According to recent information provided by the Austin Business Journal, rezoning, permitting, along with possible removal of the current 1,000 apartments could likely take at least three years. Once construction begins, the Project Catalyst is expected to be built in five phases with five-year breaks between each phase to allow for immersion – taking a total of three decades to complete. 


Jumping into the Austin development scene just six months ago was Project Catalyst, a massive mixed-use project at the intersection of East Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley Road – basically next door to Oracle’s new Lakeshore campus. However, very little was known about the overall scope of the project.

 A still from the Project Catalyst promotional video. Photo courtesy of JLL Austin.

  A still from the Project Catalyst promotional video, showing a street scene. Photo courtesy of JLL Austin.

As time progresses, more details regarding the project are becoming public knowledge. In fact, there have been a series of rezoning applications associated with various Nimes-owned properties, currently occupied by the Ballpark Apartments, which are expected to be demolished to make room for this project – a piece of land roughly 97 acres in size. While not huge – about one-third the size of the Domain – Project Catalyst is outlined as a mixed-use development independent from the downtown Austin area. The development has been described as an “urban village” and “dense employment node” supported by Oracle. If rezoning of the properties happens, the project receives a bonus: the ability to build to a maximum height of 160 feet (10 floors, give or take). While this is not tall by any means, it is tall in East Riverside– therefore increasing the density in the area.

An increase in density will also increase the amount of traffic. As such, a Traffic Impact Analysis application for this project has been filed with the city. In order to complete this analysis, the development has to have a rough estimate of the number of apartments, offices, hotels, retail options, etc., within the development. According to the document, Project Catalyst’s first phase includes the following:

  • 4,709 apartments
  • 600 hotel rooms
  • 3,987,300 square feet of office space
  • 436,250 square feet of retail space
  • 60,000 square feet of medical/dental space

For a development of this size…these numbers are insane. While it’s possible this is just a vision for the best-case scenario, it is also possible this is what is actually being planned for the development. Only time will tell.

Now, back to traffic. According to data from the Traffic Impact Analysis, the net total of trips per day is 70,000 – seven times the existing traffic. This increase is expected to be a major point of emphasis by those who oppose the rezoning for the development. 

While the project is not yet approved, it does accomplish the city’s plans for improving the East Riverside Drive corridor. Stay tuned for more information regarding the specifics for this possible development.

Posted by Monte Davis on


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