Big changes are on the horizon for East Austin. On Monday, Capital Metro approved a final agreement with Endeavor Real Estate Group and Columbus Realty to redevelop Plaza Saltillo, the 10-acre plot bordered by I-35, Comal Street, East Fourth Street, and East Fifth Street.
Viewed as a "a mixed-use, mixed-mobility community," the new Plaza Saltillo District will serve as a residential, retail, and transportation hub in East Austin. Endeavor's plan, with the help of local architect Michael Hsu, includes approximately 800 living units (120 of which will be affordable housing), 120,000 square feet of office space, 110,000 square feet of retail space, and 2.25 acres of open space. More than 1,700 people are expected to live or work in the area once complete.
The transformation of these six blocks in East Austin is a vision over two decades in the making. Capital Metro approved the initial proposal from Endeavor, the developer of The Domain, in summer 2014. Since then the organizations have been finalizing the plan, addressing worker protection issues, and negotiating the terms of the lease.
The goal of the Plaza Saltillo District is to promote alternative transportation in Austin's east side by creating a lively area around an existing Capital Metro station. "This transit-oriented development in the heart of East Austin will provide important revenue and ridership to our overall operations while meeting important social goals for the surrounding community," said Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson in a press release.
The site already includes the 1-acre Plaza Saltillo Station for the Red Line commuter rail. Once complete, other transportation options will include expanded Austin B-cycle service in the area, an extension of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, car2go access, and below-ground parking.
Construction of the Plaza Saltillo District is slated to begin in early 2017 and is expected to take two-and-a-half years. The Hope Farmers Market will not be affected.