Up, up, and away
Tallest building in Texas to include new hotel for stays with sky-high views
Texas’ tallest building is set to grace the capital city's skyline three years from now. At 74 stories tall and 1,022 feet high, the downtown Austin mixed-use project — carrying the new name of Waterline — is scheduled to open in late 2026.
Construction is underway at 98 Red River St., near the Austin Convention Center.
Developers of Waterline released specifics about the project September 6. Word surfaced in June 2020 that the Red River site would be home to the state’s tallest building, but the developers hadn’t confirmed the height.
In verifying the height of the building, developers Lincoln Property Co. and Kairoi Residential, along with investment partner PSP Investments, also unveiled details of Waterline such as:
- 251-room 1 Hotel Austin, the first Texas location for hospitality company SH Hotel Resorts’ sustainability-focused 1 Hotels brand.
- 700,000 square feet of office space.
- 352 high-end apartments.
The height of Waterline will eclipse that of Texas’ current titleholder by 5 feet. Houston’s 75-story JP Morgan Chase Tower stands 1,002 feet tall, making it the state’s tallest high-rise.
Of course, Waterline also will reign as Austin’s tallest building. The 66-story, 875-foot-tall Sixth and Guadalupe tower under construction in downtown Austin will temporarily hold the title of Austin’s tallest building.
“Downtown Austin offers one of the most dynamic markets and skylines in the nation, and we’re excited to help drive its ongoing transformation,” Seth Johnston, senior vice president of Lincoln Property, says in a news release. “Waterline marks a new milestone for downtown not only because of its height but also because of the positive impact this project will have on improving connectivity, enhancing public amenities, and attracting more people to this beautiful area of downtown.”
Developers say Waterline will serve as a new gateway from the Central Business District to the Rainey Street entertainment district. The developers will add two pedestrian bridges over Waller Creek from the west, as well as three pedestrian and bicycle access points to Waterloo Greenway from the east.
The development team is contributing $1 million to the Waterloo Greenway initiative to help pay for improvements to the 1.5-mile trail connecting the University of Texas to Lady Bird Lake.
Designed by renowned architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, Waterline will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, warm textures, and native stone.
“Waterline will offer a truly unique experience with unrivaled views, world-class amenities, and a thoughtful design that connects the building’s interior with the project’s unique natural surroundings throughout the building,” says Michael Lynd Jr., CEO of Kairoi Residential. “We’re thrilled to introduce Austin’s next iconic project.”
The building’s ground floor will offer 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space overlooking Waller Creek and the Waterloo Greenway.
1 Hotel Austin will occupy the next 13 floors, with a ballroom and meeting spaces on the 14th floor, and a rooftop pool with food and beverage service on the 16th floor.
The office portion of the tower will occupy 27 stories, with a 14th-floor amenity deck offering 24,000 square feet of landscaped outdoor space along with a bar and lounge, indoor meeting spaces, and a prep kitchen for special events.
The apartments will take up the top 33 stories. Residents will enjoy access to two pools on the 41st floor, along with a lounge, bar, kitchen, and co-working space. A movement studio, workout studio, and steam room will be one floor above, in addition to soaking tubs, hammocks, a barbecue pit, and a dining area.