700 River apartment tower inaugurates Rainey Street – TOWERS


The view from the 700 River Tower over Lady Bird Lake, as seen from a furnished roof terrace. Picture: HKS/HSR

A 43-story residential tower bound for the corner of Rainey and River streets in downtown Austin’s fastest growing neighborhood announced its grand opening today – but given that site preparation and crane installation were visibly underway on the half-acre lot of this future building at 700 River Street since the start of the summer, we’re just happy to see its developers finally making things official. Formerly known as Placeholder River Street Residences, the 400,000 square foot tower now called 700 River is the vision of Main Street Residential, a subsidiary of the famous Dallas real estate company Trammell Crow Company, work alongside a national investment group based in New York MSD Partners and local developer River Street Partners.

container 377 apartments Ranging from studios to three-bedroom residences, the tower will feature 3,400 square feet of ground floor retail and over 30,000 square feet of residential amenity space. Blog followers may recall this project’s efforts to secure a right-of-way vacation for pedestrian access to the alley between Rainey Street and East Avenue – and although today’s breakthrough ad doesn’t mention this feature, probably out of an understandable desire not to look like a huge nerd, we think it’s a real step forward for the mobility of the neighborhood and the potential for creating places at street level like Rainey continues to rise.

The future Rainey Street skyline looks like a second downtown Austin

Given this rate of vertical growth on Rainey Street in recent years, one of the most obvious advantages of the 700 River Tower’s corner location is its unobstructed west-facing view of Lady Bird Lake, which is expected to remain largely protected due to the presence of the relatively low-rise Emma S. Barrientos Mexican-American Cultural Center directly across the street – this facility is not expected to gain significant height, although it plans to double in size over the next few years.

A final render of 700 River on the Rainey Street skyline, seen here to the right of the 70 Rainey condos. Picture: HKS/HSR

From the plans we saw in 2020, the size of the tower has been reduced slightly in this final version – from 571 at 500 feet, or 48 to 43 floors. Early news of the development focused on the involvement of the San Antonio architectural firm Flato Lake, known for projects like Austin’s new central library that incorporate local materials and sustainable features to form a Texas design language.

That emphasis seems less prominent in today’s announcement two years later, with the Dallas-based project architect HKS is still working in conjunction with Lake Flato according to the press release, but with some changes to the design of the tower making the latter company’s signature a little less obvious – although it remains a striking building, with a roofline in slope and a trendy pleasure terrace at the top of its podium car park. Compared to the final rendering above, this is what the tower looked like in 2020:

Compared to the final version of the building, the differences in exterior appearance from the original plan mainly come down to a matter of personal taste – the tower’s footprint and shape are largely the same. Image: Flato Lake/HKS

With its almost direct access to the walking and biking trail on the lake a clear benefit for tower residents, according to today’s release, the 700 River project will partner with the Preservation of trails – fka the Trail Foundation, if you missed all this – as a sponsor of his next Rainey Street Trailhead Project, which we’ve followed almost obsessively for its potential as a premier public outdoor space in a neighborhood that could always use a little more.

The view from the pool deck of the tower atop its parking podium. Picture: HKS/HSR

700 River’s development team also includes general contractors DPR Construction, with partners No Walls Studio, Civilitude, Thornton Tomasetti, Blum Consulting Engineers, Campbell Landscape Architecture, Clodagh Design, and Studio Waldrop+Nichols. According to today’s announcement, the building will seek LEED Silver and Fitwell certifications, as well as a two-star rating in Austin Energy’s green building program required by the Downtown Density Bonus Program. The tower is currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2024.

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