There’s a lot of office development rising throughout East Austin at the moment, and we’d forgive you for struggling to keep track of all the cranes and construction fences scattered around the district — but the Centro office project at 1401 East Sixth Street, the latest addition to the transit-adjacent Saltillo District by local developers Riverside Resources, deserves a second look or five.
Sure, it looks good, with two adjacent five-story warehouse-inspired brick and steel buildings courtesy of Gensler Austin, creating the coveted loft-style industrial-chic spaces Austin’s suburban character largely lacks — but the main draw for us at Centro, since we aren’t office tenants, is its pedestrianization of the section of Onion Street running east of the site, along with a new alley vacation providing pedestrian access from east to west through the center of the property.
It’s a pair of paseos that you, Joe or Jane Austin, can hike through without spending a dime, a more secluded and shaded pedestrian experience than walking on the street. The fact that restaurants are presumably bound for the project’s ground-level retail spaces, accessed via the paseo, just kinda gilds the lily. The design and materials used for the building’s outdoor spaces represents precisely how we’d like to see the Saltillo District grow, particularly as Project Connect expands transit use in the region.
We’ve got rain gardens, lighting, murals, and a gorgeous patterned sidewalk stretching down the former Onion Street, all courtesy of extraordinary local landscape architects Nudge Design and open right now for your pedestrian pleasure. Riverside Resources held a little mixer in the space this afternoon, which is why you’ll see a crowd in some of these photos, a sort of test run for how we’d like the area’s general population to enjoy the property’s public-facing amenities from now on.
With Australian software developers Atlassian already occupying part of the site’s 330,000 square feet of office space, we’re excited to see how the paseos drive engagement with the building — even as we await the second phase of development one block east next door set to transform what’s currently a parking lot with more ground-level pedestrian features. Not bad for a couple of buildings, huh?