The Sanitization of Red River: Reddy Ice Knocked Down By New Apartment Complex

The Statesman reports that two new apartment complexes are in the works on Red River. Greystar, a South Carolina-based developer, will be building a new upscale apartment complex, to be called Red River Flats, on the site of the current Reddy Ice building (near Stubb’s). Across the street, another developer has plans to build Neches Oak Tower (though the deal is not yet complete), on a location that may encroach on the Velvet Spade and Club de Ville.

And make no mistake about it. The ultimate goal of these developers is to turn the currently grungy area of Red River into a replica of Sixth and Lamar.

Developers say they hope to turn the site, which has been an eyesore, into a catalyst for other residential and retail development.

“That’s an edgy area of town. . . . It’s not like being across from Whole Foods,” said Angelique Goodnough, the Austin regional partner for Greystar.

Though the Velvet Spade may be doomed to the annals of history, Abigail King, co-owner of Club de Ville, told the Statesman she’s not too worried about the Neches project.

Abigail King, co-owner of the popular Club de Ville across the street, is excited about the prospects.

“It’s part of downtown Austin, and the possibilities are endless,” King said. “These are people who don’t have to drive home. Bring ’em on.”

It’s unclear how the other Red River project, Neches Oak Tower, might affect Club de Ville, which sits on part of the site.

Stephen Soward, an Austin architect who is developing the project with other partners, said his group is talking to the club owners about possibly incorporating the venue into their project.

“We’re looking at all kinds of different options,” Soward said.

King said she isn’t worried yet because the project “is very hypothetical until the property changes hands.”

Could these new projects be one of the reasons why the police department, who had looked the other way for years, recently made a drug sweep through that area in “Operation Rapid Fire”?

And what will be the ultimate effects of converting the area from a seedy, yet safe, environment to a playground for upscale patrons? Will the now booming Red River rock-and-roll scene be displaced by trendy boutique shopping and yuppie bars with overpriced drinks? Will Club de Ville’s beautiful outdoor courtyard be encroached by an overhead apartment building?

3 Comments so far

  1. M1EK (unregistered) on May 18th, 2005 @ 4:21 pm

    Will the city make a ton more money in tax revenues than the cost to provide services to those apartment residents? (Yes).

    Will the city be getting a bunch more downtown residents who can walk, bike, or take the bus to work? (Yes).

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on May 18th, 2005 @ 4:37 pm

    Also on Red River used to be junk shops, used-furniture places, and used books. And, of course, Jaime’s Spanish Village. Jaime’s will probably be the last remnant to survive, no matter what happens.

  3. omit (unregistered) on May 18th, 2005 @ 6:05 pm

    OK, I can see the positives of the “Smart Growth.” However, losing Room 710 and Beerland would really suck. I guess no club lasts forever.

    Jaime’s will live on.

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