Austin: Cafe/Bar Plans to Revive Historic Texaco Depot on East Side
Featured Illustration (above): Conceptual rendering of rehabilitated historic Texaco rail yard depot buildings in the 1300 block of East Fourth Street. A local cafe/bar envisions preserving and reusing the century-old structures as a restaurant and bar. Image: Clayton & Little
By Edmond Ortiz
Austin (Travis County)–A project team led by the owners of a local cafe/bar plans to turn a former East Side rail yard depot built one century ago into a restaurant and bar.
Paul Oveisi and Patrick Dean, founders of Cosmic Coffee and Beer Garden, seek to rehabilitate two historic Texaco depot buildings at 1300 and 1302 E. 4th St. The wood-framed, two-story buildings were used by Texaco to store fuel in Austin’s original rail yard starting in the early 1900s.
The former Texaco depot buildings are located within the Saltillo mixed-use railyard redevelopment on the East Side. Image: City of Austin
Over the following decades, the structures were used to store delivery trucks and tires before they were turned into more publicly accessible commercial venues, including art studios and live music venues. The buildings have stood vacant for the last several years.
The city’s Historic Landmark Commission on May 18 approved a concept presented by Cosmic Coffee’s project team for restoring the exteriors of both structures.
Texaco signage will be preserved. Roofs will be repaired or replaced as needed. Windows will be repaired or replaced with replicas.
New windows are proposed to include aluminum clad wood with muntin and sash profiles similar to existing windows.
New storefront system to be made of steel and glass with muntins and frames. New exterior doors are to be made of steel and glass.
A filed site plan also contains planters, private seating ponds, a small reflection pool with fountain, and a Koi pond.
Those features would be located toward the back of the property, along the Lance Armstrong Bikeway that runs parallel to the railroad.
South elevation of the existing former Texaco depot buildings and the improvements that are being proposed. Image: Clayton & Little
Clayton & Little is the lead architect on Cosmic Coffee’s project. Ten Eyck Landscape is the landscape architect, Duffy Engineering is the structural engineer, and Encotech is the MEP engineer.
There are no available estimates on a construction schedule, cost or delivery method.
VBX members may track this project using ID number: 2020-40E0.
A view at the rear and planned water tower/elevator shaft. Image: Clayton & Little
Cosmic Coffee opened in 2018 near St. Edward’s University, offering specialty coffee, local beers, craft cocktails, live music and food trucks in a garden setting.
Cosmic Coffee’s location at 121 Pickle Road is a demonstration in environmental sustainability, featuring a rain-fed pond with native flora and fauna, raised garden beds, a chicken run and coop, rainwater catchment, and a compost system.
Cosmic Coffee’s new concept will arise next to Saltillo, a 10-acre swath of former rail yard between East Fourth and East Fifth streets that the Endeavor Real Estate Group recently redeveloped for mixed use.
Saltillo is one of the major redevelopments happening or planned to take place in East Austin’s industrial sector.
Site plan for the Texaco depot rehabilitation. Image: Clayton & Little
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.