An Affordable Austin

Innovative mixed-use development brings affordable homes to heart of East Austin

Innovative development brings affordable homes to heart of East Austin

Chicon Street 12th Street intersection mural
The Chicon is a new three-building, mixed-use development in East Austin. The Chicon/Facebook
The Chicon development East Austin Joyce building
Each of the three buildings, including the Joyce (pictured here), will feature residences and commercial space. Rendering courtesy of The Chicon
Chicon Street 12th Street intersection mural
The Chicon development East Austin Joyce building

Another mixed-use development is slated for East Austin — but this one offers something different than the rest. The Chicon will be among the first mixed-use projects in Austin to offer affordable homeownership. Its mission is to preserve and enhance the culture of East Austin's historic Chestnut neighborhood.

"Historically, the Chestnut neighborhood was a flourishing artistic, cultural, and commercial hub," states the website. "The Chicon aims to bring this attitude back to life — preserving and supporting the history, legacy, and culture of the area by providing affordable and market rate homes for East Austin residents."

The development includes three separate three-story buildings along Chicon Street near the intersections of 13th and 14th streets. There are 45 residences total, 33 of which have been set aside as affordable housing with the help of the City of Austin.

"To qualify, individuals must make less than 80 percent of the median family income, which for a single person is $43,000 per year — about the equivalent for a starting salary of a teacher at AISD," says Sean Garretson, spokesperson for Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation (CNRC).

CNRC, a nonprofit dedicated to serving East Austin, has been intently working on The Chicon project for almost two years. The organization is partnering with Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects and Big RedDog on the development.

In addition to affordable housing, The Chicon will have 6,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial and office space. Unlike most developments, these spaces are for sale, not for lease. "We have six businesses already signed up with earnest money," says Garretson. "So far, we have an apothecary, a nail salon, a coffee shop, a restaurant, an office, and an ice cream shop,"

Construction of The Chicon will happen in two phases. The first phase, which began in January, will include 33 units across two buildings; residents are expected to begin moving in next spring. The team hopes to launch the second phase around the same time.