Swanky new Austin high-rise, The Waterline, breaks ground, overtakes Houston skyscraper as Texas’ tallest tower

A new skyscraper in downtown Austin is expected to usurp Houston’s fame as home to the tallest tower in Texas.

Developers broke ground on a 74-story mixed-use skyscraper near Austin’s popular Rainey Street district that is expected to become the tallest tower in Texas upon completion in 2026. Morgan Chase Tower in downtown Houston, today the highest in the state.

For now, Houston also has the second tallest tower in the state, Wells Fargo Plaza, also downtown at 992 feet.

Austin’s new skyscraper is another sign of how quickly Austin’s commercial real estate market is recovering compared to Houston. The Texas capital remains a popular choice for investors, attracted by its growing population and growing development opportunities. A closely watched survey by the nonprofit Urban Land Institute and global consultancy PwC late last year ranked Austin No. 4 on the list of top markets with the best overall real estate prospects this year, while Houston qualified. No. 24.

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The Rainey Street district, near where this new Austin tower is planned, is just one example of Austin’s red-hot real estate growth in recent years. The district, once known for its single-story Craftsman-style bungalows turned bars, has become a hive of high-rise development with at least three new residential towers opening in recent years, in addition to another nine skyscrapers planned or in some stage of development. on Rainey Street and adjacent streets, including East Avenue and Red River.

This latest addition to the Austin skyline, called the Waterline, will add to the transformation of Rainey Street. Dallas-based Lincoln Property Company and San Antonio-based Kairoi Residential partnered with Canadian pension fund PSP Investments for the project at 98 Red River. The base of the tower would be raised 30 blocks above street level so passers-by can stroll the 3.3-acre site to the adjacent Waller Creek. The project would have 352 luxury apartments, 700,000 square feet of office space and 251 rooms under 1 Hotel Austin, the brand’s first location in Texas.

Waterline, a mixed-use tower set to rise 1,022 feet in Austin, is expected to become the tallest tower in Texas when it opens in 2026, surpassing what is currently the tallest tower in the state in Houston.


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Lincoln and Kairoi are no strangers to the sleek skyscrapers of Austin. The duo also plans to open Sixth and Guadalupe next year, a 66-story mixed-use tower with office space wholly owned by Meta, Facebook’s parent company. The group is also building The Republic, a 48-story office tower next to Republic Square Park with office space slated to be 25 percent open by the end of 2024. When completed, the three Kairoi and Lincoln buildings they will be taller than any skyscraper. on the ground in Austin today.

“Downtown Austin offers one of the most dynamic markets and skylines in the nation, and we are excited to help drive its ongoing transformation,” said Seth Johnston, senior vice president of Lincoln Property in Austin. “Waterline marks a new milestone for the city center not only because of its height but also because of the positive impact this project will have in improving connectivity, improving public services and attracting more people to this beautiful area. From the center of the city”.

With construction financing provided by Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc., the Waterline will be built by California-based DPR Construction and was designed by global architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox.

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