In its August meeting, the Austin City Council approved the re-zoning measures required for Project Catalyst, recently renamed 4700 East, to keep moving forward. If the mixed-use development project proceeds as planned, it will sit on a a 97-acre site in Southeast Austin and will neighbor Oracle’s new 40-acre corporate campus.
Often referred to as Austin’s future “Third Downtown" (with the Domain North being Austin’s “Second Downtown”), Nimes Capital has proposed building 4,700 residential units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of medical and dental office space, and 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 4700 East. In short, an “urban village” would be created in this area near the corner of East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road that would basically offer, well, everything!
The city could require developers to offer hundreds of income-restricted affordable housing units, but it would only do so if the developers build structures above the restricted height of 60 feet. To maintain the promise of affordable housing in the area, the developer is currently promising that 8-12% (400-550) of the units will be income-restricted as a trade off for greater building heights. Additionally, the developer formally committed to reserve 10 units for people who are transitioning out of homelessness. These housing units will be paid for with vouchers supplied by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition.
In order for 4700 East to be built, there are some other buildings that will need to be removed for this project to move forward. For this reason, developers have been slowly purchasing apartments in the area over the course of the past several years. The buildings that would be removed, which are roughly 60% student-occupied, are The Ballpark North and Town Lake, as well as the Quad East, West and South. The properties account for a total of 3,702 bedrooms and 1,308 units, according to city documents. Developers will also ensure gradual displacement of current residents in the area—250 of the existing units on site will not be redeveloped or demolished for five years in an effort to defray displacement.
Construction is not envisioned to begin on 4700 East before 2020. However, once the project is officially approved by the Austin City Council, the development will be built slowly over a 25 year period in five different phases along the way. The developer will return to the city council for a third and final hearing in September, at which it will need to receive at least six votes in favor to pass.