Collaboration and cooperation to create a dense and vibrant New Urbanist development in Central Austin
RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL URBAN INFILL IN CENTRAL AUSTIN
The Triangle is a dense, urban infill project set on what was 22 acres of State of Texas-owned land at the intersection of Guadalupe and Lamar, just south of 51st Street in Austin. The once underutilized intersection, which now houses the high-density mixed-use Triangle development, was a small space with a lot of potential in the eyes of the state. But from the perspective of the City of Austin and the surrounding neighborhood, the redevelopment was steeped in controversy rather than possibility.
Because The Triangle land was so desirable – bounded by two high-traffic roadways in the middle of Central Austin – Chris’ team and the state legislature saw this fallow land as the perfect opportunity to create a highly-dense, urban-style mixed-use project. When this initial proposal reached the city and the surrounding neighborhood, however, the project was met with criticism, as residents of the neighborhood were reluctant to bring in particular commercial entities and wanted to maintain more of the area’s openness and greenspaces.
The City of Austin aligned with residents as well – so, with residents, city government and the state at odds, Chris and his team had to adjust the plan and come up with a creative solution for the location.
Through a series of charettes and much negotiation, The Triangle’s final iteration is a microcosm of New Urbanism – that is, equal parts mixed-use development and greenspace for residents of the surrounding neighborhood to enjoy. Today, The Triangle features over 120,000-square-feet of retail and restaurant space, pedestrian-friendly parks and green areas, and over 500 luxury apartment homes. The project maintains elements of the denser development initially sought by Chris and the state, but incorporates more suburban elements to the project– to help the area resonate and mesh with the well-established neighborhoods surrounding The Triangle. While The Triangle is home to many individuals and businesses, and is still a mecca for shopping and entertainment, it is also a community gathering space, available for dog walking, a nightly stroll or the area’s weekly farmer’s market.