Published on May 19th, 2014 | by Kate Harrington
The Battle for East Austin’s Plaza Saltillo
The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Plaza Saltillo redevelopment moved one step closer to a reality on May 19, as the agency narrowed down the field of potential developers for the 11-acre site to two.
Endeavor Real Estate Group and Saltillo Collaborative and are the two finalists.
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Capital Metro released a request for proposals in October 2013 for the redevelopment of Plaza Saltillo, a site it has owned since 1995. The Saltillo land runs between East 5th and East 4th Streets from Comal Street to IH-35. According to a Capital Metro feasibility study, the site could hold up to 908 residential units and more than 63,400 square feet of flex space. That study looked at development taking shape in dense, mixed-use three- or five-story buildings.
The area has seen rapid growth, and the City of Austin has recently completed building East 5th Street as a Great Street from IH-35 to Onion Street.
The two finalists are well-known players in the Austin real estate world. With a mix of styles proposed, both finalist groups envision a dense mix of uses, including market-rate and affordable residential units, office space, recreational areas, and retail space.
Endeavor Real Estate Group has extensive experience with Austin development, and is able to boast that The Domain and Southpark Meadows are on its resume. In East Austin, Endeavor recently competed an office building very near Plaza Saltillo at 2021 East 5th Street, which features Enviromedia and BIG RED DOG Engineering as the lead tenants. Features of note on the Endeavor proposal are a grocery store and a dedicated senior housing component in addition to market rate apartments and the required affordable rate units. Austin architectural favorite Michael Hsu is the project architect for Endeavor.
Saltillo Collaborative is a joint venture comprised of local developers, led by the Trammell Crow Company, developer of the Green Water Treatment Plant site in downtown Austin. The Saltillo Collaborative’s proposal features the provision of affordable housing in structures by Foundation Communities and Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation. Market rate housing and over 130,000-SF of new creative office space are also included in that teams proposal. Their architect for the project is Moule & Polyzoides.
Prior to Monday’s decsision to narrow the field to two, Austin’s own Argyle Residential and Riverside Resources were also among the finalists for the Capital Metro land. Argyle Residential/Cypress Real Estate is already developing Corazon, a vertical mixed-use project under construction adjacent to the Plaza Saltillo site on East 5th Street. Corazon was the first large mixed-use, mixed-income development to take shape in East Austin, and has been a true catalyst for growth in that area. Riverside Resources was part of a team that built and sold the 16-story Whitley apartment tower at 301 Brazos Street.
According to its website, the Capital Metro board could make a final decision later this month.