[Update: June 6, 2015, Austin Chronicle reports Ecology Action closing because Landlord is intending to sell the property]
Three contiguous lots in a prime downtown location are asking for a zoning change, which leads us to believe that either a land deal is in the works, or the land owners are posturing to sell.
The lots in question are three lots that are on the western side of I-35 frontage at the 9th St. block. Currently the lots are occupied by Ecology Action of Texas, a small lot currently being used by the City for parking, and another small lot being used for Waller Creek staging. Waller Creek improvements are being made in the next lot west.
The two land owners have gotten together and are jointly requesting a zoning change from CS (General Commercial Services – used primarily for office and industrial type uses incompatible with residential use) to CBD (the very broad zoning category that permits just about anything, including residential) – for proposed uses “unknown” (per their statements on public record). We reached out directly to Ecology Action and they didn’t have any information about the rezoning, either.
The lots are separated from Stubbs by City-controlled land / Waller Creek.
If built into any sort of residential tower, sound mitigation is likely going to be a primary concern, as any future development would be sandwiched in between I-35, a major outdoor music venue, and would be less than a block away from a police station. It’s very possible that there would be some other contemplated use of these particular lots. However, the view from the lots looks almost right into 2 very successful apartment complexes – Eleven Austin and Amli Eastside, which leads one to think that many possibilities exist for these lots.
In any case, Ecology Action is one of those “gotta love’em” not-for-profits, but we also believe that there are higher and better uses for this specific piece of land.