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Mixed-use development on South Congress to replace popular small businesses

Lake/Flato set to design project on north end of the strip

Other than on Facebook, where Old Austin and New Urbanism apparently live, we haven’t seen much hoopla about this yet, but it’s no doubt coming at some point.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday that a new mixed-use project (surprise!) is in the works for a 1.5-acre, five-lot section on the east side of South Congress Avenue. The site is currently occupied by Doc’s Bar & Grill, Sfanthor House of Wax, and a few other small local businesses including Wet Salon & Studio, Strut, Parts & Labour, and Ignite Fitnez gym.

High-profile and much lauded Central Texas firm Lake/Flato is designing the project, according to the daily, and locally based Big Red Dog has signed on for the engineering. Current plans include four buildings with ground floor retail and possibly restaurants, topped with two floors of office space and above underground parking with more than 400 spaces, the Statesman reported.

Lake/Flato is also set to design Hotel Magdelena, Austin/Marfa hotelier Liz Lambert’s newest project, which will be on Music Lane behind the new building. Lambert’s reinvention of the rundown motor hotel that became Hotel San José, along with the arrival of Pink Hair Salon (now gone) and the Blackmail clothing store, arguably kick-started the South Congress revival in the mid-1990s. Lake/Flato, one of the most important architects to define and create what has come to be known as "Texas minimalism," also designed that project with Lambert.

The Statesman also reported that developer Clark Lyda—another longtime figure who has a deep history with South Congress as well as with many other places in the Austin area—is involved in both Hotel Magdelena and the new project. Lake/Flato co-founder David Lake told the paper that the planned project could be built under existing zoning regulations; city spokeswoman Sylvia Arzola said that building height on the tract would be limited to 40 feet to 50 feet (three to four stories), according to the story.