AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the years Rainey Street near downtown Austin has seen an explosion of growth as more people move to the area. With the popularity comes big development, and more high-rises are going up.
“As you can probably see and hear all the construction is ongoing,” said Travis Speck who moved to Rainey Street two years ago. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it a nuisance, but a sign of growth.”
Bars and restaurants line the streets, and for people working in downtown Austin, it can be a quick walk to work.
“I chose Rainey for the mere factor of being in downtown, but just on the outside for the walkability,” Speck said.
The sound of construction machinery and fenced-in lots are signs of even more growth. The Modern Austin Residences will begin construction in April and will be one of the newest high-rises once finished in 2025.
“We are starting sales now as far as meeting with buyers and we are going to go to contract in about 30 days,” said Kevin Burns, CEO and founder of Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors. “We have about 2,300 people that have registered their interest for this project.”
What will the skyline over Rainey Street look like in a few years?
“At this point, there are at least a dozen new towers that are either under construction or planned for the Rainey Street District,” Burns said.
Austin City Council member Kathy Tovo represents the district and says the growth was quicker than anyone expected.
“When the city council rezoned it to central business district, and this was long before any of the current city council members were serving, that really prompted an explosion of growth,” Tovo said.
That rapid growth has raised questions about pedestrian safety and mobility concerns.
“Residents have said what is the plan to making sure people can get to and from this area safely,” Tovo said. “Our transportation department and public works departments are working on some efforts there with private developers.”
Burns said living in an area like Rainey is great for pedestrians because it is easy to get around. He said in front of the Modern, builders will add more sidewalks and even benches for people to sit on.
“We are creating the infrastructure for pedestrian traffic because you don’t necessarily need to drive,” Burns said.
Speck said while it can get crowded, he moved to the area for the walkability.
“Not having to drive during the week, not having to drive to a restaurant has always been my goal,” Speck said.
As more developments get underway some of the current restaurants and bars will move, but Burns said there could be more coming in the ground floor or new buildings.
“We are going to have a really nice coffee shop and bar on the ground floor then a music venue and club in the basement,” Burns said.