Austin: East Sixth Street Eyed for New Office Development
Feature Photo (above): Architectural rendering of the office/retail complex proposed by Riverside Resources for the 1400 block of East 6th Street. Courtesy: Gensler.
by Edmond Ortiz
Austin (Travis County) — Local developer Riverside Resources has a plan to significantly boost the amount of office and retail space in a fast-growing part of East Austin.
Riverside submitted a site plan in June for Centro, a multi-phase, mixed-use complex at 1401 E. Sixth St., just northwest of Capital MetroRail’s Plaza Saltillo Station. The boundaries for the initial phase encompass the city block bounded by East 5th and 6th streets, and Navasota Street to the west, Onion Street to the east. A half block of the adjacent land east of Onion is also being held in reserve for future development.
The developer proposes an initial phase of 289,557 square feet of office space, and 26,303 square feet of ground-level restaurant space that would be divided to have retail facing north on East 6th Street and south on East 5th Street. The parking plan is to construct four levels of underground structure across the entire 1.8 acres.
Phase 1 would cover an entire city block, from East Fifth Street to East Sixth between Navasota and Onion streets. Second-floor skybridges will link the two new five-story structures with each other. Big Red Dog is the engineer for the project, designated as Onion Street West in filings with the city.
Abandoned industrial buildings and a sliver of undeveloped land sit presently at the project site, which is zoned Transit Oriented Development. If all goes well, demolition of the existing structures and site preparation could begin in January or February 2020. A second phase of construction would cap off the entire project in spring 2022.
Riverside has not yet furnished Phase 2 details, but the developer anticipates closing Onion Street between 6th and 5th streets and converting that right of way into a landscaped non-vehicle walkway that will provide pedestrians with an easier path between the new office buildings and the rail station.
Riverside Resources has not offered more information or comments about future plans for neighboring property at 1501 E. Sixth. Riverside recently acquired that lot from WPW LLC, an enterprise that represents Walton Enterprises, the holding company formed by Walmart founder Sam Walton and his family.
The western half of the 1500 block of East Sixth, once home to the former Nuevo Leon restaurant, now serves as a gathering spot for diners visiting a handful of food trucks that regularly park there.
Riverside began working with other ventures in 2016 to piecemeal acquire lots around the block that will accommodate Centro Phase 1, according to Travis County records. Those land acquisitions continued into late 2018.
The neighborhood has seen rapid redevelopment in the last few years, with an influx of new single- and multi-family housing options along with new bars, restaurants and hotels.
Aerial perspective of the proposed Centro office/retail complex by Riverside Resources. Graphics by Adolfo Pesquera.
Some of the more notable newer developments in the immediate area include Endeavor Real Estate Group’sPlaza Saltillo, a large mixed-use community, and 1801 East 6th, a multi-story office complex developed by Riverside Resources.
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.