Only 1 of 2 condo projects proposed for Austin’s old ‘Graffiti Park’ receives Planning Commission support, both head to City Council for final decision

Austin's "Graffiti Park" was a popular community asset until its closure in 2019. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's "Graffiti Park" was a popular community asset until its closure in 2019. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin's "Graffiti Park" was a popular community asset until its closure in 2019. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)

Two projects proposing a total of 22 three-bedroom condo units on the property formerly occupied by Austin’s internationally famous “Graffiti Park” were in front of Austin’s Planning Commission on Jan. 28, but only one project earned commission support. Both projects will head to City Council for final a final decision.

The approval comes almost two years to the day after a city commission approved the demolition of the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, known locally as Graffiti Park. The property’s concrete slabs—leftover foundation from a failed multifamily development in the 1980s—provided the infrastructure for what began as a South by Southwest Conference & Festivals art exhibit in 2011 and evolved into a become a massively popular urban graffiti lab until its official closure in 2019.

The commission-recommended project proposes 10 units on the sloping section of the urban tract—located officially at 1006 Baylor St.—and is headed by Bryan Cumby and his Mid-City Development. Commissioners recommended the project 7-3. The commission voted against recommending the other project, which proposed 12 units for the top section of the old park, located officially at 1109 W. 11th St. The project was offered by Victor Ayad, who owned the entire property—including Cumby’s section—throughout its Graffiti Park days. The final commission vote was 3-6-1.

Representatives from the Old West Austin Neighborhood Association came out in objection to both projects, voicing concern over the lack of connectivity. They also said they were concerned that the height entitled to the projects would block the view of the historic Texas Military Institute Castle that sits at the crest of the sloping property in question.

Neither project offered affordable housing; however, Ayad’s project drew specific concerns, as commissioners said they wanted the developer to work on options for affordable housing, as well as increased bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, prior to earning the requested zoning change to allow for more impervious cover and building capacity.

Editor's note: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that only one project was heading to City Council for a final decision.
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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