I was going to make the same observation from when I was down there a couple of weeks ago. From what I could see driving down the street, the drilling is for soil samples. This is usually done in preparation for the design of a building. In order for a foundation to be properly designed, the engineers have to know how deep into rock to pour the concrete piers to support a building. This usually does indicate that construction may start after the information from the soils report is used to design a building, but it also may just mean that Sundance is getting ahead of the game by having that information. Since this project has been mentioned several times since November, it wouldn't surprise me in the least that Schwarz already has a conceptual building, or buildings, designed for that block. The project may be even further along than that. The conceptual designs may be done and the associate architect may now be in the process of preparing the construction documents. We really don't know.
We have seen our clients have soils reports prepared and it would be several years before they even hired us to design a building.
By the way, several years ago, I saw a design by Schwarz for a building on that site. That's when I found out that the Cassidy project included the demolition of the old Saviano's/Whataburger building on the corner of 3rd and Houston. To show you how things change, when I saw these building designs, the Cassidy was 22 stories.
Doing this soils report will probably be a good thing because it may solve in advance some of the problems found when they constructed the Westbrook and the Commerce Buildings. If you remember, Brian Luenser photographed the remains of the old swimming pool from The Natatorium beneath the Commerce Building and the basement walls left in place from the Westbrook Hotel with the remains of the hotel shoved into it beneath the new Westbrook building. I could have told the architects and Sundance that they pushed the demolition debris into the basement back in 1978 when they were clearing the site because I remember it and I watched it happen. Unfortunately, I was not around when the Natatorium was demolished. Getting back to this block where the samples were taken, I can tell Sundance right now that the old basement walls of Monnig's Department Store is still under the parking lot, and they also pushed some of the construction materials into the hole and then covered it over with paving.
Sundance Square should have a record of this because they purchase the Monnig building, demolished it, and then paved it. That was in 1991. Unfortunately, my memory is not good enough to remember if the Bass Family purchased the Westbrook Hotel and demolished it, or someone else did all of that work and then the Basses bought it later.