Evaluating vertical mixed-use development and ground floor retail space along Austin’s core transit corridors




Cairns, Jonathan William

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In 2006, Austin City Council adopted a new subchapter into the city’s Land Development Code, Subchapter E: Design Standards and Mixed Use. Through this process, the City established the vertical mixed-use overlay zoning district and applied it to most land parcels along the city’s core transit corridors. The new rules lead to the development of vertical mixed-use projects along these corridors, many of which contain ground floor retail spaces with residential units above. This study seeks to understand the factors that led to this new development and evaluate the performance of their ground floor retail spaces. This study surveys 19 vertical mixed-use developments containing ground floor retail spaces along segments of Austin’s South Lamar Boulevard, South Congress Avenue, East Riverside Drive, North Lamar Boulevard, and Burnet Road. Using a rubric created based on best practice research, developments along these corridors were assessed to evaluate retail performance at the project, corridor, and city scales. Insights from this research are presented in hopes of understanding the current state of ground floor retail along Austin’s corridors and informing future action


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