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Waterline: Mixed-Use Building to be Tallest Tower In Texas


Urbannizer

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I thought that the looming recession and tech downturn might put this one "on hold" and eventually kill it but it doesn't look like it. The one consolation for Houstonians sad about losing the state's tallest is that no one ever seemed to notice or care before who had the tallest, and so nobody will probably care now. On the other hand, when Austin holds the title, don't be surprised if it suddenly becomes important, just like fresh-delivered cookies and cheese shops suddenly became important when they got them. We can expect Texas Monthly to do a special feature on high-rise architecture in the next couple years, with Austin singled out as the leader.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This development seems kinda weird.  As mentioned above, the site has been cleared and they've started hauling out dirt, but as far as I can tell, no official announcement of the planned building has ever been made by the developer.  The only announcement by any element of the mixed-use is the news release by the hotel company posted above. I wonder if the hotel company jumped the gun... 

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7 minutes ago, Houston19514 said:

This development seems kinda weird.  As mentioned above, the site has been cleared and they've started hauling out dirt, but as far as I can tell, no official announcement of the planned building has ever been made by the developer.  The only announcement by any element of the mixed-use is the news release by the hotel company posted above. I wonder if the hotel company jumped the gun... 

The developer is holding off the official ground breaking for whatever reason until the fall.  That's roughly when the underground levels will be finished or at least pretty far along.

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7 minutes ago, The Hills said:

The developer is holding off the official ground breaking for whatever reason until the fall.  That's roughly when the underground levels will be finished or at least pretty far along.

Hmmm... very interesting, and odd.  I wonder what their thinking is

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm amazed this got off the ground, especially considering (IMHO), Austin's economy is about to fall off a cliff.  I'll be very interested to see how this does, but I genuinely could not imagine a worse time to be building a project of this scale in a market that is pretty tapped out and may be headed down in a hurry.  We shall see.

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2 hours ago, CREguy13 said:

I'm amazed this got off the ground, especially considering (IMHO), Austin's economy is about to fall off a cliff.  I'll be very interested to see how this does, but I genuinely could not imagine a worse time to be building a project of this scale in a market that is pretty tapped out and may be headed down in a hurry.  We shall see.

Surprised to see this.  What makes you think the Austin economy is about to fall off a cliff?

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To be clear I really like Austin and always enjoy that part of TX, so none of my comments reflect a distaste for the city itself.  This is solely my opinion and I could be totally wrong, but tech is going to get smacked very hard and its already starting with many companies announcing layoffs, terrible quarterly earnings going forward (Look at what happened to the market after Snap, Inc. reported yesterday 🤨), slowing hiring, cutting capex, etc. + early-stage software/soft-tech capital is seriously contracting and that trend will continue for several verticals.  Investors/VCs are tightening their purse strings and will stop pouring tons of money into growth companies that they normally would hope to exit in a few years or ipo, those days (in this cycle) are over in many areas of tech.  I think Austin will continue to be a great place to visit and certain people will still want to move there for lifestyle, outdoors, etc. but the job market that propelled it to crazy growth over many years and especially during Covid is about to take a big hit as that's largely been tech-related and industries that are not in growth mode anymore. The city has gotten way too expensive for being located somewhere not on the ocean.

Maybe Tech companies will consolidate their bases to Austin more (reducing job losses) and not in Bay area/other tech hubs and that may change a lot of the above.  But I believe this growth is unsustainable and they have overbuilt themselves.  They've been growing rapidly for a long time and I just don't see why Austin will not be heavily impacted like many other cities in this bad storm approaching. If Google, Facebook, Apple, Indeed,  and others start announcing much larger layoffs in the next few quarters and many of them are in Central TX, we will know.

All that said, I'm generally biased towards Houston, which I'll always happily admit, and I believe we are entering our golden era and the capital + job growth that will flow here will draw a lot of the national attention to our city over Austin and Dallas (fingers crossed).  I view Houston as being the most booming city of this decade for a variety of reasons.

Long-winded, but this is a summary of my "cliff comment" and general thinking. 

 

Edited by CREguy13
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On 7/23/2022 at 12:11 PM, CREguy13 said:

tech is going to get smacked very hard and its already starting with many companies announcing layoffs

I think the broader tech industry is going to be OK, but you are absolutely right that some sectors of the tech market that have been fueled by irresponsible VC funding are getting spanked back into their place.

I think the tech leveling-out won't hurt Austin as much as other places, because Austin's tech is less pie-in-the-sky services, and more focused on hardware than places like San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver.

A good indication of this is Samsung's recent announcement that it plans to build 11 new chip factories near Austin for $200 billion.  Tech companies that manufacture tangible goods are getting twitchy about instability in Asia, and are looking to spread out in more stable places around the world.  Austin happens to be one of those places.

It's my understanding that Apple and other big tech companies' presences in Austin are almost entirely hardware-related, too.  It's not like the Bay Area, which is driven by things like Twitter, Meta, and 12 thousands wannabe startups, which can much more easily vaporize. 

On a slightly related note, I don't understand the wisdom of building water-hungry chip fabs in a region of the world where rivers are drying up and dying.  Move it all a little bit closer to Houston, instead of Dallas.  If there's one thing Houston has, it's water.

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On 7/23/2022 at 12:11 PM, CREguy13 said:

I think Austin will continue to be a great place to visit and certain people will still want to move there for lifestyle, outdoors, etc. but the job market that propelled it to crazy growth over many years and especially during Covid is about to take a big hit as that's largely been tech-related and industries that are not in growth mode anymore. The city has gotten way too expensive for being located somewhere not on the ocean.

Maybe Tech companies will consolidate their bases to Austin more (reducing job losses) and not in Bay area/other tech hubs and that may change a lot of the above.  But I believe this growth is unsustainable and they have overbuilt themselves.

Enjoyed your post, thank you. Do you think Austin’s highway and housing limitations have also made greater San Antonio more favorably positioned for broad middle class economic growth this decade in what had traditionally been a military/tourism/eds and meds kind of family town?  Do you think South Florida’s and Sarasota-Ft Myers’ price booms have made the Orlando-Tampa corridor a similar middle class 2020s hub?  I could see them beating Houston because they’re more coastal than Houston and a lot of Easterners want to remain in the east.

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1 hour ago, strickn said:

Enjoyed your post, thank you. Do you think Austin’s highway and housing limitations have also made greater San Antonio more favorably positioned for broad middle class economic growth this decade in what had traditionally been a military/tourism/eds and meds kind of family town?  Do you think South Florida’s and Sarasota-Ft Myers’ price booms have made the Orlando-Tampa corridor a similar middle class 2020s hub?  I could see them beating Houston because they’re more coastal than Houston and a lot of Easterners want to remain in the east.

Good questions, but unfortunately, I am far from qualified to provide an intelligent answer to them.  My previous comment was based on my knowledge of the tech industry, not so much the real estate industry or Texas in general.  And, sadly, I know very little about Florida.

You are correct, though, about east coast people having an easier time picking Florida over Texas.  There's lots of interlinking transportation infrastructure and mixed culture pretty much from Miami to Boston.  As a former New Yorker, I can vouch for the notion that Texas is very "other" to people from the east coast.  Anything past Pennsylvania might as well be on Mars to some. 

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https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showpost.php?p=9688147&postcount=222


In case no one has pointed this out before, CTBUH shows that 2 of the 8 tallest US buildings under construction now are in Austin, with the other 6 in NYC. In a way, Austin has supplanted Chicago:

1    JPMorgan Chase World Headquarters    New York City (US)    
423 m

2    The Brooklyn Tower    New York City (US)    
324.9 m

3    The Spiral    New York City (US)    
314.2 m

4    98 Red River    Austin (US)    
311.2 m

5    262 Fifth Avenue    New York City (US)
304.7 m

6    50 Hudson Yards    New York City (US)    
299 m

7    Two Manhattan West    New York City (US)    
285 m

8    Sixth & Guadalupe    Austin (US)    
266.7 m

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  • The title was changed to 98 Red River: Mixed-Use Building to be Tallest Tower In Texas
On 7/30/2022 at 12:58 PM, Urbannizer said:

81HdzlI.jpg

The wicker basketweave skyscraper was stale in the 1960s.  

New York - 2 Broadway

Now, wrap it around a more random design to cross Flintstones with Jetsons and voila...  something that will be stale for the 2020s.

 

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On 7/30/2022 at 12:58 PM, Urbannizer said:

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It’s cool to see supertalls going up in Texas once again after a such a long hiatus but that’s one ugly ass building. 

People get paid to design this shit? Woof

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7 hours ago, tigereye said:

It’s cool to see supertalls going up in Texas once again after a such a long hiatus but that’s one ugly ass building. 

People get paid to design this shit? Woof

There is a fine line between a nice looking super tall and one that is not nice looking.  I think this building is not overly attractive - based on the renderings.  It’s striving for too much.  There is too many things happening.

Look at Gensler and Shanghai Tower for a quality super tall, or IM Pei and the Library Tower in LA.  Those are both nice tall buildings.  I shall not say anything about our local super tall besides it’s utilitarian design works well in the skyline, and is “also” an IM Pei building though designed by partner Henry Cobb.

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On 8/4/2022 at 1:23 PM, tigereye said:

It’s cool to see supertalls going up in Texas once again after a such a long hiatus but that’s one ugly ass building. 

People get paid to design this shit? Woof

Trying to be elegant and cool. Achieving neither.

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Okay, I’m not trying to be mean to Austin- even if I’m a tiny bit jealous they’re getting the tallest building now :p-but that tower ain’t it. Like, c’mon, you’re building the tallest building in Texas, but you got them chopping it up into three different sections, which makes it look disjointed and not as cohesive.

I will be the first in  line to admit that the chase tower is kinda ugly and bleh. But, like, it’s not wearing 4 different hats and confused about what it’s trying to be, and it’s a cohesive look all the way up and down. 

It’s like they went on Pinterest for Architects or whatever, and couldn’t decide on which facade they liked the most, so they just went with all of them.  

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On 8/9/2022 at 1:12 PM, BEES?! said:

Okay, I’m not trying to be mean to Austin- even if I’m a tiny bit jealous they’re getting the tallest building now :p-but that tower ain’t it. Like, c’mon, you’re building the tallest building in Texas, but you got them chopping it up into three different sections, which makes it look disjointed and not as cohesive.

I will be the first in  line to admit that the chase tower is kinda ugly and bleh. But, like, it’s not wearing 4 different hats and confused about what it’s trying to be, and it’s a cohesive look all the way up and down. 

It’s like they went on Pinterest for Architects or whatever, and couldn’t decide on which facade they liked the most, so they just went with all of them.  

To me - it’s kinda Austin in a nutshell recently with regard to their many tall buildings. Most are stretched residential towers that are tall for the sake of being tall and nothing else.

 I think Texas Commerce Tower isn’t ugly, it’s far more simplistic in what it is trying to be than Red Rocket over yonder.  It also, if you recall, would have been the 3rd or 4th tallest building in town if the oil bust hadn’t occurred.  Oh well.  Good for Austin.  They deserve some tall buildings filled with whatever it is they’re filled with.  I understand they’ve got some flights to places like Paris and London nowadays too.  To think the whole city wouldn’t exist but for Mirabeau B. Lamar’s utter disdain for Sam Houston!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/10/2022 at 4:07 PM, arche_757 said:

To me - it’s kinda Austin in a nutshell recently with regard to their many tall buildings. Most are stretched residential towers that are tall for the sake of being tall and nothing else.

 I think Texas Commerce Tower isn’t ugly, it’s far more simplistic in what it is trying to be than Red Rocket over yonder.  It also, if you recall, would have been the 3rd or 4th tallest building in town if the oil bust hadn’t occurred.  Oh well.  Good for Austin.  They deserve some tall buildings filled with whatever it is they’re filled with.  I understand they’ve got some flights to places like Paris and London nowadays too.  To think the whole city wouldn’t exist but for Mirabeau B. Lamar’s utter disdain for Sam Houston!

And for some lady who riled up the town when the archive of government documents were being removed back to Houston on schedule.  Maybe the pool deck closet in Palm Beach was likewise getting set to become Great America’s new capital!

That would be quite the “come and take it” flag / swimming towel

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  • 2 weeks later...

"A new skyscraper breaking ground in downtown Austin is expected to usurp Houston’s claim to fame as hosting the tallest tower in Texas. This latest addition to the Austin skyline, called Waterline, will add to Rainey Street’s transformation."

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Swanky-new-Austin-high-rise-to-overtake-Houston-17422185.php#photo-22894998

For those that don't have a Houston Chronicle Subscription the Chron site also posted the story.

https://www.chron.com/business/article/Waterline-Austin-tower-tallest-Texas-building-17422694.php

 

Edited by hindesky
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Any chance that this might get scaled down? 😄

Or does that only happen in Houston's projects? ( Hello Embassy Suites Downtown, Memorial Herman Tower memorial city, Dallas street,, Regent Square).

J/K. Congratulations to Austin. Austin will take the crown from Houston on this one, just like they did when the State capitol moved there. 

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Thumbs Down: Watching Austin grow up is a bit like watching a pimply, unkempt, squat teen magically transform into a pimply, unkempt, lanky teen — truly wondrous. Until one day the lanky teen surpasses his elder brother and starts thinking highly of himself, maybe too highly. That, folks, is the case in the People’s Republic of Austin, where a smallish college town once happy to be known for its live music, its socialist sympathies and its disheveled weirdness has turned corporate, capitalist and downright uppity. Literally. Breaking ground this week is a downtown skyscraper — a 74-story, mixed-use high-rise — that is expected to surpass Houston’s 1,002-foot-high Chase Tower by a whopping 20 feet when it’s finished in 2026, and thereby slam the door on Houston’s reign as the city with the tallest tower in Texas. Height, of course, isn’t everything — unless you’re a hetero male looking to draw clicks on a popular dating app. There are other measures of a city’s maturity, like infrastructure and mobility, that are bringing Austin great growing pains. After decades of succumbing to the “if we don’t build it, they won’t come,” mantra, Austin found out the hard way they’d come anyway, even if they had to live on the center lane of I-35. The city’s natural beauty, its forever-rocking music scene, and its welcoming, Prozac vibe still portend a bright future, judging by Austin’s eternally hot real estate market. Clearly, it has nowhere to go but up!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Being semi-envious and semi- dirty, I keep checking this thread with some hopes of an announcement that there have been some kind of changes to the proposed height of this building that finds it unattainable.😁

But oh well. Wishful thinking. I just have to accept that Houston's days of being the Texas's tallest city are numbered. ..  

Edited by scarface
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Houston (and Dallas) have sprawled out too much beyond the core. JP Morgan has been the tallest since the early 80’s so it was only a matter of time.

I believe the height for this one would more likely be raised than downsized. 6xGuad’s height (same developers) was raised during construction from 848’ to 874’. 
 

There’s several projects proposed above 600’ and several sites that also have super-tall potential. I only expect the momentum to continue.

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12 hours ago, scarface said:

Being semi-envious and semi- dirty, I keep checking this thread with some hopes of an announcement that there have been some kind of changes to the proposed height of this building that finds it unattainable.😁

But oh well. Wishful thinking. I just have to accept that Houston's days of being the Texas's tallest city are numbered. ..  

I gather it's only going to be 20' taller, is that correct?  If so, isn't it an architecturally accepted practice to add something decorative to push the height up?  I'm sure we could fabricate something to top Austin.  My vote would be a giant spinning Buc-ee's sign...

Or perhaps a 30' hand sculpture in a familiar gesture with one finger up and the others folded in...pointed in the direction of Austin?

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1 hour ago, 77002er said:

Can the moderators add the tag "Austin" (or whatever city outside of Houston) to the titles of those out-of-town projects? This is, after all the HOUSTON Architecture Info Forum.

 

It's in the Austin section, is it not? 

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11 hours ago, august948 said:

I gather it's only going to be 20' taller, is that correct?  If so, isn't it an architecturally accepted practice to add something decorative to push the height up?  I'm sure we could fabricate something to top Austin.  My vote would be a giant spinning Buc-ee's sign...

Or perhaps a 30' hand sculpture in a familiar gesture with one finger up and the others folded in...pointed in the direction of Austin?

Purely decorative add-ons are not counted.  But they probably could do something like was done with CenterPoint Energy Plaza when it became Houston Industries Plaza.  That addition added 90 feet!

Edited by Houston19514
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  • The title was changed to Waterline: Mixed-Use Building to be Tallest Tower In Texas

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