It’s long been said that they next wave of construction in Austin would be the East side. Yet while downtown, north and south Lamar, Rainey Street, and even Riverside all developed, the Plaza Saltillo area on the east side remained quiet.
Some of that is economics, some of it is due to Capital Metro bungling the MetroRail launch, and some of it was due to Capital Metro and the city bungling the community outreach strategy for redeveloping the area, as detailed in this Duke University case study.
Even still, the Corazon project broke ground this year and is well on its way to bringing 256 apartments, 16,294 square feet of ground-level commercial space and pedestrian-friendly streetscaping.
Now, two more projects are popping up nearby.
The Kline Hotel is planned at 1109 E. 6th Street and will transform a vacant lot into a 30,000 square-foot hotel, with subsurface parking.
Seven blocks east a mixed use project is planned at 1700 E. 4th Street. The project consists of two buildings, the first of which will be an 82,000 square foot, four-story building with parking and a second which will be a 76,000 square foot, three- story building.
The project is smack dab in the path of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, and the portion of the LAB from Concho Street through the site along E. Fifth Street will be constructed as part of the development.
Compared to the colossal amount of construction happening in other parts of town, bringing colossal buildings, these look pretty puny. However, zoning standards within the Plaza Saltillo district (outlined in photo below) assumes existing height restrictions between 35 and 60 feet will continue throughout the district. As a rule of thumb, a 40-foot height limit permits a three-story building and a 60-foot building permits a five story building.
In that context these projects are really taking advantage of their maximum density, and important characteristic of transit-oriented development to have a residential density that is greater than the community average.
More is sure to come there.
Capital Metro also owns 11 acres of land from Comal Street west to I-35; between E 5th and E 4th Streets, which will be redeveloped eventually, minus the boarding platform and actual plaza, but the tracks run through the center of the developable land. A federal grant was awarded in 2011 to realign the tracks to more closely follow E 4th St., and that is about to begin now.
It’s also worth noting that there is also reconstruction of East 5th Street happening now from IH-35 to Onion Street, which will further enhance the area.