Plaza Saltillo project angers some in East Austin

Jose Valera grew up in East Austin

"My mother was born here, my grandfather, great grandfather," said Valera.

He is excited about growth on the east side, but worries it may not be done the right way.

Endeavor Real Estate is hoping to build a high rise on 11 acres just near the Plaza Saltillo station.They first proposed a little more than 60 feet, now they're asking for more than 120.

"There are concerns if it goes up to 120 feet, that is going to further change the character," said Valera.

Endeavor agreed to have 25 percent dedicated of the development to affordable housing. In a meeting Thursday afternoon, they said the higher height proposal would mean reduce that number by 43 units.

"The first goal is to make sure this development has the maximum amount of affordable housing," said Valera.

East Austin residents like Valera just want it done the right way, and worry about rising costs of living.

"You cannot talk about this project without the context of the gentrification," said Valera.

Residents on the eastside are a bit polarized. Endeavor says the additional office space would generate revenue and keep the area vibrant.

"They talk about the height and setting a precedent, we already have that in East Austin, the RBJ senior citizen center," said Gavino Fernandez with the Barrio Unido Neighborhood Association.

Once decided, the choice could mean a sign of high rise growth on the east side. Endeavor made their case before council. They say not only would the additional office space bring more revenue, but it could increase ridership on Cap Metro. Capital Metro owns the land.

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