St. Elmo area of south Austin predicted to be next big development zone

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re wondering what part of Austin is next for a development boom, you’ll want to look at south Austin.

Specifically, the St. Elmo area, which is south of State Highway 71, between South Congress Avenue and Interstate 35.

Commercial real estate agency Aquila released a report saying the St. Elmo area is a hub for new developments. The growth sparked three years ago when a mixed-use development called the Yard opened.

“It’s pretty crazy here on weekends,” said Taylor Canetti who works at the Austin Winery. “A lot of people that show up here, they’re familiar with Austin. They’re like, ‘I’ve lived here for 10 years, and didn’t know it was a thing.”

“I think it’s great. I think it’s probably part of town that was overlooked and not very populated,” said Karina Tribble who lives in south Austin.

Aquila said in St. Elmo, over 1,000 multi-family units and 200,000 square feet of commercial space have been delivered since 2016.

The reported added, “Additional multi-family units are also in the pipeline, with roughly 1,100 units currently under construction and an additional 385 proposed.”

“We’re seeing replacement of older, industrial buildings built in the 90s, early 2000s,” said Andrew Reue with Aquila. “And that’s one thing we’re pretty excited about that area. Because there is enough space, developers won’t be forced to go… in this high rise theme you’re seeing [in downtown and elsewhere].”

After multi-family units are built, Reue expects more mixed-used buildings with retail and restaurants to follow.

“We’re hopeful that we can see a good mid-rise environment that keeps the culture that is on South Congress in that area and build something that’s cool, that keeps the Austin identity alive,” he said.

Canetti said the changes to the area are “surprising because the area has not seen it, but it’s welcoming. It’s refreshing. There’s going to be a lot here in the next year or so, it’s going to be a full on destination.”

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