Capital Metro Transportation Authority‘s plans to redevelop the Plaza Saltillo area have sparked a lot of interest from public officials to development teams to advocates who want to protect the cultural significance of the area.
Here is a look at what makes the area so unique. Plaza Saltillo was first built in 1998 as a result of a collaborative effort between the City of Austin, the City of Saltillo (Austin’s sister city), Capital Metro and Ole Mexico, an east Austin cultural group. In 2010, part of the plaza complex became the Plaza Saltillo station along the Capital MetroRail commuter rail line. It is the second to last stop along the line which terminates in downtown.
The vision for Saltillo Station by Cap Metro, the City of Austin and other public policy makers and officials included transit-oriented development that promoted living, working, and playing close to home. Developers largely embraced this vision as seen by the Saltillo Lofts project below, but financing was still difficult for these projects, so many other developments stalled.
Businesses on the east side range from establishments like El Milagro and Cisco’s to more recent popular restaurants like Qui, Franklin BBQ, Takoba, and even an E. 6th. food trailer park. Some of the old institutions like Nuevo Leon have moved out, but same like the Tamale House still exist. The other big source of commercial activity is the nightlife. What was a more popular stretch of 6th street west of I-35 has now crossed the highway to the east with a mix of new venues opening often.
There are also a host of businesses right along E. 5th next to the highway, and BIG RED DOG‘s office location is on E. 7th. These types of activities further diversify this side of town. The hope is that no matter what happens with future development, it will protect what’s cultural, unique and eclectic about the area while at the same accommodating for some growth that will have to be of highest excellence.