Costs of Creativity
East side creative complex lands Caffe Medici and more favorite Austin companies
A hub designed to affordably accommodate the city’s creative class is taking shape in East Austin, with more than a dozen tenants like Caffé Medici and the Texas Book Festival already lined up.
The 10-acre Springdale General campus — backed by several notable Austinites — will feature more than 165,000 square feet of space for tech startups, nonprofits, artistic ventures, and other enterprises. The first tenants are scheduled to move in beginning in early 2018, with the entire 15-building project set to be finished next summer.
Springdale General says the mission of the project is to help keep musicians, artists, designers, coders, and similar professionals from fleeing an increasingly expensive Austin.
“Too many of our creative businesses are being pushed out of Austin because they can’t afford the rent,” says Daryl Kunik, founder and CEO of Central Austin Management Group, the developer of Springdale General. “Our goal with Springdale General … is to help maintain the city’s culture and creativity by offering dynamic work space that meets the functional and budgetary needs of the creative class.”
In addition to developing Springdale General, Central Austin Management Group will manage the property. Kunik’s company also is behind Canopy, a smaller-scale creative hub at 916 Springdale Road. Kunik is co-creator of the Uchi restaurant concept and co-owner of Austin-based Ace Tailors.
The cornerstone of Springdale General, at 1023 Springdale Road, will be Notley Ventures’ Center for Social Innovation, a 60,000-square-foot incubator for nonprofits and social ventures.
Co-founders of the center, Dan Graham and Matt McDonnell, are also two leaders of Notley, an Austin-based “micro” private equity firm that describes itself as being at the crossroads of profit and social impact. Graham says the goal of the Center for Social Innovation “is to provide open, flexible and affordable office space that encourages collaboration within Austin’s social impact community.”
Leading the design of Springdale General is noted Austin architect Michael Hsu, whose previous projects include Mellow Johnny’s, the bicycle shop started by Lance Armstrong; Uchi and Uchiko, the Japanese restaurants helmed by chef Tyson Cole; P. Terry’s burger joints; the South Congress Hotel; and the headquarters of Amy’s Ice Creams.
Nearly two-thirds of the space at Springdale General already has been leased. The eclectic mix of occupants will include:
- Caffé Medici (coffee shop and roasting facility)
- Austin Parks Foundation
- Cultivate PR
- Zhi Tea
- Texas Book Festival
- Austin Monitor
- AIDS Services of Austin
- Eli Halpin Gallery and Art Studio
- J-Squared Studios
- BlueSky Design & Build
Among the eco-friendly features of Springdale General will be:
- Numerous Car2Go parking spaces
- Several bike racks
- Recycling and composting capabilities
- Solar-powered exterior lighting
- Rain collection for landscape irrigation