Contrasting visions vie for Rainey Street parcel
Builder renews call for high-rise development, but cultural center wants public art space.
By Sarah Coppola
Two months after city leaders rejected a developer’s $1.2 million offier for a small city lot on Rainey Street, debate is still simmering about what to do with the land — and whether the city should rethink the street’s future.
Once a Hispanic neigh- borhood of aging bungalows on the southeast edge of downtown, Rainey is rapidly turning into a mix of bars and high rises following zoning changes made nearly a decade ago.
The city nearly sold a 0.3acre Rainey Street lot in October to a development group that wants to build a 30story, mixed-use tower. But a split City Council decided not to sell the land because it is next to the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cul-
Juan Oyervides, chairman of the Mexican American Cultural Center board (from left), board member Cassie Smith and Paul Saldaña, community activist and East Austin resident, visit the vacant lot on Rainey Street, with the iconic cultural center in the background.