Stacy plans 2 towers downtown New project revised after purchase of land By Shonda Novak

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Stacy plans 2 towers downtown

New project revised after purchase of land

By Shonda Novak
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Austin developer Tom Stacy has revised plans for his mixed-use project at Congress Avenue and Fifth Street downtown, with the latest incarnation featuring two towers, including a 66-story hotel/condominium that would be the skyline's tallest.

Stacy doesn't have a time frame for starting the hotel/condo tower or a 32- to 33-story office/retail tower.

But Stacy says the office tower would probably come first, with construction possibly starting in late 2009 and the building opening in late 2011 or early 2012.

In addition, Stacy and his financial partner, Walton Street Capital, have hired Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP to help recruit a national developer to partner with them.

Stacy said he changed course because he and Walton Street now own the entire block bounded by Congress, Fifth, Sixth and Brazos streets.

In May 2007, Stacy and Walton bought most of the land beneath Littlefield Mall at Sixth and Brazos, though not the improvements.

Then in December, Stacy and Walton bought the remaining Littlefield land, as well as the buildings.

"That's what enables us to replan the project and split the uses into two towers," Stacy said.

Both towers would sit atop an eight-story parking garage. Stacy also hopes to start building a nearby 1,200-space garage in June.

Stacy said the condo/hotel would have 300 hotel rooms and 200 condominium units in a tower rising 820 feet.

The office tower would be built where a four-story Bank of America annex now sits and would be about 420 feet, taller than the adjacent 26-story Bank of America tower on the block.

The new towers would be connected through the shared parking garage. When Stacy originally announced his plans in December 2004, he envisioned a single 57-story tower with a mix of uses. Later, he simplified the plan, eliminating a hotel and apartments and concentrating on an office, retail and condominium project.

The architectural firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli is designing the new project, Stacy said.

Stacy put the project's price tag at $500 million, which includes his purchase of the existing Bank of America tower. The new towers would total about 1.1 million square feet of space.

"We're trying to be very careful and thoughtful how we develop this block because it truly is a gem of Austin," Stacy said.

The new plan improves Stacy's chances of pulling off the project, said Charles Heimsath, a real estate consultant who has worked with Stacy.

"If you're able to parse off individual land uses in a large mixed-use project, then it gives those individual land uses a higher probability of getting started," Heimsath said

Bob Albanese, Stacy's former construction manager, said, "Tom's sitting on a perfect piece of property. Now he's got a chance to do a ... landmark project in downtown Austin."

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