Robertson Hill neighborhood wages fight against new housing tower

Drenner Group and JH West 12th Street Partners LTD have proposed a $200 million project 185 feet in height for the 2.839 acre CVS/Bingo site at East 12th Street and IH-35.
Drenner Group and JH West 12th Street Partners LTD have proposed a $200 million project 185 feet in height for the 2.839 acre CVS/Bingo site at East 12th Street and IH-35.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — “No More for One Two East.” The signs with those words on it are popping up around the historic Robertson Hill neighborhood in Central East Austin. You can’t miss them, bright yellow signs sticking out of almost every yard near East 12th St. and I-35.

The signs are protesting the potential new development of prime property on the southeast corner of IH-35 and E. 12th St., that currently houses a bingo hall and a CVS Pharmacy. The Drenner Group and JH West 12th Street Partners LTD are proposing a mixed-use development project called “One Two East.” It’s residential units with two towers, one tower for seniors only, with a grocery store on the bottom.

The proposal is to replace the CVS building with the two towers that are 185 feet tall. Neighbors worry they won’t be able to see the skyline anymore, and that the towers will loom over the neighborhood, casting shadows onto their homes.

“A large building obstructing downtown views, which everybody really enjoys in this neighborhood,” says Jamey Maness, who’s lived in the neighborhood for ten years.

And that’s just the beginning of complaints. Neighbors expect to see even more traffic, thousands of cars. “In an area that’s already getting a lot of traffic since it’s so popular,” says Jamey.

“The only traffic that’s going to be going through the neighborhood, is traffic from the neighbors going to and from the grocery store,” says Steve Drenner, president of Drenner Group.

Drenner says Austin needs this project, that’s been in the works for years.

“Some of those planning efforts have identified a need for senior housing, so it’s very consistent with the last 25 years of planning for that area,”  says Drenner.

Top: Rendering of One Two East development. Bottom: What is there currently at corner of IH-35 and 12th St.
Top: Rendering of One Two East development. Bottom: What is there currently at corner of IH-35 and 12th St.

 

People who live nearby are worried the development will “permanently challenge the viability of central east Austin single-family neighborhoods,” according to a website started by the group, No More For One Two East, which is opposed to the development. The group says traffic will be an issue when the development is complete because it will bring 10,000 cars a day into the neighborhood.

The developer says they’ve met with neighbors 10 times. Both sides will present their arguments to the city planning commission on December 8.

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