Neighbors call for more retail at Austin’s proposed Windsor Park development

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For decades, the Windsor Village mall in east Austin has attracted neighbors such as Rick Krivoniak and Larry Abraham.

“Windsor Village has been the commercial heart of the Windsor Park neighborhood since 1960,” Krivoniak said.

“It was the place to shop, and it was nice that you didn’t have to take the freeway and you could walk or bike here,” Abraham added.

Now, it’s become a ghost town since Houston-based commercial real estate firm Transwestern Development bought the 12-acre property in 2020.

“There are people all over this neighborhood who miss the different businesses that were here,” Krivoniak said.

The City of Austin has approved the site plan to build a 650,000 square foot mixed-use development, which would replace the old mall.

Divided into two construction phases, the large building would combine residential units upstairs and commercial spaces downstairs.

A group of neighbors – including Krivoniak and Abraham – have joined forces with their District 4 City Council member, Jose “Chito” Vela, to push back against current development plans.

They believe Transwestern subdivided the property in order to circumvent the city’s vertical mixed-use standards.

“The proposed development will demolish approximately 50,000 square feet of existing retail space,” Krivoniak said. “It’s only about putting back about 3,000 square feet split between two spaces.”

KXAN contacted Transwestern Development, which responded with the following statement.

“Planned retail space for Phase 1 of the redevelopment totals 34,679 [square feet]. The initial phase of the Windsor Village project will maintain nearly the same level of active commercial space while adding an additional 405 residential units, 41 of which are affordable.

Transwestern Development Statement

While neighbors aren’t opposed to the new apartment complex, they say there aren’t enough restaurants and businesses in the approved plan.

“When you take that away from a neighborhood, you lose a lot of neighborhood,” council member Vela said. “You lose a lot of the interaction and a lot of places where people meet.”

“The company building this should be required to come back with a different plan that plays by the rules,” Abraham said.

This week, the neighborhood group plans to file a site plan appeal with the city’s board of adjustment.

Before beginning construction on the project, Transwestern Development still needs to get its building permits accepted by the city.

Sara H. Byrd