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Stream offers more details on Sixth Street renovation plans

Friday, August 19, 2022 by Chad Swiatecki

Stream Realty Partners offered up more information this week on its plans to remake a section of the Sixth Street entertainment district, emphasizing daytime business and a move away from the high-volume shot bars and nightclubs that have dominated the area for decades.

At this week’s Arts Commission meeting, Stream senior vice president Caitlyn Ryan said the company has purchased more properties on the street, which puts its portfolio well above the 30 or so it had disclosed in recent presentations to local boards and commissions. Ryan also said the company is still in the design phase of the two chunks of Sixth Street – the northern blocks bisected by Red River Street – that will become a hotel with around 150 rooms and an office building that will offer 600 parking spaces for daytime workers and nightlife visitors.

Ryan said the hotel would occupy the 500 block that currently houses businesses such as the Venue nightclub. There are plans for a music venue inside the hotel meant to mimic the character of Hotel San José on South Congress.

Ryan mentioned music venues frequently in her comments, including the possibility of the 700 block featuring three venues and the office building also holding a music performance space.

“I equate that to an Austin-based Radio City Music Hall, where it’s an office building that is going to put 1,000 people there during the day and it is going to up parking at night,” she said. “It allows us to put so many people down here during the day, but also profile Austin music venues and artists’ work.”

Ryan said Stream is in the process of hiring a full-time public art coordinator who would plan murals and other arts projects with local creatives. The district’s property owners have agreed to use some of the funding from an existing public improvement district to pay for art projects on properties not owned by Stream.

Commissioners questioned Ryan on her company’s plans to recruit diverse business owners into the area to operate restaurants, music and arts spaces, and other businesses, as well as how it will carry out its plans to do significant construction work and fill all of its commercial spaces in five years’ time.

Ryan said Stream is working with the Historic Landmark Commission and local historical groups to protect as many of the historically significant spaces on the street as possible while carrying out its capital-intensive work that will come with more increased building height than what has typically been allowed in the district.

“One of the major questions we got from City Council and a multitude of people is, why did we need density? To change this district, a lot of these buildings have been neglected for a very long time and the amount of money it would take to put in the grease trap infrastructure you need for a restaurant would make this whole project economically infeasible,” she said. “Density allows us to go to all these other buildings and really create some infrastructure that will allow us to get the best possible tenants.”

Praising Ryan for Stream’s investment and ambitious plans, Commissioner Lulu Flores said it is important for the city to hold private developers to their promises made while requesting code amendments and other planning considerations.

“I hope that the exchanges for allowing density would be secured through commitments that this plan is what will be,” she said. “When you get those considerations, make sure the plans that are laid out are maintained, and that those agreements are put down so we can make sure that the vision that is being presented is the vision that will be realized.”

Photo by Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

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