AUSTIN (KXAN) — East Sixth Street, also known as “Dirty Sixth,” has a rough reputation caused by fights and shootings. Violence rarely has an easy fix, but when a developer presents a plan that they say could remedy Sixth Street’s problems, it’s hard to believe.

Richard Suttle, representing development company Stream, says that they want to mix the area’s use away from bars while also keeping the area an entertainment district. The proposed plan includes an office building, restaurants, a boutique hotel (fewer than 100 guests) and in-building parking to better serve the area.

“We believe we can make a huge change and change the whole vibe down on Sixth,” Suttle said.

Suttle presented the proposal in a briefing to Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission on Wednesday. The biggest obstacle facing the project is E Sixth St.’s status as a National Register District, which restricts building height to 45 feet.

“If we can’t lift that height, I think we’re condemning Sixth Street to another long time of more of the same, because the only way you can make this work is if you can make it financially feasible for tenants to come down there and want to spend the money to do their improvements,” said Suttle during his presentation.

Suttle’s presentation also showed a sidewalk expansion with trees and argued for keeping the road open for traffic at night.

Commission board member Ben Heimsath expressed the difficulty in balancing historic protections with economic pressures.

“Many of these are an all or nothing prospect. At some point, a building that we thought absolutely was going to be safe and would be respected, has come in front of this commission for either total demolition or a scale of development that is way beyond anything that would keep its historic integrity,” Heimsath said. “My understanding is this would allow taking a step back and perhaps offer some ways to be able to mitigate some of that pressure and actually harness it for something positive.”

Suttle says that Stream wants to take a holistic approach to its project and is in communication with local businesses about the proposed plan.

“The people at Stream are Austinites who remember what Sixth Street used to be like. It’s not like they’re trying to recreate the wheel, they’re trying to bring it back to where it was,” Suttle said.

The project’s lead designer is Emily Little, a historical architect, who aims to use “adaptive reuse” to rehabilitate existing buildings.

Stream did not ask the board to take action on the project on Wednesday. It plans to eventually ask the city for a code amendment to raise the height limit for two blocks before asking for other permits.