St. Elmo Public Market, the renovated warehouse that has sat empty while awaiting its fate since its completion in 2022, has been sold and will become a bowling alley, arcade and bar instead of the once-promised public market.

The gist

Ohio-based company Rise Brands will open gaming venue Pins Mechanical and arcade bar 16-Bit in 2024. The space will include bowling lanes, arcade games and a bar.

The property was purchased by SomeraRoad, a commercial real estate investment and development firm, and will be leased by Pins and 16-Bit, which will begin construction this year.

The details

The original project was marketed as including dozens of food and beverage vendors, and seven restaurants announced plans to become anchor tenants in the market. As plans lagged, all but one—Salt & Time, a full-service butcher shop and restaurant at 1912 E. Seventh St., Austin—dropped out of the project.

Salt & Time owner Benjamin Runkle of Present Tense Hospitality said he looks forward to a potential resolution with the new owners.

Just feet away, residents have been moving into the only completed project from the original vision, the St. Elmo Apartments. According to several residents, the public market was promised as a future amenity and is still listed as one on the apartment’s website as of Nov. 28.
St. Elmo Living, now leasing, is located directly next to the warehouse that once was planned for the St. Elmo Public Market, promised to many residents as a future amenity. (Elle Bent/Community Impact)
Other officials with multifamily housing projects close to the St. Elmo Public Market, such as Bishop Momo by developer United Properties, told Community Impact in April if the public market were to move forward, it would be seen as a resident amenity.

The market’s initial developer was Maker Bros., a Dallas-based construction and real estate company, in partnership with Groundfloor Development. The architect was Andersson Wise, based in Austin. The public market had been last promised to open in 2021 before it went dark and was listed for sale in July 2022.

Zooming out

The surrounding area, which was once fully industrial, has begun to see a boom of redevelopment. South of Ben White Boulevard, and known as the “St. Elmo District,” real estate investors and developers are acquiring property, including warehouses, for mixed-use or residential developments in the area.

Commercial real estate agency Aquila referred to the district as the possible “next development boom in Austin’’ in a 2019 report by Kirk Silas. More than 2,000 multifamily units and 200,000 square feet of commercial space have been brought to the district since 2016, Silas said.