AUSTIN (KXAN) — For decades, the Windsor Village Shopping Center in east Austin drew in neighbors such as Rick Krivoniak and Larry Abraham.
“Windsor Village has been the commercial heart of the Windsor Park neighborhood since 1960,” Krivoniak said.
“This was the shopping place, and it was nice that you didn’t have to get on the freeway and you could walk or bike here,” Abraham added.
Now it’s become a ghost town since Houston-based commercial real estate firm Transwestern Development purchased the 12-acre property in 2020.
“There are people all over this neighborhood who are missing the various businesses that were here,” Krivoniak said.
The City of Austin has approved the site plan to build a 650,000-square-foot, mixed-use development, which would replace the old shopping center.
Split across two phases of construction, the big building would combine residential units on top and commercial space below.
A group of neighbors — including Krivoniak and Abraham — have joined forces with their District 4 city council member Jose “Chito” Vela to push back against the current development plans.
They believe that Transwestern has subdivided the property in order to work around the city’s Vertical Mixed-Use standards.
“The proposed development will demolish about 50,000 square feet of existing retail space,” Krivoniak said. “It’s only putting back about 3,000 square feet divided between two spaces.”
KXAN reached out to Transwestern Development, who responded with the following statement.
“Commercial retail space planned for Phase 1 of the redevelopment totals 34,679 [square feet]. The initial phase of the Windsor Village project will maintain almost the same level of active retail space while adding an additional 405 residential units of which 41 are affordable.”Transwestern Development statement
Although the neighbors aren’t opposed to the new apartment complex, they say that there aren’t enough restaurants and shopping spots in the approved plan.
“When you take that away from a neighborhood you lose a lot of the neighborliness,” council member Vela said. “You lose a lot of the interaction and a lot of the places where people get to meet up.”
“The company that’s building this should be required to come back with a different plan that does meet the rules,” Abraham said.
This week, the neighborhood group plans to file an appeal of the site plan to the city’s board of adjustment.
Before beginning construction on the project, Transwestern Development must still have its building permits accepted through the city.