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The Future of Clarksville & Old West Austin? West 12th and West Lynn Blvd. Recap of Meeting Between the Neighborhood & Zydeco Development.




 Recap of Meeting Between the Neighborhood & Zydeco Development


That the CCDC Organized


On December 6 th , the principals of Zydeco Development, Meghan Yancy and Wes Gilmer, as well as Miguel Rivera with Miro-Rivera Architects, talked with neighborhood residents about its plans for redeveloping thebuilding that formerly housed Nau’s, and where Anthony’s is still located, the parking lot between Anthony’s and Café Medici, the house where the coffee house is located, and the two houses on Eason that back up to the parking lot.


Zydeco, a small, local real estate development firm founded by Howard Yancy, closed on all of this real estate about three months ago. Miguel Rivera who lives on Patterson, is Zydeco’s architect for the project. Meghan lives on 14 th Street. During the meeting, Miguel and Meghan emphasized that they understand how important the properties along West Lynn are to the neighborhood, especially the “Nau’s building,” because they are neighbors.

Meghan explained that Zydeco is in the very early stages of developing their project. For example, there are no drawings as of now and they don’t expect construction to begin for two years. Right now they are in an information-gathering mode because they want to understand the concerns of the neighborhood and share their development principles with area residents. (The team met with OWANA members on December 5 th .) Miguel stressed that his current goal was to dispel rumors about the projects.


Here is what we learned on December 6 th.: :

• Zydeco wants to preserve and protect the existing properties although they do plan to demo the two Eason houses.

• They have agreed to a restrictive covenant that will protect the façade of the building at the corner of 12 th and West Lynn, aka “the Nau’s building.”

• The Daniel Johnston mural on the north side of that building will be preserved.

• Café Medici will stay if they want.

• There will be underground parking for 120 cars. The parking will be accessible off of West Lynn via what is now the alley next to Anthony’s. This will be the only curb cut along West  Lynn related to Zydeco’s project.

• The project will be a mixed-use development with retail at street level and condos on two levels above. Probably between 25 and 30 residential units. No idea right now about how much

they will cost.

• Zydeco wants local retailers. Miguel mentioned Amy’s and Waterloo Records because the retail development where they are currently located is slated for demolition.

• They envision a restaurant where the parking lot is now.

• The developer and Miguel want to improve what is there now. For example, make dumpster space on Eason more attractive, add trees and green space along West Lynn and Eason, and make the sidewalk “experience” more pleasant. Would also like for the streetscapes and sidewalks along the entire block of West Lynn from 12 th to 11 th to have a coordinated look and have spoken about this with the developer of the properties south of their project and with the owner of the Clarksville Corner Store.

• Zydeco wants to build higher, but in a stepped-back way. From 40’ to 60’ with 60’ in the middle. (40’ = 3 stories; 60” = 5 stories) And here is a recap of the meeting attendees’ questions and comments and the responses from Zydeco and Miguel:

Question: The goal has been to hold the height to 40’ on Lamar. Why do you think you can move to 60’ in the neighborhood? Answer: We will focus on massing, on breaking up the space.

Question: What about compatibility with Eason? 

Answer: Compatibility might change tomorrow with HOME

Question: Can Zydeco provide a massing drawing? 

Answer: Will be available “soon.”

Question: What about contamination from the dry cleaners? Answer: Reports have come back as clean.

Question: Parking for 120 cars does not seem enough. Answer: Parking will be 2 stories.

Zydeco feels it’s adequate. Also, Zydeco is not asking for additional FAR. Project is well under what is currently allowed. Asking for additional height in order to work with massing.

Comment: We as Old West Austinites Don’t want West Lynn to become what W. 6 th between Blanco and Baylor has

become—a place to be seen, a scene. “Dallasification.” We Want development along West Lynn to

be family-friendly and to keep the low-key feel of our neighborhood’s “Downtown.” 

Developer Response:

A plus: We’re providing housing, not offices.

Comment: Family-friendly also means affordable. Galaxy & Taco Flats are affordable, unlike the restaurants on W. 6 th street. Response: We totally get it. Tenant mix is out of our control.

Question: Do you plan for any of your housing to be “affordable.” Answer: Probably not. What we’re doing is expensive. Also, Miguel pointed out that there are many ways to contribute to a neighborhood and that Zydeco is not trying to maximize their revenue. They want to do something cool, something good, that everyone likes. Providing affordable housing might not/likely will not be a way they can contribute.

Question: Are you going to talk to all Eason property owners? Answer: We have talked to some, including Donna Osborne who owns 3 lots on the street. The plan is to eventually talk to everyone on Eason.

Question: I am concerned about increased traffic along West Lynn with 120 cars. Answer:

Answer: There will be a transportation plan.

Question: How many of the 120 parking spaces will be for condo residents? 

Answer: Every residence will have a parking space. Approximately ½ residential/½ commercial. Zydeco is committed to this mix regardless of the City’s parking requirements.

Comment: Would be great for the project to include a working-class breakfast/lunch place. It would not bring nightlife to West Lynn. Could lease parking to Jeffrey’s.

Comment: I appreciate Zydeco’s neighborhood vibe, but the sticking point is 60’ height. What is the process for getting that height? And what if the property changes hands after the zoning

change? 

Answer: Zydeco will continue its conversation with the OWANA Zoning Committee.

Miguel noted that the Committee utilizes restrictive covenants that stay with a property when it’s sold.

Comment: I appreciate what you’ve done with the green space and understand the concept of trading green space for extra height.

Comment: I can’t see how you can do so much on such a small property. Answer: It’s possible. We will show you when we share our detailed project design, which should be available early next year. There will more meetings and communications with neighbors.

Miguel Rivera: This is an ideal situation. Zydeco is a client that wants to do the right thing, that wants to work with the neighborhood.

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