AUSTIN (KXAN) — The St. John site is officially under a Master Development Agreement contract between the City of Austin and Greystar Development Central, LLC, according to an announcement from the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
The Master Development Agreement, or MDA, partnership, which is in collaboration with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, aims to redevelop the 19-acre, city-owned site into a “vibrant mixed-use, mixed-income community, featuring open spaces and commercial services tailored to enhance the St. John neighborhood,” a release from the city stated.
“The MDA agreement will bring to fruition a development featuring 526 units, with 50% designated as income-restricted affordable housing,” the release states. “Notably, the project will significantly expand the St. John Pocket Park, creating a larger open space complete with walking trails and a splash pad between St. John and Blackson Avenues. The site’s layout was developed in close consultation with the St. John community and the Council-initiated Community Advisory Committee, in alignment with the 2020 community vision.”
According to the release, prior to its acquisition by the city in 2008, the St. John Site “held significant historical importance for the African-American community.” The release says its roots trace back to the 1890s when the St. John Regular Missionary Baptist Association obtained 350 acres north of Austin to establish a freedman community with the St. John Industrial Institute and Orphanage as its anchor.
“This agreement represents a pivotal step toward realizing our vision for a more inclusive and vibrant St. John community,” stated Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Director of the Economic Development Department. “The collaboration exemplifies our commitment to creating lasting positive impacts through thoughtful urban development.”
In August, the city hosted a celebration of the demolition of the former site of the Home Depot store, which sat on the land. The celebration marked the start of the redevelopment of the site.
Construction is slated to start in 2024, with units becoming available as early as 2026.
More information about the St. John Site Redevelopment Project can be found online.