Naked City

What Comes Next?

Lumbermen's Investment Corp.'s proposed 180-foot mixed-use condo project -- next to Seaholm Power Plant, on land that now holds the famously wandering Cedar Door bar -- was rejected 4-3 by the City Council last week. Just like the old days, right? Yet a lot of people who don't ordinarily bed down with developers supported the LIC project, mostly for its proposed synergies with reuse plans for Seaholm. LIC also just settled a boundary dispute with the city over the adjacent Sand Beach Reserve, which struck some neighborhood groups as an olive branch.

Tower supporters and opponents drenched the council in tidal waves of information -- ably marshaled for the opposition by Mary Arnold, the progressive movement's queen of detail. But the Lumbermen's battle really turned on one simple (and perhaps obvious) fact: Austinites don't like towers on Town Lake and never have, even though several already exist. So acknowledged Council Member Daryl Slusher: "If this is built here, I think a lot of our citizens are going to really dislike it and wish it hadn't been built. [Town Lake] is really the heart of our city. And I just can't vote to put a building that size there." Slusher joined Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman and Council Members Beverly Griffith and Danny Thomas (who originally tried to abstain) in turning LIC down.

All's not over yet. On half of the 4.5-acre tract, Lumbermen's has existing zoning that would allow an even taller 220-foot tower even closer to the lake. And under state law, the city might have to honor an active site plan from 1984 that would permit LIC to build a 15-story tower and nine-story parking garage on its property.

So why did Lumbermen's go through the trouble of making a new proposal? For one thing, building that 1984 project is a lot easier said than done. For another, the market for an office tower -- what that site plan was for -- is even lousier right now than for luxurious condos on the lake. Whether we'll see 220 feet of anything rising from the riverbank is unclear, which gives Arnold and other LIC opponents reason to renew their decades-old call for the city to acquire the tract for parkland. It could happen ...

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    Naked City

    Georgetown city council members fight citizen initiatives to recall them and their ordinances.
  • Naked City

    An advocate for the Charleston Five seeks support in Austin.

    Naked City

    The Statesman twists Orwell's words in a most Orwellian fashion.

    Naked City

    Candidate John WorldPeace wages war on the Dems

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Mike Clark-Madison
As Texas Redistricting Maps Advance, Lawmakers Aspire for Newly Drawn Seats
As Texas Redistricting Maps Advance, Lawmakers Aspire for Newly Drawn Seats
Talarico goes south, Doggett west, as Casar trades up

Oct. 22, 2021

Austin at Large: Really? You and What Army?
Austin at Large: Really? You and What Army?
Hand-wringing on all sides of all issues reflects our emerging crisis of legitimacy

Oct. 22, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Lumbermen's Investment Corp., Seaholm Power Plant, Cedar Door, Town Lake, Mary Arnold, Daryl Slusher, Jackie Goodman, Beverly Griffith, Danny Thomas

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle