Austin's Sixth Street gets a new look with construction starting in early 2024
Although Austinites have fond memories and enduring favorite spots across our famous 6th Street, some places are worse for wear — and that's putting it lightly.
The street contains three sectors, unofficially, if you talk to a layman who simply enjoys spending time downtown: so-called Dirty Sixth, the most famous segment, contains the many bars and dance clubs frequented by the barely-21s; East Sixth, the cool, mature portion that is always welcoming new restaurants; and West Sixth, which offers a sort of hybrid of the two, giving refugees from Dirty Sixth a calmer place to hang without fully missing the party.
A major renovation is on the verge of rewriting some of that unclean association of the middle section with a brighter facade and more features that partners hope will encourage daytime visitors. Real estate firm Stream Realty Partners and architecture firm Clayton Korte announced on December 5 that they will begin tackling the physical portion of the project in early January.
The announcement also included that the "curated leasing process" would be beginning concurrently.
“Sixth Street is central to Austin and essential to preserving the city's vitality, and we want to bring this beloved street back to what it once was,” said Stream senior vice president Paul Bodenman in a release. “We have received such positive support from the community and future tenants and are excited to see Sixth Street become a bustling neighborhood again. By restoring Sixth, we honor the history and significance of this iconic Austin neighborhood.”
This work will affect more than 30 "unique parcels," which will later be available for lease, according to the release.
An Austin Business Journal article shared by Stream points out that the company owns "more than 40 properties on the famed downtown strip between Brazos Street and I-35," which a spokesperson confirms is the area of the construction.
In the summer of 2023, an ordinance went into effect that allows new construction up to 140 feet high, rather than the previously allowed 45.
Rendering courtesy of Clayton Korte
The release lists some new and returning tenants the partners hope to see moving in:
- local shops
- live music, including outdoor concerts series
- a weekend farmers market
- local art
- other community events
Renderings of the planned work show light, neutral colors — mostly whites and sandy beiges — and relatively low buildings of at most three floors. Austinites who are familiar with the area may even recognize some of the landmarks; One rendering depicts the structure on the corner of Sixth and Red River (note the covered food truck park in the background), which has been conspicuously vacant for some time.
Rendering courtesy of Clayton Korte
This is not Clayton Korte's first rodeo in public-facing restoration: It also worked on the 120-year-old Bouldin Creek Victorian home that became Mattie’s restaurant and event space, and the charming 1920s-era Tudor Cottage at Pease Park's Kingsbury Commons. It is also working on a project at Fiesta Gardens, the secluded outdoor event space and collection of Parks and Recreation buildings alongside Lady Bird Lake.
“While the surrounding neighborhoods in Austin are thriving, Sixth Street has yet to return to its full potential where it was once a booming daytime hub," said Clayton Korte principal Paul Clayton. "By creating a consistent identity for the community, we hope to revitalize the spirit of the neighborhood and create a space that is welcoming to everyone. To work in a historic district and protect its heritage, while also transitioning the neighborhood from its current bar-only focus to a more all-day, public-centric area – that is a direct result of the investment Stream is making.”