Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Featherlite construction started
I missed a recent neighborhood meeting to get more details, but they've started tearing up the Featherlite tract behind my house in East Austin this week, making way for new streets, hopefully better drainage (the area floods after a big rain) and several dozen detached condo units with shared parking. This is the view from my back deck of the recently dug up field. I walk my dogs back in that area pretty regularly, so it's a bit of a downer they're digging it all up, but since I've lived here the field's been a dump for garbage, animal carcasses, and once even a murder victim, so I don't have a major beef. Sometimes change is good.
The southernmost area of the property cannot be developed because of drainage concerns, last I heard - I'm surprised that's not true of the part they're developing now along Boggy Creek. Sometimes after it rains big sinkholes show up out of nowhere, up to 3-4 feet deep. That can't be too good for a slab foundation. The section from 14th street to 16th will become condos according to the last information I received, while the northernmost section of the tract will be some type of commercial and lots of parking.
The $64,000 question (actually a lot bigger one than that for Dellionaire landowner Tom Meredith) is whether they can find commercial tenants who want to build next to what will soon become a commuter rail station, where the train tracks cross Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Certainly the site appears more likely to develop after voters last year approved the commuter rail line that will stop right besides Meredith's property. (A cynic might note here that former Dell President Lee Walker chairs Capital Metro, the agency that proposed putting the rail stop there, but I'm sure it's just a coincidence, don't you think?) Several potential anchor tenants like H.E.B. and KLRU originally balked at building on the northern commercial end of the property.
I'm sure those who went to the neighborhood meeting got more detail -I'll try to find out a little more about what's going on and blog it soon. But I thought it was significant that after all this time - nearly two years after they originally announced they would start - construction has finally begun on the largest remaining piece of empty real estatein central east Austin.
UPDATE: A commenter who attended the meeting points to a website put up by the developer about the project, which has been labeled "Chestnut Commons."