East side evolution

Historic East Austin property hatches 'urban village' with micro-units, restaurants, and more

East Austin property hatches 'urban village' with micro-units and more

The Hatchery Austin
The Hatchery is scheduled to partially open in 2020. Rendering courtesy of The Hatchery
The Hatchery Austin
Restaurants, shops, and a public park will be among the attractions. Rendering courtesy of The Hatchery
The Hatchery Austin
The Hatchery Austin

A mixed-use development is hatching soon in East Austin. Anchored by the future home of classical-music radio station KMFA, The Hatchery will feature hundreds of apartments — including micro-units — as well as office space, restaurants, stores, a public park, and more attractions.

The Hatchery, designed as an “urban village,” is currently under construction on a nearly 18-acre site along Nash Hernandez Sr. Road between Waller and Comal streets, just steps from Lady Bird Lake. The existing 16-story Rebekah Baines Johnson Center, which serves as housing for seniors and those with disabilities, is undergoing a makeover and expansion and will be reincorporated into the project.

The main attraction at The Hatchery will be the new $10 million headquarters of KMFA, including a 135-seat music studio named in honor of 2018 package bombing victim Draylen Mason, a 17-year-old aspiring musician from Austin.

The residential component of The Hatchery will comprise 500 units of affordable housing for seniors at the renovated and enlarged RBJ Center, along with 300 micro-apartments and traditional apartments not affiliated with RBJ. Some of the apartments outside the RBJ Center will be set aside for lower-income residents.

The Hatchery also will offer 169,000 square feet of office space, and 23,000 square feet of space for restaurants and stores. A public park will complement the mixed-use development.

Some parts of The Hatchery will be ready in 2020, while the rest will be finished in 2021. Developers are Southwest Strategies Group, DMA Development, and Momark Development. 

As for the name, the site once housed a federal fish hatchery. President Lyndon Baines Johnson shut down the hatchery in 1969 and nonprofit Austin Geriatric Center then bought the land and built the RBJ Center on the premises. The center, named for Johnson’s mother, opened in 1972.