Development on East 11th and 12th Streets has long been in the City of Austin’s plan. The city, in conjunction with a public entity called the Urban Renewal Agency, began buying empty lots and buildings on East 11th and 12th streets in the 1990’s. The plan was to redevelop the area and turn it into a thriving commercial hub. They planned for East 11th Street to become an entertainment district, with restaurants and bars, and East 12th would have a mix of retail, office buildings and residences. However, after pouring $20 million into the area, redevelopment stalled in 2004.
Most of the city’s work was concentrated on East 11th Street, where it built two mixed use retail and office buildings, did a restoration of two historical structures, and put in new sidewalks and lighting. A handful of private developers followed suit by putting new buildings on the corridor, resulting in the kind of “ripple effect” the city had intended. However, East 12th street has only received a new parking lot from the city thus far.
In 2010, the city stopped working with the Urban Renewal Agency and hired a real estate consulting firm, Economic & Planning Systems, Inc., to come up with a brand new plan for East 11th and 12th. The plan urged the city to spend $10 million to upgrade infrastructure along East 12th, including new sidewalks, lighting, upgrading sewer lines and burying unsightly overhead power lines. The hope is that the upgrades will increase the interest of private developers deterred from having to pay for such improvements themselves. Hopefully this will mean an influx of Austin Apartments for Rent, as well as condos for purchase, restaurants and other businesses. See all of Economic & Planning Systems, Inc’s recommendations as well as a quick primer on the back story of development in East Austin on Statesman.com.