This Thursday, May 20, our city council will consider the latest East Side scheme: a proposed pair of 93-foot towers near the intersection of Airport and Springdale that together would total more than 800,000 square feet of office space. According to the Austin Business Journal, the California-based Jay Paul Company “plans to build two mid-rise office towers in East Austin that would collectively be larger than any office development downtown.”
“Springdale Green,” as the proposed redevelopment is known, isn’t any ordinary planned unit development (PUD), but rather a plan to build several 90+ foot tall buildings on the site of the infamous East Austin “tank farm.” Once owned by a group of six oil companies, the tank farm was used to store millions of gallons of hazardous fuel—fuel that leaked into area groundwater, creating an environmental catastrophe for East Austin.
While reasonable development of this brownfield site is acceptable to many area residents, there is a real fear that the towers’ 93-foot height (combined with waiver of compatibility standards) will set a bad precedent for massive, inappropriate development on two-lane Springdale Road. This road travels through the highest minority census tracts in the city, and likely will trigger a domino effect of displacement, threatening vulnerable communities along the corridor.
Given this history, East Austinites are justified in wanting to ensure that development of the land does not worsen displacement, flooding, and other issues on top of the environmental disaster their community has already suffered.
Contact Mayor Steve Adler and the rest of the city council today and ask them to postpone Item No. 52 on this Thursday’s agenda. Area residents have requested the postponement because they still have unanswered questions and unaddressed concerns about the proposal, and they want to work toward a more compatible development with better community benefits.
Together we can build an Austin for everyone!
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