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City of Austin Celebrates old Home Depot site demolition, prepares for more affordable

Editor’s Note: The video above shows KXAN Live’s top headlines for Aug. 12, 2023

AUSTIN (KXAN)—The City of Austin will hosted a celebration Saturday morning to mark the redevelopment of the former site of the Home Depot store in north Austin.

The site, located at 7211 N. Interstate 35, is officially called the St. John Site. That location held significant historical importance for the Black community, according to an announcement from a group representing that modern community. The site’s roots trace back to the 1890s when the St. John Regular Missionary Baptist Association obtained 350 acres north of Austin to establish a freedman community with the St. John Industrial Institute and Orphanage as its anchor, according to the city.

The city acquired the site in 2008 and worked with the St. John community to create a plan, which was adopted in 2020.

According to a City of Austin release announcing the demolition, the city planned a free, family-friendly event for Saturday that featured live music, local performances, children’s activities and breakfast tacos.

Previous: City gets 6 bids to redevelop vacant Home Depot property; building ‘not habitable’ for homeless housing

The city told KXAN that demolition of the old Home Depot building’s vertical structure would begin August 14 and take three weeks.

That plan calls for a mixed-use, mixed-income property and will feature publicly-accessible open spaces and community-focused commercial areas, according to the city. It will offer 526 units, with 50% dedicated to income-restricted affordable housing, while also expanding the current St. John Pocket Park to nearly triple its size, the city said, creating a larger open space complete with walking trails and a splash pad between St. John and Blackson Avenues.   

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