New plans, rendering released for controversial River Park development

Posted on
June 30, 2021
New plans, rendering released for controversial River Park development

AUSTIN, Texas — Partners Group and Presidium have unveiled the first phase of River Park, a controversial mixed-use development planned for East Riverside Drive.

The total 109-acre site is bounded by the Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park, East Riverside Drive, Pleasant Valley Road and Country Club Creek. According to a press release from Partners Group and Presidium, the first phase encompasses approximately 15 acres just east of Wickersham Lane, running along the frontage of Riverside.

Plans for the first phase include:

Two office buildings with a combined total of roughly 420,000 square feet of "Class A-plus space." Amenities will include significant access to the outdoors and open spaces, touchless systems throughout, parking for electric vehicles and more
A mid-rise apartment complex with 370 units, including affordable housing provided at 60% of the area median income
12,000 square feet of ground-level retail along East Riverside
Nearly an acre of open space and parkland
A "cohesive water quality approach," including stormwater harvesting and rain gardens
The team behind River Park is currently in the advanced stages of design on the first phase and aims to secure approvals and permits from the City of Austin by early next year. The entire master plan for River Park calls for more than 10 million square feet of space to be built in the coming 10 to 20 years.

"Austin’s long-term goals and initiatives are represented in the plans for the first phase, setting a standard for the quality of the development going forward," said Michael Piano, Presidium's director of development. "With the [Project Connect] Blue Line coming to the doorstep of River Park, the community will gain access to transit adjacent housing and employment, which will be supported by quality pedestrian environments."

Elements of the first phase and future phases will be connected by a new street and sidewalk network of pedestrian-friendly blocks and trail connections. A linear park and greenway, totaling over 30 acres, will connect Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Metro Park to the planned Riverside transit station.

The development team also plans to work with the City's Corridor Program Office to incorporate planned mobility improvements that voters passed bonds to support in 2016.

"Drawing from the 20-minute city concept where homes, workplaces, services and recreation are all within a short walk or bike ride, this new development intends to fully integrate with the surrounding neighborhood, the future transit corridor, as well as offer ample access to the outdoors for tenants and the public," said Travis Albrecht, design director for Gensler, the architect for the office space. "Additionally, the buildings are considering the future of workplace technology, and will be outfitted with infrastructure that can accommodate 5G capabilities when available."

The development team announced in December 2020 that the project, previously known only as 4700 East Riverside, would be called River Park going forward. The team also announced details about River Park's "cohesive master plan" at that time. Read more here.

The project was not initially well-received by all members of the community. Residents who live in the area protested it, calling it a "Domain on Riverside." Some also said they found out about the rezoning resolution for the development when the Austin City Council chose to move forward with it. The city council gave final approval for the rezoning in October 2019.

Shortly after the rezoning approval, the development team entered into an agreement with the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) to provide housing for 100 homeless people for up to five years. The agreement was in addition to the partnership's earlier commitment to build more than 400 income-restricted affordable housing units on-site.

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