East Fifth Street gets a facelift
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RC Beall has seen a lot of doors open in East Austin since opening his Texas Coffee Traders shop in 1998. His business borders the planned East Fifth Street corridor which is scheduled for high-density development.
"It was before it's time, before the east side was safe to be or cool to be. Now, it's cool," he said. "High density means when the real estate gets to a certain price, you’ve got to go up and you have to add more density to it."
Before construction for high-density development can begin along East Fifth Street, the City of Austin will spend $4.5 million on public works.
"We'll have utility improvements, water waste water and storm. There will be curb, sidewalk, street trees, pedestrian lighting, pedestrian crossings," City of Austin Project Manager Clay Harris said.
Currently, Fifth Street between Onion Street and Interstate-35 looks desolate, but when the public works package is complete, it could resemble other newly developed areas like East Seventh Street or Second Street.
"Now we've got a whole different category of people, we still have the old category, but we have the hipsters. We've got the new bar owners. Things have transitioned dramatically the last three or four years," Beall said.
According to the 2010 census 10,000 people live in Downtown Austin. Another 363,000 lived within a 10-minute drive to Downtown. City leaders expect those numbers to rise, and with even more growth comes city planning.
Expect construction to begin in the fall. The project should take about a year to finish.