The area around Plaza Saltillo has seen some significant transformation in the last few years: Capital Metro‘s Red Line train has a stop there, and mixed-use development Corazon is taking shape on East 5th Street. Now it’s poised to see an even bigger transformation. Capital Metro, which owns the 10-acre parcel of land around the Plaza Saltillo station, issued a request for proposals from developers last week.
The Saltillo land runs between East 5th and East 4th Streets from Comal Street to I-35. Capital Metro has owned the land since 1995, and according to documents, plans to maximize the value of the site and expand ridership with this redevelopment. Capital Metro anticipates selecting a developer by mid-2014.
According to a Capital Metro development feasibility study on the Transit Oriented Development (TOD), 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.
Will Schnier, CEO of civil engineering firm BIG RED DOG, sees Transit Oriented mixed use projects as a smart way to add density and bring services to a city’s core without overburdening transportation networks, utilities and the environment.
“With well-thought out infill development, we are able to build our transportation access and utilities in a tighter area that everyone shares — and have multi-modal connectivity with Capital Metro’s Red Line passenger rail.” Schnier says.
Capital Metro will likely see a big response from developers. Although it was once considered a risky bet for development, the area around Plaza Saltillo is becoming a new hot spot. Corazon, which will bring 260 residential units and 17,000 square feet commercial space, is one of the catalysts of that change. The vertical-mixed use project is the largest to date in the Plaza Saltillo TOD. In addition to dense residential, retail and commercial space, the project is adding a full pedestrian streetscape sidewalk design. Corazon’s developer Cypress Real Estate Advisors and its civil engineer BIG RED DOG are also designing and constructing the adjacent Velasquez Park, a City of Austin park , in collaboration with DWG Landscape Architects.
Coupled with the City of Austin’s Great Streets program, which includes East 5th Street, and nearby the Waller Creek development, the area is in for some dynamic changes.