Ground flood retail coming to Sixth and Lamar, topped by four layers of parking
Even for people who have a strong interest in urban Austin development, the increasing activity is hard to keep track of, especially when overshadowed (literally) by bigger projects.
A lot of attention is being paid to the construction boom on South Lamar, but there is a fair amount underway on North Lamar near downtown too.
This area is branded as the “Market District” and runs from West Elm on the south, past the Nokonah, and north to the Tavern. But, the term has caught on with few people.
When you take a hard look, it’s exciting for folks who live within biking or walking distance, but pretty quickly you have to start wondering: Is Lamar Boulevard going to become a parking lot?
Ground work is starting now on the demolition of a vacant building at Sixth and Lamar, which will be replaced with 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space topped by four levels of parking.
Just a bit south, a 25,000-square-foot building is being added at Fourth St., which will have two stories of offices over street-level retail space.
Austin-based Schlosser Development Corp. is behind both projects, which are easy to lose sight of in the face of Schlosser’s planned 20-story skyscraper behind Whole Foods, which will also include an adjacent five-story building. Even though that skyscraper was announced some time ago and a site plan filed about a year ago that is still in review (SP-2012-0036C), there is little being done in public view, although Schlosser’s people told the Austin American-Statesman in April that construction could start next year.
What’s remarkable, besides the flurry of construction and continued health of Austin’s development, is the amount of cars these are all going to add onto the N. Lamar area. On any given day, weekends included, anyone who has driven to Whole Foods has cursed regret by trying to cross the Lamar bridge.
Photo credit: Nathan Bernier, KUT News
We crunched the numbers over at Austin Towers, and even though we’re no transportation wonks, by our math based on rules of thumb and open records, the construction listed above equals some 8,000 more people trying to get in and out of the Whole Foods area daily. Bet that most of them will be by car.
Keep in mind – as pointed out by KUT’s Wells Dunbar – Lamar Blvd is already one of the most congested roads in Texas.
This speaks to a larger issue at play along all of Lamar: for these offices and shopping centers to be attractive, people have to be able to access them. The turning point at which Whole Food employees start to rebel because they can’t get to the office, and shoppers start to rebel because they can’t graze at the salad bar at Whole Foods means an eventual shift back to the suburbs.