We’ve known for some time that local architects KRDB had eyes on a mixed-use project at East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near the Oakwood Cemetery. But I’ve recently heard from the firm that the building’s site plan is on the verge of approval, so let’s take a closer look at what’s in store.
The project, if approved, is headed to the corner of East MLK Jr. Boulevard and Leona Street, right across the street from the cemetery. The address on the site plan is 1707 East MLK, but it appears the project will extend from the 1701 to the 1707 lots on the corner, making the site a little more than a half-acre in overall size. The site plan describes a three-story building, zoned for mixed-use but mostly residential with 17 total condos and 1,890 square feet of restaurant space on the ground floor.
So far, so good, but projects like these are springing up all over the city — what makes this one different? We’ve kept an eye on this particular building because KRDB has designated the development as version 2.0 of its SOL community model. SOL, which stands for Solutions Oriented Living, is a sort of architectural experiment bent on creating communities that are simultaneously well-designed, affordable, and environmentally conscious.
The first SOL development, a 5.5 acre medium-density infill project in the Johnston Terrace neighborhood of East Austin, looks like an architect’s take on the classic American suburb, but with modern design, smaller square footage, and serious attention to shared outdoor space. The community was unique enough to receive attention from the New York Times, and we’ve been excited to see what KRDB had in store for the second iteration of the project.
If the 1701 East MLK project is really SOL 2.0, it appears the architects are now applying the same philosophy to a higher-density condo project. Though we’re a little light on details, the site plan and renderings seem to show attention paid to both private and community space — condos have their own small yards, but there’s also a 2,500 square foot community space in the central courtyard of the building. Plans also seem to show a shared patio above the parking garage element on the first floor, and at least one green wall on the building’s northern elevation.
The initial description of the project also mentioned the inclusion of live/work spaces among the residences, but the current site plan isn’t clear on this. It’s possible this element didn’t make it to the final plan, but we’ll keep an eye on it — after all, live/work appears to be the east side trend of the moment.
According to KRDB, the building’s permit with the city is in the second round of comments, meaning we’ll probably see approval of the site plan relatively soon.