There’s been plenty of news out of East Austin lately regarding progress at the Plaza Saltillo TOD, but the general area’s identity remains one of funky bars and eateries. For those who might want to do an overnight, instead of taking an Uber home after a heavy night of drinking, a hostel is a lodging option that some prefer to a Motel 6 or sleeping on a friend’s sofa.
The recently-opened Native Hostel and Bar & Kitchen at 807 East Fourth Street is just that sort of establishment, and it was only a matter of time before another contender arrived on the scene
Misty Rocks Leasing LLC, an unlikely developer, is betting it can repeat the success of Native’s model with another new hostel in East Austin. According to state records, Misty Rocks is a Sugar Land-based equipment rental company, but this outfit has also taken the initiative of buying a small lot at the southwest corner of East Sixth and Attayac Streets.
The location’s proper address is 1221 East Sixth Street, placing it smack in the middle of the East Sixth Street business and entertainment district, surrounded by inviting dine-and-drink locales. Within a block’s walking distance is the Buenos Aires Café, the Way South Philly food truck, Bua Loy Thai Cuisine, Sputnik, and Licha’s Cantina.
This project, Inn Cahoots East Sixth Street Hostel, was designed by the architects at Studio8, who already have a substantial portfolio in the city. It’s been described in planning documents as a four-story building, and technically that’s correct — but the first level is really just a back-alley section on an uneven sloping tract where the laundry and storage facilities will be placed, along with some very limited parking.
According to an early state filing by the architect, this project was estimated to begin construction last August. Although months behind that schedule, the developer is now in the process of assembling a construction crew. There was an old single-family residence, circa 1900, on the lot, and Misty Rocks Leasing sought a demolition permit to knock it down. It was issued July 2016, according to city records.
The contractor, once selected, will be under orders not to obstruct the roads during SXSW. That’s good to know, because there are barricade plans to detour traffic from Sixth Street between Navasota and Waller Streets, and commuters can also expect to see “Road Work Ahead” signs on Attayac between Fifth and Seventh Streets.
The project was introduced to Development Services as a hotel with a game room and associated amenities — this one is more game than room. The total lot area is 0.15 acres, and the building footprint is 1,696 square feet. Total square footage, however, is 13,050 square feet.
The building concept is for a first-floor concrete podium above a slab on grade foundation, with wood frame construction at stories two and three. Above the third floor, Studio8 penciled in an open-air roof deck that guests can reach from a small enclosed roof lobby. The ground floor, as accessed from East Sixth Street, has a lobby in front and two social gathering spaces in back. The social spaces are divided by a movable partition, so they can be combined into one for larger gatherings.
The upper two stories are divided into five units with a total of 23 beds and plenty of bathrooms. There is a third indoor social space that is located to the rear. Studio8 estimated the project cost at $3.5 million. Once construction begins, it will take about seven months to complete.
InnCahoots has been designed with all the trendy variation tricks used to make big buildings look less imposing. It has the entire architectural palette of materials and line variations — an aluminum storefront glazing system with brick veneer facing Sixth Street, an exposed concrete masonry unit shaft wall at the corner, cementitious lap siding on the upper levels, and limestone masonry above the foundation on the lengthwise (north-south) elevations.
This hostel is going to be across Attayac Street from the 1305 East Sixth Street Apartments. That’s significant, mostly because the architectural styles couldn’t be any more different, so there’s going to be a stark contrast at the intersection once the new building delivers. The 1305 building is larger in area, albeit shorter by one floor — and it’s all green stucco, except for the windows.