EXCLUSIVE: As long-awaited Plaza Saltillo breaks ground in East Austin, developer sheds light on project details

City and regional transit leaders are convening at the Plaza Saltillo development today to celebrate the start of a project that took decades to plan.

Endeavor Real Estate Group, which is developing the project, won the contract three years ago, and the master development agreement was approved last year. But the project had been in the planning stages since 1997.

The project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2019, said Jason Thumlert, principal at Endeavor. The developer has a 99-year lease agreement with regional transit agency Capital Metro, which owns the 11-acre plat mostly comprising an abandoned train depot.

"We are excited to be moving forward with Capital Metro to address two pressing needs: affordability and mobility. We look forward to delivering a project the community's proud to have," Thumlert said.

The development spans six continuous city blocks from I-35 to Onion Street, between Fourth and Fifth streets. It will comprise the following:

  • Approximately 800 residential units

  • 141 units (17.6 percent) reserved for residents who earn up to 50 percent of Austin’s median family income

  • 110,000 square feet of retail, including restaurants

  • 140,000 square feet of office space, primarily in an 8-story office tower at I-35 that includes retail on the first floor

  • 1.4 acres of public open space (parks, a paseo and bikeways)

  • Works created by local artists, including tiles created in the style of Austin’s sister city of Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico

In addition, the Lance Armstrong Bikeway will be extended from I-35 at Fourth Street to Plaza Saltillo, the B-Cycle Bike Share Program will be expanded, parking spaces will be reserved for Car2Go, parking will be available in below- and above-ground facilities, and San Marcos Street will be extended through the project.

For Capital Metro's part, the Plaza Saltillo development will be "significant" to the agency's operations, particularly when it comes to providing a boost in transit ridership. Capital Metro's Plaza Saltillo MetroRail station sits on the one developed acre on the project site.

"The higher your ridership, the more transit you can provide," spokesperson Francine Pares said. "The goal is to help provide more riders. It's a good thing for transit and real estate to work together."

The project area will see truck traffic and temporary traffic control measures over the next two years, Capital Metro spokesperson Mariette Hummel said in an email.

The changing landscape and community in East Austin contributed to the longer planning time, Hummel said.

"There have been several iterations of what the community sought for this area, and several market cycles in those twenty years," she said. "The area has also changed over time, as well as the needs of the community."

Pares said the project is the culmination of 20 years of work by 100s of people.

"It's just a barren patch of land right now, and it's just going to bloom into something beautiful," she said.


The new H-E-B store is located on Ronald Reagan Boulevard in north Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: New H-E-B in Leander opening soon; Texas Supreme Court grants rehearing for high-speed rail eminent domain case and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 18.

A photo at the Y intersection, as TxDOT begins to grade and clear the project area. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Oak Hill Parkway update: sound wall construction, intermittent night closures, and tree and brush removal

The Texas Department of Transportation is undertaking more minor aspects of construction in advance of major construction getting underway in early 2022.

Austin City Council approved dozens of spending items and rezoning requests during an Oct. 14 meeting. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Austin City Hall notebook: Council approves measures to address flooding, homelessness, corridor changes

Flood resiliency, affordable housing and memorials took the spotlight at the Oct. 14 Austin City Council meeting.

Lakeway city council members will consider Oct. 18 rezoning acreage along Lohmans Crossing as part of a proposal to develop The Square at Lohmans. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lakeway council to consider The Square at Lohmans zoning proposal

If developed, the multiuse development would bring a new segment of Main Street.

Trustee Lynn Boswell speaks at an Oct. 14 information session of the Austin ISD board of trustees. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD seeks firm to help redistricting process

As districts within AISD are redrawn, the board of trustees will get legal assistance from a firm it has not yet chosen.

The amended version of the planned development unit will now go to the Austin Planning Commission for review. (Rendering courtesy Austin Environmental Commission)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Austin commission OKs development plan near Lady Bird Lake; shopping center coming to Porter and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 15.

Kyle Center Street Trick-or-Treat will be held Oct. 23. (Courtesy city of Kyle)
20 fall activities to do across Central Texas; Grand Donuts coming to Georgetown and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Early voting starts Oct. 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Travis County early voting begins Oct. 18

There are 27 polling locations throughout the county.

A dash cam still shows flooding on Brandt Road after rain. (Courtesy Jon Iken)
South Austin affordable apartment complex moves forward despite neighbors' concerns

Neighbors worry about road safety and flooding, but City Council says there will be mitigation for those issues.

City Council voted to approve the first reading of a rezoning request, with Council Member Vanessa Fuentes adding directions. (Maggie Quinlan/Community Impact)
City Council approves South Austin affordable housing development with caveats

Council members say developers should add more affordable units to their apartment complex plan near Beacon Ridge.

The Smoking Joint is now open under the umbrella of Click Click Chew virtual food hall in Cypress. (Courtesy Kirsten Gilliam)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: More restaurant, retail space could be coming to north Frisco development; Locatelli’s owners launch virtual food hall in Cypress, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 14.