70 Rainey Ends Talks With MACC Board

Rescinds proposal

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (Courtesy of City of Austin)

Talks between the Mexican American Cultural Center board of directors and New York City-based Sackman Enterprises – which is building a condominium complex next to the museum – have officially broken down. An agenda item at the last MACC board meeting on May 6 had been inserted to discuss the matter – chiefly a counterproposal from board members to the developer's offer in exchange for use of the MACC perimeter for construction staging. But the item was abruptly pulled after the developer rescinded its offer in the face of community backlash over construction (see "Can MACC and 70 Rainey Coexist?" April 24).

In exchange for use of adjacent, city-owned land at 64 Rainey abutting the MACC during two years of construction, Sackman had offered to create a pocket park on that tract at a cost of $300,000 and provide for its maintenance in perpetuity. Community members and MACC board members have balked at the proposal, prompting the developer to end its talks with the board. "Out of respect for the community feedback received regarding plans for 64 Rainey St., Sackman Enter­prises respectfully requested the MACC Advisory Board remove the agenda item related to our proposal," Director of Development C.J. Sackman wrote in an email in response to questions from the Chronicle. "The proposal was intended to reflect our commitment to helping the MACC community and Rainey neighborhood with park space at 58 and 64 Rainey, if they were interested."

After the meeting, MACC advisory board Chairman David Carroll expressed surprise at the outcome: "It was unexpected. But they are developers, they're a business, and they have to do what's in the best interest of their project." Sackman now seems poised to deal only with city officials in their pursuit of access to land in constructing their 35-story luxury condo project: "We have decided to rescind the current proposal but will remain a resource should the MACC and community find a solution more agreeable to their goals," company officials said as part of their statement.

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Mexican American Cultural Center, Sackman Enterprises, MACC, 70 Rainey

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