The City of Austin is planning to restore the historic Norwood House at the corner of Riverside Drive and Interstate 35, according to a Feb. 15 story in the Austin American-Statesman.
The property is seen as a gateway to the city for downtown visitors and airport users. It is also near the sites of a boardwalk planned for Lady Bird Lake and a proposed urban rail line.
Restoring the house and building a rental center for events will require the existing dog park to shrink from 1.9 acres to 0.5 acre, according to the story, but the dog park would get improvements such as benches and fencing.
Money for the restoration, which could cost up to $7.6 million, will likely come from private donations, the nonprofit Austin Parks Foundation and the public. The project might be included in a November bond election, according to the Statesman story.
The house belonged to Ollie Norwood, the developer behind Austin’s first skyscaper, an elaborate Gothic Revival building known as the Norwood Tower (1929). The 16-story tower was the city’s tallest commercial building for almost 40 years, and in that time was surpassed only by the 310-foot-tall Texas Capitol and the 307-foot-tall UT Tower.
See a seven-minute video segment about Norwood Tower, where the penthouse is the home of former first daughter Luci Baines Johnson, on the KLRU series “Downtown.” See current and historic photos of the Norwood House in a blog posted here on Oct. 15, 2011.