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Checking in on the Austin, Lower Nob Hill’s newest condo addition

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A two-faced building for Pine and Austin

Pine Street and Van Ness Avenue is an odd border section of the city, right on the edge of Lower Nob Hill, not quite over the line to Lower Pac Heights, but just a little too far north to be Civic Center.

But right by this nexus is where you’ll soon find the Austin, a 12-story, 88-unit condo complex that broke ground last year and is rounding the bend for rough completion soon. The new building replaces a cluster of aging and mostly disused older structures at the site.

Quite a bit has changed since the Austin first crossed our radar, changing developers and adding a new architecture firm (BDE, to compliment the previous Arquitectonica design). It’s also dropped one story and 35 units since before its entitlements.

But all told, the look of the place has barely changed from the old Arquitectonica design. You have to look carefully to single out the Florida firm’s signature “giant cubes” motif in this one, but it’s there, as the Austin is actually three towers rising up the slope of Pine Street.

If you’re curious, the Austin name comes from Austin Street, one of two thoroughfares the finished building will front.

Actually, Austin Street is mostly just an alley that stretches a mere four blocks between Octavia and Polk, changes its name to Frank Norris Street for one more block, and then disappears.

According to the developer, they named the building for the road less traveled to play up the significance of its dual north-south entrances and facades. (Yes, the building is literally two-faced.) Although the fact that “The Pine” doesn’t sound nearly as snappy probably helped too.

If the schedule holds, sales will open at the Austin in January.