The New York Times reported Tuesday on an issue that has been central to Austin’s development and growth for years — the gentrification of a rapidly developing East Austin.
Hip restaurants and bars, huge apartment complexes and up-and-coming startups have made themselves cozily at home in the streets east of Interstate 35, an area which was previously known, as the New York Times puts it, as “a place to avoid after dark.”
The publication primarily approaches the east side’s shift from the perspective of those involved in development projects: a commercial real estate agent who asked himself five years ago “Has East Austin finally arrived?” after a female coworker told him she was renting a house in the area and felt safe enough to ride her bike to and from work; an investor in the neighborhood who says the main reason it continues to draw people is “the coolness factor”; Capital Metro vice president who plays a major role in the organization’s massive and controversial Plaza Saltillo project.
The Times’ article also addresses Austin City Council’s debate over affordability and the efforts of some neighborhood groups to encourage responsible development.
Close to the end of the story, Jose Valera, chairman of the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Planning Team, “laments the speed at which gentrification is transforming the neighborhood.” As one real estate agent puts it, “We’re almost out of developable sites downtown, and the only direction to grow is east.” Read the full article here.