The Grove Moves Forward, Slowly

October 27, 2016 by Kate Harrington

A new proposal OK’d Austin’s City Council may help move forward The Grove at Shoal Creek, a planned mixed-use development that would take shape at 45th Street and Bull Creek in Central Austin.

During a Council meeting in late October, Mayor Steve Adler proposed tentatively giving the developers the zoning designation they’re seeking, while also negotiating some of the more controversial details. That means that the zoning comes with the number of housing units the developer wants – 1,700 residences – but less office and retail space. That plan was approved by Council on Oct. 20.

ARG Bull Creek, The Grove’s developer, wants to build about 360,000 square feet of office and retail in addition to the residential units on the site, which spans 75 acres. The current approval caps office space at 115,000 square feet, and retail at 100,000 square feet.

The Grove’s developer want to build a PUD, which would allow different types of development to take shape within one large scale project. It’s not clear whether the entire project could move forward with the limited retail and office space.

Some neighbors, including the group Bull Creek Road Coalition and incumbent Councilmember Leslie Pool, have opposed the project because they worry that adequate planning for increased traffic – particularly in a residential area with already-burgeoning streets – has not been put in place.

Supporters of the project, including Pool’s opponent Natalie Gauldin, say the developer has planned for traffic needs, and argue that The Grove will provide affordable housing in a city that is struggling with affordability and housing stock.

Pool had proposed amendments that would downsize the office and retail space, and ARG fired back that if that was approved, they would build single-family homes instead of the denser, and more affordable, residences originally in the plans.

With this latest approval, the development is taking tentative steps forward, although it still needs two more Council approvals before developers can break ground. The next public hearing is scheduled in November.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.