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Opposition to Plaza Saltillo plan changes grows

East César Chavez Neighbors group weighs in

As proposed plan changes to the Plaza Saltillo development on Austin’s Eastside moves forward to a City Council vote, neighborhood opposition to the revisions continues to grow.

The project will cover eight city blocks of the East César Chavez neighborhood, on both sides of the the rail tracks from Interstate 35 to Saltillo Plaza between East Sixth and East Cesar Chavez streets.

Endeavor Real Estate and Columbus Realty Partners, chosen developers for the 10.5-acre, mixed-use development on the land owned by public entity Capital Metro, recently put forth proposals for a zoning change to allow a 125-foot-tall office building not previously included in the plan, as well as taller residential buildings and the scaling back of affordable housing units.

The proposed changes would allow the reduction of the number of affordable apartment units from the originally agreed-upon 200 to 141, with 41 available in the project’s first phase and the remaining 100 to be completed five years later.

The proposed changes met strong opposition from the East César Chavez Neighborhood Planning Team, the city’s official point of contact for the neighborhood, and continue to do so.

On February 25, the team issued a press release listing the reasons for its continued opposition and noting that District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool is attempting to “broker a compromise between Endeavor, local residents, and affordable housing advocates.”

The statement opposes the proposed allowable height increase, doubling of density (from from 112,500 square feet to 259,000 square feet), a decrease in affordable housing, and an insufficient number of apartments that have more than one bedroom, which could unduly limit the number of families able to live there.

Community group East Cesar Chavez Neighbors has now also taken an official position on the matter, voting to support the decision by the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Plan Contact Team to oppose the proposed project changes.

The council is scheduled to take up the matter again on March 2.