Last month, we introduced the thought experiment of the Brodie Oaksifyer, a sort of sci-fi laser cannon capable of instantly converting one of Austin’s many sprawled-out shopping centers into a Brodie Oaks-style redevelopment — we’re talking denser and more walkable urban design, new housing, and green space reclaiming underused parking lots, among other perks. Since then, we’ve received hundreds of responses from our readers with a few ideas about where they’d point the cannon if given the opportunity, and we’re surprised to discover that even in a town with plenty of solid candidates, there are three clear winners showing up more often than anything else.
Based on our survey, the top three shopping centers our readers would like to see redeveloped here are Capital Plaza, Hancock Center, and Barton Creek Square Mall. While those first two are currently strip mall-style shopping centers, as an actual mall mall Barton Creek Square presents an interesting redevelopment opportunity — there’s tons of surface parking that could be swapped with new buildings and structured parking, but also a huge existing building at the center. We’ve argued for the improvement of Hancock Center on this very blog, and something new at Capital Plaza is such a no-brainer we’re surprised we didn’t think to mention it last month.
“Barton Creek Square. One just needs to take a quick look at it on Google Maps to see just how giant that terrible blotch of impervious cover is.”
“The Hancock Center. After Sears went out of business the building has been sitting vacant for years. Maybe 40% of the parking in the center is actually used. It’s adjacent to I-35, the Commodore Perry, the Hancock Golf Course, and is likely the most used shopping center by UT students. It’s a great location that has a lot of potential. Just needs more investment.”
“Absolutely Capital Plaza: The Target store there is the only really busy spot in the whole center, and the surrounding growth of neighborhoods like Windsor Park and Mueller would really benefit from something like Brodie Oaks bringing housing and parks here. Have you been over there lately? Nobody even uses the parking in back!”
Now that we’ve narrowed the Brodie Oaksifyer’s target list down to three incredibly promising candidates for transformation, we’re doing another round of votes to crown Austin’s most eligible shopping center once and for all. How can you choose just one?