Block 24/The Independent is part of the Seaholm District in Downtown Austin. The site is bound by Shoal Creek to the north and east, Third Street to the south, and West Avenue to the west. When Austin Energy chose to construct a new System Control Center in southeast Austin, its downtown Energy Control Center was abandoned. Through a competitive bidding process, the City of Austin selected the development company, Constructive Ventures, Inc. (CVI), and entered into a Master Development Agreementwith Exhibits for the sale and redevelopment of the Energy Control Center site, a full city block. CVI will develop The Independent, a 58-story, 370-unit condominium tower including multiple community benefits. The ground-floor retail will provide opportunities for local business, and the project will make significant contributions to sustainability, open space, affordability, public art and trails. The development team purchased the property from the City of Austin under the terms of the Master Development Agreement with Exhibits on November 24, 2015. Demolition and site work activity commenced immediately with construction projected to last three years, ending in 2019. The Economic Development Department’s Redevelopment Division leads this project on behalf of the city.
The Seaholm District is a former industrial section of southwest downtown Austin that is being transformed into a vibrant urban neighborhood. At the core of the district is the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant which will be redeveloped into a landmark residential and retail destination. Block 24, home to The Independent, became available when Austin Energy chose to construct a new Energy System Control Center in southeast Austin and abandoned its downtown site. In 2008, through a competitive bidding process, the City selected Constructive Ventures, Inc. (CVI), an Austin-based development firm widely recognized for its commitment to design, sustainability, community benefits, and for its experience producing more than 800 residential and commercial spaces in and near downtown Austin.
In 2010, the City and CVI entered into a Master Development Agreement with Exhibits to create a mixed-use, high-rise tower with community benefits. CVI and their development team, which also includes Aspen Heights and CIM, will create TheIndependent that includes 370 condominiums above 13,500 square feet of ground floor retail. The developers will also improve and maintain the Third Street right-of-way by creating a public plaza with bicycle and pedestrian improvements and connections to Shoal Creek trail. At closing, the developers made a voluntary contribution of $100,000 to the Seaholm Art Wall. TheIndependent is expected to contribute more than $20 million to the Austin Housing Trust Fund to support affordable housing solutions -- $18 million is from the City’s standing commitment to transfer 40 percent of its property taxes from its redeveloped properties and approximately $2.5 million ($5 per square foot of sellable space) is a voluntary contribution from the developers. The Block 24/The Independent project is led by the Economic Development Department’s Redevelopment Division on behalf of the City of Austin.
Block 24/The Independent is located in thriving downtown Austin, surrounded by premier shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, offering boutique retailers, casual and fine dining, daily needs services and grocers including Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods’ flagship store, the new Central Public Library. The glass-clad building’s distinctive stacked design will be an iconic addition to the Austin skyline, and will be the tallest structure in Austin as well as the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi.
The January 2016 construction start of Block 24/The Independent is a major milestone in the City’s efforts to create a vibrant, walkable, ecologically sensitive downtown, where people live, work, and play. The full city block is the last tract and most visible high-rise to be developed in the 85-acre Seaholm District, and adds vital new office, retail and residential development to downtown while supporting Austin’s values of sustainability, open space, affordability, public art and trails. This project is also part of the City’s first EcoDistrict, incorporating sustainability beyond buildings, to include solar-powered benches; local food production initiatives; electric vehicle charging infrastructure; an interactive sustainability dashboard at the new Central Library; and health and fitness programs for residents.