While there has been no small amount of hand-wringing over what the redevelopment of East 12th Street will eventually look like—with visions of huge towers dancing in some people’s heads—the most recently completed building on that street is a relatively modest affair. Christened Angelina and 12th, the mixed-use structure at 1322 East 12th Street is low-key and modern at four stories and 46,000 square feet of floor space. Approximately 8,500 square feet of that space is devoted to first-floor retail or office space with yet-to-be-determined occupants; the upper floors are residential, with a mix of  mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and efficiency units costing $250,000 to $600,000. Two of the 24 units are designated as affordable for those who qualify under city guidelines.


Designed by Austin’s Mad Works Architecture+ and Studio D+Form (now Marfa-based), the building is oriented toward 12th Street, with roomy, steel-clad condo balconies, large windows, pedestrian-friendly first-floor storefronts, and elegant landscaping by Austin firm Studio Balcones connecting it to the thoroughfare. In back are open, covered stairways and approximately 50 parking spaces.  


The generous parking and relatively compact nature of Angelina and 12th offer a glimpse of the requirements and constrictions that have so far kept development on the stretch of East 12th Street from I-35 to Airport Boulevard—a storied and historic corridor and an essential element of Six Square, Austin’s African-American Cultural Heritage District—slow and low, at least compared to other East Austin areas adjacent to downtown. While a zoning overlay eliminates a number of restrictions a mixed-use development would face in other parts of town (including things like the total volume of the building and compatibility requirements with the adjacent residential neighborhood), the amount of required parking is not one of them—despite the fact that the street is on a fairly active Capital Metro bus route. The size and shape of the lots combined with the infrastructure updates needed to develop long-empty properties offer a challenge, as does the change in the land grade (a fairly rapid incline, by Austin standards, from I-35). 


According to Madworks principal Michael Diani, preliminary plans for Angelina and 12th included such things 60 residential units, underground parking, and an impressive-sounding cantilevered overhang in front—all of which proved cost-prohibitive. Whatever the reasons, the result is a nicely scaled building for the neighborhood, one that in some ways echoes the look of Next Door Studios, another recent build down the street, as well as in-progress designs by Studio D + Form for a larger mixed-use building at East 12th and Navasota streets.