Bouldin Creek, though not Austin’s (or even South Austin’s) most development-friendly neighborhood, has seen a large push of projects recently — many by builder PSW Real Estate along the South First Street corridor. Though the neighborhood’s own defined boundaries technically include projects on the west side of Congress Avenue, South First Street is clearly the spine of the district, and most of the projects we’re catching up with today are clustered around it.
Here are a few Bouldin-area projects worth following — they’re not too big, they’re not too tall, but together they’re bringing density to the area just the same:
1155 Barton Springs Road
We’ve already done a little song and dance regarding the very strange residential development at 1155 Barton Springs Road, a project that’s been “planned” in some form or fashion by different folks for more than a decade at this point.
The latest iteration of the building, which appears to involve multifamily developer Greystar, seems to be moving forward, albeit slowly — the site’s been cleared recently (RIP to El Alma’s overflow parking lot) and we’ve seen a slow stream of nondescript city filings for the site that imply there’s someone out there trying to bring this project into the real world.
Still, we don’t have a firm groundbreaking date or really any updates on this project whatsoever other than the site prep you can see for yourself by looking over the fence at this address. Greystar vigorously declined to comment on the matter after keeping us on the hook for a couple of months — we love when that happens — so we’ve just got to look over the fence some more.
900 South First Street / Bouldin Court
Two of PSW’s development efforts are located at 900 South First Street, backing up to East Bouldin Creek itself — closer to the street is 900, a 63-unit mixed-use development with condos atop retail and resident coworking spaces.
Just west of this building is what PSW’s calling Bouldin Court, a collection of seven townhomes and 23 single-family residences that share the amenities of the 900 project next door while offering additional space.
Retail or restaurant tenants have not been announced for the community at this time, but the project is expected to deliver by the end of 2019.
1613-1619 South First Street
Late last year, engineering firm Civilitude filed a site plan with the city for a four-story, 54,602-square-foot multifamily residential building with retail space on the ground floor, which could occupy adjacent parcels at 1613, 1615, 1617, and 1619 South First Street. This .92-acre land assembly is currently owned by corporate entities associated with Austin filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, and though we don’t know any other details for the moment, it’s certainly something to watch.
1600 South First Street
The third PSW project on South First Street, construction at the site of the former funeral home on the street’s 1600 block is already well underway, with a four-story, 59-unit condo development featuring ground-floor retail in the cards. The project’s delivery date is unknown, but judging by the pace of construction, we might be able to expect this one by 2020.
Even though South First Street is the fastest-growing corridor in the neighborhood by a long shot, the street itself is narrow, lacks a center turn lane, and in its present state is poorly-suited for walkable growth in a lot of ways — as a pedestrian, you’ve got to contend with cars bombing past you a few feet from the sidewalk at 35 miles per hour (at least that’s the posted speed limit, if you catch my drift) and I can’t even imagine what it’s like to ride a bike there in either direction.
As mixed-use development continues in the area, sustaining the retail presence in these buildings is likely going to require some improvements to the pedestrian experience along South First Street, but its narrow design is going to make that a challenge. We’ll be excited to see how the corridor improves as these projects deliver over the next few years — because the more they build, the more obvious the need for those improvements will become. Might we propose some kind of gondola system?