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Hotel or Grocery Store? Two Visions to Redevelop East Austin's Plaza Saltillo

Endeavor Real Estate/Columbus Realty Partners/Capital Metro

Update: Capital Metro has chosen a developer for its Plaza Saltillo project, spanning 11-acres that used to be a downtown rail yard.

The team led by Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate and Dallas’s Columbus Realty was awarded the project at the Capital Metro Board of Directors meeting yesterday. Capital Metro will have the final say on the design. Read below for more.

Original story (May 21): What does the future hold for East Austin's Plaza Saltillo? This week, the city came a few steps closer to finding out. 

For years, Austin's Capital Metro has held 11 acres of land in central east Austin. The Plaza Saltillo region – bound by Interstate 35 on the west, Comal Street on the east, and between E. Fourth and E. Fifth Streets – sits adjacent to Cap Metro's commuter MetroRail line.

Despite its central location, large parts of the region have stood largely unchanged – but not for much longer.

Monday, May 19, the Capital Metro Board of Directors named a pair of finalists for the redevelopment of Plaza Saltillo. Out of four semifinalists, two teams emerged: a group led by Endeavor Real Estate and Columbus Realty Partners, and the Saltillo Collaborative, which includes Constructive Ventures and Trammell Crow Company.

What's in the Endeavor Proposal:

The Endeavor team calls for 800 housing units directly along the rail line. A quarter of the units (200) would be affordable housing apartments, with half of those affordable units reserved for seniors.

Credit Endeavor Real Estate/Columbus Realty Partners/Capital Metro
A breakdown of proposed rental housing and retail for Plaza Saltillo.

Approximately one-fourth of the land would be dedicated to retail and commercial use, with stores facing E. Fifth Street. Endeavor calls for a 60,000 sq. ft. full service grocery store at the I-35 frontage road to pull in customers from surrounding areas and create a connection with neighboring communities. The plan also calls for an "urban green" for outdoor recreation, and a market containing "permanent artisan and craft shops."

Credit Endeavor Real Estate/Columbus Realty Partners/Capital Metro
Various land use proposals for Plaza Saltillo

What's in the Saltillo Collaborative Proposal

Saltillo Collaborative also sets aside 25 percent of residential units for affordable housing, with the rest going at market rate. The affordable and market rate housing will be separated, with affordable units on the west, and market rate housing more eastward. 

Credit Saltillo Collaborative/Capital Metro
A rendering of market rate housing units along E. Fifth Street.

Where Endeavor plans a grocery store along the I-35 frontage road, Saltillo Collaborative envisions a hotel near the interstate. Both developers plan to incorporate local businesses for their retail and commercial space. And both plans fit into Austin's transit-oriented development guidelines.

Credit Saltillo Collaborative/Capital Metro
A hotel along I-35 frontage road could reach as high as 120 feet.

The Cap Metro board hopes to come to a decision towards the end of June on which developer they will chose. For more, view the entire presentations from Endeavor Real Estate/Columbus Realty Partners and Saltillo Collaborative.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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