About Seabrook Square
3515 Manor Road is located in the J.J. Seabrook neighborhood, named after Dr. John Jarvis Seabrook, a Black educator, pastor, and prolific community activist. Dr. Seabrook served as president of Huston-Tillotson College, now Huston-Tillotson University, and was also on many city boards, commissions, and non-profit committees.
The site is just to the east of the traditional six square miles on Austin’s East Side that city planners originally designated for Black residents in the 1920s, and where 80% of Black Austinites lived by 1930. But, as Austin’s ongoing gentrification pushes residents of Austin’s historical Central East Austin communities outwards, the site’s census tract has fallen to 30% Black/African American – this is still the highest in the city.
In March 2022, Austin Public Health (APH) and the Austin Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) released a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) solicitation to develop and operate a multifamily rental housing development, with on-site social services. Capital A Housing collaborated with the National Housing Partnership Foundation (NHP) and Integral Care in the proposal for the development opportunity at 3515 Manor Road. Together the organizations have developed, own, and operate more than 10,000 affordable housing units across the country, including nearly 300 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) in Travis County. This unique collaboration combines local expertise and experience in serving low income and unhoused families with national operations and development expertise built over decades.
Seabrook Square, our proposal for 3515 Manor Road, is envisioned to be an inclusive, sustainable, and active hub that seamlessly integrates with the J.J. Seabrook Neighborhood’s existing resources, cultural history, and physical environment. This proposal has been realized through rich collaboration with the development team of NHP, Capital A Housing, and Integral Care; the design team of Urban Foundry Architecture and Civilitude Engineers & Planners; and Central East Austin community leaders including Origin Studio House, SixSquare, Austin Area Urban League, Raasin in the Sun, and Art From the Streets. The development features amenities for residents and the community at large including a lush community square, Community Hall, Resilience Hub, and active ground floor spaces for both local businesses and artists.
Development Concept Summary
The Seabrook Square proposal focuses on providing maximum affordability to both residents and small, local businesses. In turn this will foster an inclusive community that supports the health and well-being of the J.J. Seabrook neighborhood through engaging green space, ecosystem services, active transportation linkages, and imaginative public art.
Seabrook Square includes four individual residential buildings and active ground floor uses, connected across the site through pedestrian bridges and paseos. The development features multiple green spaces including a large community square activated by artist live-work spaces, a community cafe, and a Community Hall. Other, more intimate green spaces, provide space for retreat and reflection for both residents and neighbors. Ground floor residences along Greenwood Avenue and the J.J. Seabrook Greenbelt activates the sidewalk with elevated stoops to encourage community engagement.
The Seabrook Square proposal was designed to meet every single Community Priority identified by the surrounding neighbors:
- Seabrook Square’s heart is in the community square, flanked by active ground-floor commercial uses including a cafe and art house, a Community Hall, affordable live-work art studios for resident artists, and offices for a local arts organization, with a “Commercial Expansion Scenario” that substantially increases space available for local small businesses.
- On the outside, Seabrook Square integrates with the neighborhood physically through a chain of open spaces, functional green features, and paths that complete the neighborhood’s active transportation and leisure networks.
- Inside, amenity space including a business center will be
available for community use. Residential building forms along Greenwood complement the existing neighborhood scale while shielding the onsite parking from public view.
- The cultural integration of Seabrook Square is achieved in partnership with East Austin community leaders, business owners, non-profit organizations, and artists in an effort to create a new protection against displacement.
- From the ground up, Seabrook Square provides a level of ecosystem services, alternative energy generation, and sustainable transportation options to foster a healthy and resilient environment for its residents and the surrounding community while discouraging as much as possible adding additional car traffic to neighborhood streets through the installation of a MetroCycle ebike station and other strategies.
The solar panels and batteries planned on the site will also help weather climate change by creating a new off-grid neighborhood Resilience Hub in partnership with the city’s Office of Sustainability that can provide electricity, water, and heat when the city’s systems go down.
- The central feature of Seabrook Square is a large community square nestled among residential buildings with active ground floor uses on two sides, and the beautiful J.J. Seabrook Greenbelt extension on the south-eastern edge. The square is deliberately oriented towards the interior of the JJ Seabrook neighborhood to welcome nearby residents and integrate the development into the fabric of the community.
- Seabrook Square would create a new arts hub for East Austin, with spaces for local artists to live, create, engage, and inspire the community. The proposal includes 10 affordable artist live-work units engaging the community square, public art installations in the open spaces across the site, and a new office for a local community arts organization dedicated to engaging neighbors in projects that beautify and root public spaces in the area’s culture and history.