North Austin secures zoning change in record time

Unusual for Texas capital, the measure only went through two committees before being approved by city council

Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool with North Burnet/Gateway Zoning District (City of Austin, Google Maps, Getty)
Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool with North Burnet/Gateway Zoning District (City of Austin, Google Maps, Getty)

A zoning change just bumped up the maximum building height in North Austin by more than 100 feet.

The Austin City Council approved changes last week which will allow developers to build taller and larger buildings in what’s known as the North Burnet/Gateway Zoning District. The maximum building height has gone from 308 to 420 feet, with a development bonus. The city also tweaked the maximum floor-to-area ratio from 8:1 to 12:1, according to the Austin Business Journal.

Before receiving City Council approval, the zoning changes for the mixed-use Gateway zone subdistrict were first considered by the Codes and Ordinances Joint Committee in August and then the Planning Commission in September— an unusually short and easy journey through city hall for an Austin zoning measure.

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The subdistrict spans approximately 2,300 acres north of Route 183, straddling the North MoPac Expressway. It’s home to Q2 Stadium and Stonelake Capital Partners’ legacy project, The Domain. The mixed-use development encompasses multiple tall towers, the tallest being the recently completed Domain Tower 2, which rises 24 stories and just landed PayPal as its first official tenant.

Easing zoning restrictions in this commercial hub is a big move towards densifying North Austin, which is in the process of adding several new transit stops. Uptown ATX, now under construction across Burnet Road from The Domain, is set to be home to a future Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority train stop.

Upon completion, Uptown ATX will bring multiple towers and a total of 7 million square feet of development to the area. There’s also a new stop on Capital Metro’s Red Line across the street from Q2 Stadium that’s expected to be completed next Fall.

“I am looking forward to the changes that are coming to this area, as it is going to grow,” said Council Member Leslie Pool, who represents District 7, which includes the North Burnet/Gateway area.

— Maddy Sperling