by Adolfo Pesquera


Austin (Travis Co.) – Promising to become one of the most prominent residences at the edge of Lady Bird Lake, the 48 East Apartment Tower received the recommendation of the Austin Design Commission.

LD&C, the developer, is seeking a density bonus to raise the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 8:10 to 15:1; this is the principal bulk regulation controlling the size of buildings. It is a ratio of the total building floor area in relation to the area of its zoning lot. For this project, the lot area is 17,859 square feet (0.41 acres), and the total project area is 267,975 square feet.

The FAR increase here is primariling owing to a height increase from the 40 feet allowed to a proposed 350 feet. LD&C’s design has 33 stories. To achieve the density bonus, LD&C offers as incentives 5 percent of the units as affordable housing at 80 percent of the median family income; this is a sum of seven units in various configurations totaling 5,832 square feet.

There is also a fee-in-lieu offer for 125,055 square fee, which calculates to a $518,790 contribution to the city’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department for affordable housing elsewhere.

48 East also complies with the Great Streets program. A panel comprised of STG Design and DWG, the architects, described the project at a Jan. 23 hearing.

Located in the Rainey District, the project site is presently occupied by surface parking and a three story office building that will be demolished, said Jim Stephenson of STG Design. The project will meet the city’s 2-Star Green Building rating, but is pursuing a 3-Star rating, although Stephenson said certain issues limiting the project may prevent that. One limitation he cited as an example is the site is not serviced for rail (not transit-oriented).

The design provide for nine stories of parking, ground floor retail, amenity decks at the 10th and 33rd floors, and 20 levels of apartment living. The 10th floor with have a dog park and other landscaping, and the 33rd floor (top floor) has a landscaped sky deck with a pool.

There will be a total of 244 residential units and 280 parking spaces.

However, the numbers discussed last week differ from the numbers on the November 2016 site plan prepared by KBGE Engineering, (Kimbell Bruehl Garcia Estes). That documented has a total building height of 338 feet, gross floor area of 267,750, a total of 250 living units, and 316 parking spaces.

Every attempt was made, through the landscaping on three levels, and the facade materials, to provide a fusion of the urban environment and the organic nature of Lady Bird Lake, the architects said. Special attention has been paid to the open air garage by screening it with three-dimensional art that appears to provide movement as it blends in with neighboring environment.

Jacob Walker of DWG said the landscaping takes into account a 34-inch heritage pecan tree on the adjacent lot that encroaches into its air space. The current sidewalk alignment will remain, but the curb is being bumped out 18 feet to meet Great Streets guidelines. In addition to new tree plantings, there will be bike racks and two benches. A street level lounge will have a green screen to offer guests privacy.

“At level 33, on the Sky Deck facing west is an amenty pool for the residents. The space is all about the views. It’s got great views to the lake and back to downtown,” Walker said. “As you wrap around the coorner, the south side, we’ll have an extension of the interior spaces (a clbu and kitchen space), that will spill out into outdoor dining spaces and outdoor grill spaces.”

LD&C created 48 East Ave LLC to function as the property owner.

The 10th Floor site plan includes a Dog Park and an adjacent lawn for recreational activities such as yoga.