New Plans Would Demolish Austin’s Arboretum Theater for Apartments

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Austin’s Arboretum area is located next to US 183 and 360 in the northwest part of town. It’s well-known to locals for its shops and dining, such as Barnes & Noble, Cheesecake Factory, Pottery Barn, and Brio Tuscan Grill. Though it isn’t full of small businesses that Austinites love, many locals wouldn’t want to see major changes to the charming shopping area, especially since the city has seen so many in the past few years. But My Statesman reports that a major project could soon shake the Arboretum.

If plans move forward, the small arthouse movie theater Regal 8 Arbor Cinema would be demolished along with Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant. In its place, a mixed-use apartment and commercial space would go up with room for about 400 apartments. That would only be the first phase of the project that would use over 17.2 acres in the area and would take upwards of 20 years to complete.

Though ground won’t be broken for the next couple of years at least, Eater Austin says that if the plan goes through, Manuel’s will be replaced with a “‘…high-turnover restaurant,’ along with a fast food, drive-thru spot.” According to Amanda Swor, director of entitlements and policy for the Drenner Group (the real estate law firm based in the city which is managing the zoning request for Great Hills Retail Inc. based in Dallas), “We are in the early stages and working to get the property positioned to allow for residential uses and additional density on a property that is currently underutilized. We will still need to obtain site development permits and building permits.”