Here are the details on some of the multiple development projects happening in Austin right now that are key to its transformation and connection to community goals listed in the ‘Austin Forward. Together.’ (AFT) quality-of-life plan. AFT is a set of goals created by and for the community designed to address 23 strategies with 84 total actions across 7 Issue Areas between 2019 and 2024: Community Narrative, Education, Housing, Youth Empowerment, Economic Development, Public Safety, and Civic Engagement.

BUILD THE FUTURE
AFT ISSUE AREA ALIGNMENT: Youth Empowerment, Public Safety

BUILD THE FUTURE is a bold $24 million campaign to invest in Austin youth with a full city-block campus, featuring 51,000 sq feet of new and renovated space at Austin’s southern gateway at Laramie and Harrison. This welcoming and supportive safe space will dramatically expand BUILD’s services and capacity and allow them to open more widely to the community. The transformed campus will stand for growth, opportunity, joy, and every child’s right to grow up and achieve their potential.

BUILD THE FUTURE WILL INCLUDE:

  • A Youth Council to help ensure the project continues to be what Austin wants and needs
  • Expanded hours and days to serve youth and the community
  • Expanded capacity from 100 at the current site, to 2,000 in the new campus
  • Full-sized, climate-controlled gym, track, and fitness center
  • Public café and community garden
  • Art studios and classrooms, galleries, performance spaces, and fully-equipped recording studio
  • Makers lab, woodshop, and computing center, all hosting new workforce programs
  • Youth lounges and homework spaces
  • A mental health center with expanded services to youth and their families
  • New greenspace, playfield, and outdoor community

NORTH AUSTIN COMMUNITY CENTER
AFT ISSUE AREA ALIGNMENT: Youth Empowerment, Public Safety

By The Hand Club For Kids broke ground in August 2021 to begin construction on their sixth site in North Austin which will serve 400 kids from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The innovative space will be a 150,000-square-foot professional-level sports, education, and wellness facility on a 10-acre campus. It will provide the same opportunity for growth, impact, and sustainability as their other sites offer. Located on Laramie, it will have outdoor and indoor fields, including Chicago’s only FIFA-regulation turf arena for year-round indoor sports.

THE BY THE HAND CLUB IN NORTH AUSTIN WILL INCLUDE:

  • Form a Community Advisory Committee to help ensure the project addresses community wants and needs
  • Offer 100 hours weekly of free activities for youth and adults
  • Make scholarships available for after-school services for 400 K-12th grade students
  • Professional-level basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and futsal camps, leagues, and academies for youth of all ages with fees on a sliding scale to ensure neighborhood access
  • A mental health center with expanded services to youth and their families
  • Best-in-class sports programs, competitive opportunities, and health and wellness training provided by the nonprofit Intentional Sports
  • A partnership with the Grace and Pace Revise Center to provide education, health, awareness, advocacy, and community-linked services to develop individuals’ and families’ capacity to thrive
  • A chance for youth to improve their cognitive ability, social interactions, and the likelihood of graduating high school, just by playing sports
  • Public café and community garden
  • New greenspace, playfield, and outdoor community event space

LARAMIE STATE BANK
AFT ISSUE AREA ALIGNMENT: Economic Development, Housing, Community Narrative

The Laramie State Bank Redevelopment Project will revive the now vacant yet prominently known landmark at Chicago and Laramie Avenues and transform it into a hub with a variety of commercial and residential amenities. Built in 1929, the design of the bank deeply reflected the renown and prestige the Austin community once had. The property’s reactivation and redevelopment are vital for Austin’s image and spirit. As an Austin landmark, this project will preserve history and fuel the growth to come in the community. The approximately 20,000 sq ft of adjacent land might be redeveloped into a mixed-income, multi-story rental building that includes a green roof, a public plaza, social spaces, and outdoor art. The project is expected to generate up to 150 construction jobs and around 22 full-time positions. The plan is for construction to be complete by March 2024, with full occupancy in the building by March 2025.

The proposed $37.5 million project will renovate the landmark bank building to potentially include a:

  • blues museum
  • bank branch
  • café
  • business incubator

ASPIRE CENTER FOR WORKFORCE INNOVATION
AFT ISSUE AREA ALIGNMENT: Economic Development, Community Narrative

The Aspire Initiative (ASPIRE) builds on the momentum of the AFT quality-of-plan by mobilizing existing community assets with a set of four new investments to impact the growth in educational and economic opportunities for Austinites of all ages. Learn more at AustinComingTogether.org/ASPIRE.

ASPIRE will kick off with The Aspire Center for Workforce Innovation, an effort to repurpose a closed school at Madison and Central Avenues into an anchor for commercial revitalization and a destination for top-notch workforce training. The site will be activated with a POPfit area that will have year-round outdoor workout equipment and a field that will transform into an ice rink in the winter.

The Aspire Center is a massive, long-term investment that will build area capacity to:

  • Train over 4,900 workers in programs that will increase their ability to earn a living wage over a period of 5 years
  • Create 100 new living wage jobs within the first five years and anchor $36 million in investment to the targeted geography of the community area
  • Increase the income of 500 Austinites and help 250 more acquire access to capital for business and/or property ownership by the year 2030

The Aspire Center will transform the abandoned Emmet Elementary School into a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility that will include a:

  • high-tech manufacturing training center for working-age youth and adults
  • business incubator for startups
  • restaurant with indoor/outdoor dining and social events
  • financial opportunity center in partnership with BMO Harris Bank
  • selection of other workforce and social service providers

Learn more about these projects and how they fit into Austin’s community-led AFT plan to improve quality of life at austincomingtogether.org/qlp.

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