Creating a 'Corridor'

Capital Metro's redevelopment plans for the Saltillo District would create a gateway and centerpiece for what has already, and rapidly, become a hot stretch of Austin real estate. After decades of neglect of the industrial rail yard, both private and public money is flowing into the corridor -- transforming, and at times worrying, the Eastside neighborhoods.


Developer: Capital Metro

Cost: Undetermined -- perhaps $100 million

Time frame: Build-out completed by 2013

Cap Metro hopes its 11-acre parcel can become a showpiece of transit-oriented development and a hub for rail -- while still being affordable (even by Eastside standards) and consistent with the character of the barrio.


Developer: City of Austin

Time frame: Opened 1999

After years in development, the one-block public plaza has been underutilized ever since it opened; the city, Cap Metro (which actually owns the land), and local businesses and neighbors want the plaza to be a real "town square" for the Saltillo corridor.


The ECC plan, adopted by the city in 1999, calls for mixed-use new-urban development along the rail corridor. The ECC planning team included Lori Renteria and her allies, but not members of El Concilio, who loudly tried to shoot the plan down, saying it would gentrify the neighborhood. While the ECC team at one point objected to Cap Metro's plans for the Saltillo District, the transit authority says the ECC plan will be the Saltillo starting point.


The Holly plan was driven by El Concilio -- and, despite that group's criticisms of the "gentrifying" elements of the ECC plan, it calls for much of the same sort of post-industrial development on the corridor. The Holly planning team has endorsed projects like the Pedernales and the Villas on Sixth.


Developer: Huston-Tillotson College

Cost: $30 million (estimated)

Time frame: 2013 at the earliest

The college intends to develop new student housing and athletic facilities on the blocks it owns just north of Seventh Street, between the current campus and the State Cemetery.


Developer: University of Texas System

Cost: Undetermined

Time frame: Opens Aug. 19

UT's charter school, serving first-graders (to start) in the corridor and surrounding neighborhoods, is already well under construction.


Developer: City of Austin

Cost: $4 million

Time frame: Eastside segment completed late 2005

The 6-mile crosstown bike route crosses the Saltillo site and runs through the corridor; unlike the west-side section, the Eastside bikeway will likely consist mostly of signs and stripes on existing streets.

East Seventh Street Corridor


Developer: City of Austin

Cost: $2 million to $3 million

Time frame: Phase I completed 2005

The city's corridor streetscape project aims to make Seventh both a more useful and beautiful neighborhood arterial and a better gateway to Downtown from the airport. Phase I covers the stretch between Chicon and Pleasant Valley.

El Nuevo Mercado


Developer: Z Development

Cost: $75 million

Time frame: January 2006 (anticipated)

The glossy mixed-use project has gotten a go-ahead from the city, but developers say the bust and Eastside redlining have gotten in the way of financing.

Villas on Sixth


Developer: Campbell-Hogue LLC

Cost: $17 million

Time frame: Unknown

The 160-unit low-income project, a partnership with the YMCA, is hoping to persuade the state to award it tax credits that will help Campbell-Hogue to offer below-market rents.

Pedernales Live/Work


Developer: Urban Digs LLC

Cost: $10 million to $11 million

Time frame: Completed by September 2004

The 105-unit project helmed by Perry Lorenz, Richard deVarga, and Larry Warshaw aims to provide affordable yet hip living for urban core creatives.

Sixth + Brushy


Developer: Pegalo Properties

Cost: $5.6 million

Time frame: Late 2004 (anticipated)

The owner/developers of the adjacent 501 Studios and J.R. Reed media complex are putting up a 23-unit market-rate building with ground-floor retail.

"The overriding goal for the Saltillo District Redevelopment Project is to construct an exemplary, compact community,"- Capital Metro literature

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

  • More of the Story

  • Here Comes the Neighborhood

    Capital Metro, City Hall, and Eastside neighbors come together to share their hopes -- and fears -- for the Saltillo corridor.
  • Twenty Years of Battle in the Barrio

    The two main Eastside neighborhood camps -- and other figures on the margins -- each try to take the reins of redevelopment.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle