Developers finally break ground on East Austin's new Plaza Saltillo District

Big changes are coming to East Austin. On Wednesday, June 28, Capital Metro and developers Endeavor Real Estate Group and Columbus Realty will break ground on the new Plaza Saltillo District, which calls for the redevelopment of the 10-acre plot bordered by I-35, Comal Street, East Fourth Street, and East Fifth Street.

Viewed as a "mixed-use, mixed-mobility community," the Plaza Saltillo District will serve as a residential, retail, and transportation hub on the east side. The plan includes approximately 800 living units (140 of which will be affordable housing), 140,000 square feet of office space, 110,000 square feet of retail space, and 1.4 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 is a vision over two decades in the making. Capital Metro okayed the initial proposal from Endeavor, the developer of The Domain, in summer 2014 and signed off on a final draft two years later. Construction was slightly delayed in 2017 so Endeavour could get a few changes approved by both the transportation agency and the Austin City Council. Original plans called for a four-story office building, but an eight-story version has been green lit by all parties.

The goal of the development is to promote alternative transportation in Austin's east side by creating a lively area around an existing Capital Metro station. 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.

"The Plaza Saltillo District is the realization of a shared vision of literally hundreds of talented and dedicated people, and reflects more than 20 years of input from surrounding neighborhoods, businesses, elected leaders, and community stakeholders," says Linda Watson, president and CEO of Cap Metro, in a release. "We are very grateful for all of their efforts in the creation of this future vibrant and transit-rich neighborhood that will help address two of the region's biggest problems: mobility and affordability."

An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 10:30 am on Wednesday, with music, refreshments, and a few words from local officials. Red Line service will not be affected by construction.

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