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Locals protest new mixed-used development set to open in South Austin

Locals protest new mixed-used development set to open in South Austin

St Elmos Marketplace
A rendering of the proposed St. Elmo Market.  KBGE Engineers/kbge-eng.com

KVUE — Locals are protesting a new development in one of Austin's last industrial parks. Members of "No Condos Here" are worried they'll be edged out as the project to create a one-of-a-kind space in South Austin gets underway.

In November, Austin City Council approved rezoning for a project to be built in the original factory for Austin school buses. The project is called "St. Elmo's Market" and it will be Austin's first indoor-outdoor marketplace. It will also feature a hotel, condos or office spaces, a brewery and a live music venue.

"[It will be] a combination of specialty food shops. You can have little craft shops that do soft goods and you also have creameries and bakeries and full-out restaurants and diners so it's a combination of businesses that are complementary of each other," said St. Elmo's Market managing partner Matt Spillers. The idea similar to Pike Place in Seattle and the Borough Market in London.

However, the project's location in the St. Elmo industrial area of South Austin has local businesses fighting back. "I'm concerned about the jobs. We have a lot of good paying, highly skilled jobs here and where are these people going to go?" asked Robert Palmerton, a South Austin business owner in the St. Elmo industrial area.

They formed the website nocondoshere.com to try and keep the space in tact as Austin continues to grow. "What I'm afraid is going to happen is they're going to come in, because this is very desirable land, and they're going to start offering people money and start pushing people on out," said Palmerton.

Spillers says they plan to work with the businesses already in the area and other Austin artisans to create what he calls a "jewel" in an otherwise industrial area of Austin.

The developers will begin selecting tenants for the St Elmo's Market starting in 2015. Construction is slated to being in 2016 and they hope to be open by 2018.

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To read the full story and see the video, head to KVUE.