At its meeting earlier this week, the City of Austin Planning Commission voted to postpone a rezoning item on its agenda for further discussion next month, giving the applicant more time. to discuss the matter with the neighborhood in question. Old West Austin, a part of the city that is not known for its growth intensity compared to almost anywhere else so close to the city center. Still, there’s a lot of potential for infill development along the West Fifth and Sixth Street corridors in this area, especially if you don’t think self-storage buildings do a lot for the vibe around here.
The subject land being rezoned is a 1.38 acre property complex at the northwest corner of Fifth West and Walsh Streets, currently occupied by several single storey commercial buildings. The owners, a group comprising major Austin investors Jimmy nassor and Walter Penn in the same way Endeavor Real Estate Group main director David Roberts, hope for a rezoning allowing a potential 450 units multi-family residential project up to 90 feet high up – as part of the area’s neighborhood plan and its efforts to encourage residential development, a similar commercial project under the same new zoning would only allow a 60-foot building.
Depending on the height from the ground, a height limit of 90 feet could bring about eight or nine floors of multi-family residences to the area, and would be one of the only new projects here to exceed the common “one plus five” configuration – the le le only other building this high in the neighborhood right now is the 100-foot Capstar at the Compass Plaza office building in 1703 Fifth Street West. As we have seen in other recent projects in the region in general, once a building gets a little taller than the five or six stories of the typical “Texas Donut” its design often becomes much more interesting – the nearby Shoal Cycle project, also rising 90 feet after a similar bump in the planning board, is a prime example of what these buildings can be.
While we don’t know for sure what the discussion between the nominees and the Old West Austin Neighborhood Association will entail until the commission meets again on October 12, it’s still interesting to see new projects working to move beyond. the typical height limits in this area, which does not experience as much development as other areas adjacent to the city center – especially when these projects bring additional housing to the table. We’re sure residents of largely single-family neighborhoods like nearby Clarksville would agree that the West Fifth and Sixth Street corridors that run through this area are great places for taller buildings.