AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - In an interrupted city council meeting on Thursday, a group demanded the city not move forward with a new development near Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley.
"We are the community. We are the community, and we aren't going away,” said one protester.
They are protesting a proposed plan to demolish 1,300 apartments mostly occupied by students and replace them with 4,000 multi-family units, hotel rooms, office and commercial space.
"This project is a sham. You do not represent the working people of Austin,” said the protester at the meeting. "I live in the complexes you want to destroy."
The developer first needs to get the zoning changed from neighborhood mixed use to commercial use. At Thursday’s meeting, city council gave a preliminary “ok” to move forward with the rezoning.
Protests against this item led to at least five arrests Thursday.
Michael Whellan, the attorney representing developers Presidium and Nimes Real Estate, said their message is being misunderstood.
"The property owners will offer a relocation package that will include moving expenses and substantial advance notice," Whellan said. "4700 East Riverside includes the largest on-site affordable housing commitment in a private development ever made in Austin's urban core."