Velocity mixed use development in southeast Austin prepares to break ground in early 2021

Business

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A more than 300-acre lot right next to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is set to transform into a seven million square-foot mixed use development.

Developers of Velocity told KXAN they’ve updated their design to feature housing, office space, creative space and retail.

The project is set to feature:

  • 2,683 multi-family units
  • 2.9 million square feet of office providing the opportunity for two, large corporate campuses along with traditional office space
  • 585,000 square feet of flex industrial and creative office
  • 310,000 square feet of commercial use for retail, restaurants and a cinema
  • Three hospitality sites
  • A large central park

“We believe that growth in Austin is moving south and east. It has to,” said Doug Launius, principal with Marketplace Real Estate Group. “This is one of the last areas where land is available at reasonable prices.”

Marketplace initially purchased the 390-acre site along State Highway 71, between Farm to Market Road 973 and SH 130 in southeast Austin in 2014, according to its news release.

They’ve sold parts of the land to to H-E-B in 2016 and a well know French cosmetics company coded Project Bluewave, in 2018.

When asked about H-E-B’s plan for the site, Launius said, “HEB is a very smart company and they do a lot of due diligence before they buy a site.”

The grocery chain has not yet made any official announcements for actually building a store there. They sent KXAN a statement:

“H-E-B continues to explore options for a future store in Southeast Austin in hopes of one day building a store there. We currently do not have an update on potential timing and there are no plans to build an H-E-B in Southeast Austin in the immediate future. H-E-B will continue to monitor market demographics and pursue suitable options for potential future development and provide updates as they develop.”

“We have no infrastructure out here”

People who live in Del Valle and southeast Austin said, however, a major grocery store is a much-needed addition to their neighborhood.

Patricia King said her choice right now is either the Riverside store 10 miles to the west or the Bastrop store 20 miles to the east.

“We have no infrastructure out here. That’s the problem, but the main thing: we need a grocery store,” she said. “Elroy, and Garfield, which is right up the street, they would use that H-E-B [if they built it]. They don’t have anything close to them either.”

Del Valle is a designated food desert, meaning those neighborhoods have limited access to healthy and affordable food.

Richard Franklin III told KXAN when he moved to Del Valle nearly 20 years ago, only about 3,000 people were living there. Now, he said, 12,000 people live in that area.

“When we say we don’t have… we don’t have anything,” he said. “I would hope that the business community will see what we’re creating out here as a diamond in the rough. They haven’t put in the money to shine it up, invest in the community.”

Franklin said when a pizza trailer opened up, “he kept running out of dough! He couldn’t keep enough dough around because there’s so much need.”

King and Franklin told KXAN it’s about time developers focus on Del Valle. They hope Velocity moving forward with its plan means H-E-B will, too.

“I think the first person that lands is going to bring everyone else with them,” Franklin said.

“I’m staying hopeful,” he continued. “But I’m kind of getting angry now because I’m getting tired. And my thing with H-E-B is, if you don’t want to come, sell the property so somebody else can come.”

Other planned projects

Austin Community College also owns land in that area near the airport.

Using the November 2014 bond, ACC bought approximately 124 acres of land. At last check, the school was starting the process of developing a site master plan for the site.

Its website reads:

The college plans to use the site for a future regional workforce center that will provide much-needed space for programs such as automotive technology, building construction technology, heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology, welding technology, jewelry, and more.

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