Austin’s old ‘Graffiti Park’ site proposed for two-part, 22-condo development

Austin's "Graffiti Park" was a popular community asset until its closure in 2018. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's "Graffiti Park" was a popular community asset until its closure in 2018. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin's "Graffiti Park" was a popular community asset until its closure in 2018. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

The site once occupied by Austin’s nationally popular HOPE Outdoor Gallery, known locally as "Graffiti Park," is proposed to soon host 22 three-bedroom condos in a two-part development, according to city planning documents.

Although completely fenced off, artifacts from the property’s days as an urban graffiti lab—slabs of brightly colored concrete and spray paint cans—remain on the sloping tract of land at 1006 Baylor St. In 2018, the Austin Historic Landmark Commission approved the demolition of the popular park, which operated on private land since the park opened as a South by Southwest Conference & Festivals exhibit in 2011. HOPE Outdoor Gallery is set to reopen later this year at 9507 Sherman Road, on Carson Creek Ranch in East Austin, close to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The concrete slabs at the former site of the park, which appeared perfectly placed for the purpose of graffiti, were leftovers of a failed multifamily development from the 1980s. Now, the property is poised for another multifamily attempt, with the Colorfield and Castle East condominium developments proposed for the tract. The Austin Planning Commission will vote on zoning changes for both developments during its Jan. 28 meeting.

The Colorfield development, planned for the sloping section of the property at 1006 Baylor St., proposes 10 three-bedroom condos. The three-story complex would run atop a proposed parking garage. According to city documents, Colorfield LLC is listed as the project owner, headed by Bryan Cumby, the president and CEO of Austin-based Mid-City Development.

The Castle East development proposes 12 three-bedroom condos for what was the flatter, top section of Graffiti Park. The tract is mapped at 1109 W. 11th St., next to the historic Texas Military Institute Castle, a 150-year-old structure overlooking the old Graffiti Park toward North Lamar Boulevard. Victor Ayad of Castle Hill Partners is listed as the owner of property, according to city documents.

The owners of both properties are seeking zoning changes to allow for greater height entitlements. According to city documents, the neighborhood has voiced concerns that the development will block the view of downtown, as well as the view of the Texas Military Institute Castle from downtown. The Castle East developers in the zoning change proposal said the 12-unit condo complex will be designed in a way to “reduce impacts on nearby properties.”

The planning commission is set to decide on the projects’ requested zoning changes on Jan. 28.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


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