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Demolition and Rebuilding at 12th and Chicon

Photo by Kelly Connelly, KUT News

The intersection of 12th and Chicon streets is associated with the sale and use of drugs, but soon it could be home to a different kind of retail altogether.

The Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation (CNRC) is a nonprofit affiliated with the area's neighborhood association. Today, it began the demolition of a building just steps away from the corner to make way for mixed-use structures that will house stores on the ground floor and residential units above.

Two other buildings between 12th and 14th streets are slated for the same makeover. The developments will make up a project called the Chicon Corridor.

Plans for the changes were first announced in early July, but talks of the changes have been in the works at neighborhood meetings for some time.

Sarah Andre is the project coordinator for CNRC. She says the project has been about a year and half in the making. Though the project was discussed publicly in meetings in the spring, it has received fairly little publicity. "There's been publicity about other efforts to fight crime in this area," Andre says, "but not necessarily on our development."

Andre says the corporation acquired the properties fairly quietly, but the neighborhood has had input on the project. "Chicon serves as a border for a number of different neighborhood associations, and we have got an advisory board that is made of representatives from each neighborhood association to provide advisory input on the project," Andre says.  "All of those neighborhood associations were involved in the zoning hearings that were held this spring, as well as a neighborhood plan amendment that was needed on one site, and they all provided letters of support."

Andre says a mixed-use complex was requested by the neighborhood. "As opposed to just a commercial building or just a residential building, people just want to see a 24-hour presence. They want it to be a lively area," Andre says. 

The CNRC hopes people will move in by late 2013. Of the 45 planned units at least 33 must follow national Housing and Urban Development codes, meaning that they'll be filled by Austinites who make 80 percent or less of the median income.