Major facility draws inspiration from Seattle, NYC markets
By Joseph Basco October 21, 2015
In 2018, Southwest Austin is slated to become home to a 12-acre, mixed-use development with office, hotel, residential and entertainment space as well as a relocated Saxon Pub and a 40,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor public market.
A news conference and tour for media took place Sept. 22 at the future site of Saint Elmo, a $120 million project being developed by GroundFloor Development and Prescott Group.
Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2016 and finish by the first quarter of 2018.
The public market will occupy a warehouse at 113 Industrial Blvd. that formerly housed school buses and is currently the Austin location for vendor Office Furniture Now. Buildings for the office, hotel, residential and entertainment space surrounding the warehouse are planned for construction.
About 225,000 square feet of the 12-acre property will be office space. Brandon Bolin, president and CEO of GroundFloor Development, said the office space will have natural light, tall ceilings, exposed ductwork and concrete floors.
“It’s going to feel like an old warehouse building that you might see in New York, San Francisco or Chicago,” Bolin said.
As for the tenants, Bolin said the development is looking to attract creative companies. In particular Bolin said the mix may include companies working in the technology, video game, software and music industries, adding that developers aim to create a “creative cluster” at Saint Elmo.
Saint Elmo developers plan to allocate office space for up to four music-related local nonprofits at no monthly rental cost, said Bolin, who is also a musician.
Matthew Roy Spillers, managing partner of Saint Elmo Market, said the market may be full of Austin businesses that make what they sell, citing breweries, bakeries, flower shops and boot makers as examples. Bolin said he hopes restaurateurs launch new concepts at the market rather than open an existing restaurant’s second location.
Spillers referenced Pike Place Market in Seattle and Chelsea Market in New York City as inspiration for the Saint Elmo Public Market.
“[Public markets] are starting to have a resurgence in this part of the U.S.,” Spillers said. “And Austin not having a public market is a great opportunity to house [Saint Elmo Market] in South Austin.”
The “front entrance” to the Saint Elmo property will be the relocated Saxon Pub, which is currently at 1320 S. Lamar Blvd.
Spillers said the new Saxon Pub will be accessible from South Congress Avenue, and the rest of the property, including the public market, will be behind Saxon Pub, east of its South Congress location.
Austin-based Andersson-Wise Architects will be designing Saint Elmo, Bolin said. The firm’s previous projects include Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater and the St. Edward’s University Trustee Hall.