calling the Rainey Street District "Little Vancouver."
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 1:55 PM
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And you get a personal freeway to use if you move there.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 5:12 PM
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No kidding about the personal freeway. So much for having to walk to Cedar Park. But I can see the concern of current residents who don't want their unobstructed view of I-35 in any way compromised.

Seriously, though... that's a photograph with only the building outline added. It doesn't look like cars were scrubbed from the scene, so... what gives? Obama"s entourage was approaching? Or, as I currently suspect, does this photograph document a mass alien abduction which none of us remember? Note that there are parked (i.e., unoccupied) vehicles in the scene, but no moving vehicles. The aliens took the cars with the people in order to prevent a massive pileup of catastrophic proportion, and for that I thank them.
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:21 PM
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Ehhhh. As much as I would like to see the taller building, I think the The Towers of Town Lake residents have a point. Just hear me out... I can see how traffic could be an issue.

If we increase density in this part of Austin, it makes shoppers such a short distance away from urban neighborhood destinations that people will walk there instead of driving (like the proposed 12,000 sqft grocery store). If people start walking to get groceries, then that will be one less reason to drive around in their car. You know, driving, the way people are supposed to get around in Austin, like we did 20 years ago. This density sets a dangerous precedence and I don't think these big-city Dallas developers have respect for my rose-colored version of 1990s Austin.

For example, can you imagine the sidewalk traffic problems that would result if people started walking instead of driving? If you've ever waited for hours in pedestrian traffic while authorities clear the trail after a stroller roll-over on the Butler Trail around Town Lake, then you know my pain. (BTW, why can't we just force strollers use Caesar Chavez sidewalk bypass around the lake to reduce traffic, right?!).

But friends, you have to look at the big picture. If ALL of these California condo high rises get built then how will our children grow up in the same Austin I did?

Imagine a future where people live tightly clustered in small, walkable neighborhoods. People might walk to bus and rail stations, actually making public transportation economically viable, supported by regular ridership.

Can you imagine the repercussions of people commuting via bus or rail to work instead of their car--the environmental impacts alone will crush our fragile asphalt ecosystems--our pot-hole salamanders and curb spiders are already endangered-vulnerable species. Our neighborhood experts have determined that if their numbers go any lower, then the entire central Texas ecosystem is in danger of collapse.

But the real fear is not what could happen above the streets, but below. If public transportation becomes popular, then buses and rail cars will fill up with passengers and become more heavily loaded. We know what that means: more weight from tires and rails compressing our fragile limestone aquifers. The last thing we want to do is squeeze water out of our aquifers under the weight of efficiently loaded mass transit vehicles.

We're already in a drought, people. I'm not sure Edwards aquifer can handle the impact of a transportation system designed with sustainability in mind.

So my friends on the forum, while we all appreciate tall buildings like Domain 2 and Domain 3, it's important that we don't disregard the often overlooked side effects of skyscraper construction like foot-traffic jams or aquifer squeezing. Next time you are driven to face-palm or roll your eyes out of despair for those with a keen appreciation for the pot-hole salamander, take a moment and consider the carefully articulated arguments made by our NIMBY brethren. That is all, and have a good weekend.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 8:30 PM
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BTW, great find Hill Country!
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 9:25 PM
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Matt, your logic is unassailable. You have clearly articulated issues which I have never contemplated. The dystopian urban future you've outlined would most likely include a higher incidence of bicycle-pedestrian accidents and right-of-way conflicts. And, for motorists, there will be an increased danger of being hit by a bicycle, possibly causing dents and other auto damage, not to mention the inconvenience of having to get out of one's car to see if the careless cyclist is still alive.

Thank you for sounding the alarm, and kudos to those residents of the Towers of Town Lake who are spearheading the effort to prevent the further erosion of our right to park in the sun and operate our vehicles on roads uncluttered with "alternative" modes of transportation.
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2015, 11:53 PM
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Great job, Hill Country. I'll definitely be sharing your find!
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2015, 6:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneStarMike View Post
Wow these are great finds, Hill Country! I never would have had the patience to watch an hour-long video on something so minor as an alley vacation. Austin forum members rock!

BTW, if all these projects actually get built, we might as well start calling the Rainey Street District "Little Vancouver."
I actually had to watch a good chunk of the 04/14 meeting video to find out that the developer's proposal was made during the 03/24 meeting. But I knew there would be a payoff because alley/street vacations adjacent to a known proposal (48 East in this case) or to a surface lot (which was also the case) are almost always for a big project.

The Planning Commission seems mixed on this and are going to hear this for a third time. Someone at the meeting also said vacations have to go to City Council for final approval. If that's the case, we will get a good idea how the new City Council feels about downtown development.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2015, 7:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Matt View Post
Ehhhh. As much as I would like to see the taller building, I think the The Towers of Town Lake residents have a point. Just hear me out... I can see how traffic could be an issue.

If we increase density in this part of Austin, it makes shoppers such a short distance away from urban neighborhood destinations that people will walk there instead of driving
Lol. The thing is, I actually live DT and my wife and I may be the only actually people that actually walk. Yep, witness it 1st hand on a daily basis for many years. All of our neighbors seem to hop in a car, any car. Bus not included. No parking space, you gotta a problem......
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Old Posted Apr 20, 2015, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JAM View Post
Lol. The thing is, I actually live DT and my wife and I may be the only actually people that actually walk. Yep, witness it 1st hand on a daily basis for many years. All of our neighbors seem to hop in a car, any car. Bus not included. No parking space, you gotta a problem......
Totally agree, I'm one of those people. I live downtown, but drive to work daily. Someday I'll find a job downtown so I don't have to take my car at all.
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Old Posted Apr 20, 2015, 8:19 PM
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This idea is something Larry Nelson tried to do with this very site back in 2008. At that time, he was trying to obtain the entitlements to build a 16-story hotel/condo building on the Lambie Street/East Avenue site. It was not, however, his intent to actually develop the property.

Nelson's group was trying to receive CBD-CURE zoning and raise the FAR from 8:1 to at least 12:1. As with the situation now, one must still obtain a variance from the Rainey Street sub-district to do so.
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2015, 6:53 AM
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Nice find, Hill Country. I'm guessing it's probably around 250 feet or so judging by Austin Skyhouse. At that height if it were complete today, it would be Austin's 36th tallest building.

http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=229116

I checked one of the backup links (linked above), and it has some clearer versions of the images from the video.

That link also says the grocery store will be a Fresh Plus (the owner of the grocer says so).



0





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Old Posted Apr 23, 2015, 1:46 PM
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I really hope the Rainey St District proposals get built. If those massings in the rendering below are completed as proposed, it will be an awesome sight as you pass through Downtown.

I don't think we can read too much into the height of the Lambie proposal based on the massing. The developers were downplaying the scope of the building because of the whiny Towers of Town Lake crowd as well as traffic issues which is why I-35 is empty. They would have a harder time arguing against any congestion increase if they showed an actual aerial of what I-35 looks like most of the time.

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Old Posted Apr 23, 2015, 3:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hill Country View Post
I really hope the Rainey St District proposals get built. If those massings in the rendering below are completed as proposed, it will be an awesome sight as you pass through Downtown.

I don't think we can read too much into the height of the Lambie proposal based on the massing. The developers were downplaying the scope of the building because of the whiny Towers of Town Lake crowd as well as traffic issues which is why I-35 is empty. They would have a harder time arguing against any congestion increase if they showed an actual aerial of what I-35 looks like most of the time.

Okay, so looking at the massings, the light brown blocks are 70 Rainey and the Fairmont, right? The aqua ones are Waller Park Place, while the two twin green massings represent what could go in the lot adjacent to Waller that Sutton and MG Properties Group recently purchased. Then the white one near Waller Park Place is what could go on the lot Endeavor owns, while the yellow mid-rise is Millenium Rainey. Still, what is the white block that seems to be cutting into Skyhouse (obvious glitch), and the white rectangular massing near Millenium? Also where is 48 East on here, or is it not shown?
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2015, 4:41 PM
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and the white rectangular massing near Millenium?
The white square massing just south of Millennium Rainey facing the frontage road of IH 35 is Homewood Suites.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2015, 6:21 PM
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Also where is 48 East on here, or is it not shown?
It's not shown. It's located directly across the street from this new Lambie Street development.

It will occupy the lot where that 3-story, square, angled roof building is.

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Old Posted Apr 29, 2015, 7:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hill Country View Post
I actually had to watch a good chunk of the 04/14 meeting video to find out that the developer's proposal was made during the 03/24 meeting.
Here's an article from last month with more on what happened at the 03/24 meeting:

Planners, residents call for Rainey master plan
Austin Monitor
March 30, 2015


Quote:
The Planning Commission says it will likely deny several property owners’ joint request to vacate land on East Avenue, near Rainey Street, because the area needs a neighborhood plan.

Ben Turner of Consort Inc., representing four landowners, asked the commission at its meeting Tuesday to allow a total vacation of 19,700 square feet at the corner of East Avenue and Lambie Street. Turner admitted the property is located in a high-traffic area, but said the land can be developed into a high-rise and the vacation would allow for a larger space on the ground floor to house a small grocery store.

Turner said the vacation would account for only 200 additional vehicle trips per day. “It’s just a very small change in the traffic,” he said.
(There's more to the article, and anyone can read it without being a subscriber.)
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Old Posted Dec 3, 2015, 8:35 PM
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This one comes back to the Planning Commission on 12/08 because the developers are still seeking the same vacations that were denied in April. They have been having talks with the City since last April, so they must feel somewhat confident that they can get the vacations this time.

http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=243718
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