A Car-Free Development for Downtown? (RENDERINGS)

April 24, 2016 by Kate Harrington

A proposed 30-story luxury apartment project on Congress Ave. being called The Avenue would bring more residential units to downtown, but wouldn’t include any space for residents’ cars.

Developers of The Avenue, which would go into a vacant building at Eighth Street and Congress Ave. next to the Paramount and State theaters, say it’s being designed to encourage the use of mobility options.

Nelsen Partners

Congress Development Partners Ltd., The Avenue’s developer, has said they would like to break ground by the beginning of May 2017. The developer bought the property, which has been vacant for years, in February.

“This is the first true urban residential tower in Austin,” Brad Nelsen, an Austin architect who is leading the development group said to the Austin American-Statesman. “This is built for people who work and live 24 hours a day downtown,” and who walk, bicycle, or use ride-hailing services to go to the grocery store or other trips.”

Nelsen Partners

The apartments will be on the smaller side – 420 square feet to 970 square feet – but will also cost less than the average downtown apartment. The development will also include a music venue and restaurant, and could also provide administrative and classroom space for the two theaters next door.

As Austin’s traffic and commute times increase in volume and length, moving to a location where it’s either easy to access transit or ditch a car altogether is becoming an appealing option for those who can afford it. Some argue that even with higher housing costs, a household can save money by living in an area where commutes are short.

Nelsen Partners
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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.