Wilson Tower’s design rejected by City of Austin panel
Plans for Texas’ tallest tower have to be reworked
Austin’s Design Commission rejected Wilson Capital’s plans to build the state’s tallest tower, saying it didn’t meet the city’s urban design standard.
The Austin-based developer will have to revise its designs for the lot at 410 East Fifth Street before seeking approval again, the Austin Business Journal reported. Commissioner David Carroll abstained from the otherwise unanimous vote.
“I think the building is spectacular, and I think the landscape is strong,” Commissioner Aan Coleman, president of landscape architecture firm Coleman & Associates, said at the meeting. “I don’t think there is enough public benefit. It is the way the building is interacting with public space that I think needs some tweaking.”
Plans originally called for an 80-story tower with 450 apartments, but will be reworked by architect HKS Inc. and landscape architect Nudge Design.
The 1,035-foot-tall plans would’ve made the tower the tallest building in the state, passing the current title holder, Houston’s 1,002-foot JPMorgan Chase Tower.
Residential units in the tower will be offered at market rate, and Wilson Capital said it would pay almost $6 million to the city in exchange for not including affordable housing. Despite the lack of affordable housing, Wilson was requesting larger floor-to-area ratios, which became a sticking point for some of the commissioners.
“It is a handsome building, but I can’t help but notice that more than half of it is bonus,” Commissioner Ben Luckens, a city planner, said at the meeting. “Other than the $5.9 million, which is a substantial amount for affordable housing, it seems to be somewhat limited in its public benefit. The fact that this meets design standards and is a more than 50 percent bonus building just makes me a little bit concerned.”
— Victoria Pruitt