Title: Historic St. John Site Redevelopment Celebrated with Community Event
Austin, TX – The City of Austin recently organized a vibrant celebration to commemorate the redevelopment of the former Home Depot site in north Austin. The site, known as the St. John Site, holds significant historical importance for the Black community and has undergone a remarkable transformation to create a thriving new space for the neighborhood.
Originally established in the 1890s by the St. John Regular Missionary Baptist Association, the St. John Site served as a freedman community, housing the St. John Industrial Institute and Orphanage. Recognizing the historical significance, the city acquired the site in 2008 with the intention of preserving its legacy while meeting the modern needs of the community. This vision was achieved through a collaborative effort between the city and the St. John community, resulting in a comprehensive redevelopment plan adopted in 2020.
To mark this momentous occasion, the city organized a free, family-friendly event, inviting residents to come together and celebrate the revitalization of their neighborhood. The festivity showcased live music, local performances, engaging children’s activities, and an array of delicious breakfast tacos.
The redevelopment project aims to create a vibrant mixed-use, mixed-income property, featuring publicly accessible open spaces and community-focused commercial areas. As part of the plan, the site will offer a total of 526 units, with half of them dedicated to income-restricted affordable housing. This commitment to inclusive housing will ensure that the community remains diverse and accessible to all.
Additionally, the existing St. John Pocket Park, cherished by locals, will undergo an impressive expansion, nearly tripling in size. This enhancement will create ample open space, complete with walking trails and a splash pad, providing a picturesque environment for residents to enjoy between St. John and Blackson Avenues.
Looking ahead, the redevelopment project will mark a new chapter in the history of the St. John Site. The demolition of the old Home Depot building’s vertical structure is scheduled to commence on August 14 and is expected to take approximately three weeks. This significant step will pave the way for the construction of the new development, ensuring the site’s historical relevance is preserved while accommodating the evolving needs of the community.
The celebration of the St. John Site redevelopment illustrates the positive impact that collaborative efforts can have on preserving history and fostering community growth. This ambitious project not only honors the site’s rich background but also creates a promising future for the diverse residents of north Austin.