De­vel­oper weighs op­tions after fi­nal Plaza Saltillo OK

In marathon coun­cil meet­ing, ex­ec­u­tives get op­tion to build higher.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO&STATE - By Ben Wear bwear@states­man.com

Thurs­day was about to turn into Fri­day, and the Plaza Saltillo de­vel­op­ment was in trou­ble.

Austin City Coun­cil mem­bers were groggy and, in some cases, gen­uinely an­gry. En­deavor Real Es­tate Group ex­ec­u­tives were qui­etly fran­tic, look­ing at their huge costs in pur­su­ing and plan­ning the 11-acre East Austin project po­ten­tially flushed by an amend­ment from Coun­cil Mem­ber Kathie Tovo that would re­quire about a dozen more two-bed­room units in the de­vel­op­ment’s de­sign.

And Cap­i­tal Metro of­fi­cials were watch­ing their years of ef­fort to ger­mi­nate a project on the for­mer rail yard, owned by the transit agency since the 1990s, sud­denly in trou­ble.

The neigh­bor­hood op­po­nents of En­deavor — who con­tend the de­vel­op­ment plan for the area just east of In­ter­state 35 has too few af­ford­able, fam­ily-friendly two-bed­room apart­ments, and too much height in a pro­posed 125-foot of­fice build­ing — were see­ing their ad­vo­cacy pos­si­bly pay off. Cap­i­tal Metro, it ap­peared, might have to start over and find an­other de­vel­oper and an­other de­sign.

Michele Haus­man, a lob­by­ist for En­deavor, walked to the lectern and was rec­og­nized by Mayor Steve Adler.

“With the amend­ment that just passed, the project can­not be built,” she said bluntly, then re­turned to her seat.

After a few min­utes of the coun­cil scram­bling rhetor­i­cally as the im­port of the sit­u­a­tion sunk in, Haus­man re­turned to sug­gest an­other amend­ment re­duc­ing Tovo’s re­quire­ment for added two-bed­room units. That amend­ment passed nar­rowly — 6-5 —

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