Inclusive Housing for the East Austin Arts Community

Read More about the 3515 Manor Road Proposal
Read More about the 3515 Manor Road Proposal

The NHP Foundation Proposal for Seabrook Square envisions an affordable community for both residents and small, local businesses to foster an inclusive community at 3515 Manor Road. The proposal plans to focus on the East Austin Arts Community by partnering with local businesses, giving artists a space to live and create, and adding an art focused cafe with a community space to inspire the J.J. Seabrook community.

The J.J. Seabrook Neighborhood is named after Dr. John Harvis Seabrook; a Black educator, pastor, previous president of Huston-Tillotson University, and public prolific community activist who served many city boards, commissions and non-profits. This community has faced the highest gentrification population drop within Austin – dropping from 80% of Black Austinites to 30% over the course of 100 years. The Seabrook Square team includes Black community leaders, business owners, and artists in an effort to create a new bastion against displacement for Central East Austin communities. Our hope is that this will become a gathering place, business incubator, arts community, and welcoming residence and social hub for Black Austinites and others with historic ties to the surrounding neighborhoods that are so rapidly being transformed. The community square will expand throughout the ground floor featuring 10 affordable live-work art studios, the cafe and art house, plus a community hall and offices for local arts organizations. The live-work apartment-studios are designed to be affordable for East Austin artists at below-market-rate rents. Five are one-bedroom + studio and five are two-bedroom + studio units so that artists with families can have space to thrive and create without risk of displacement.

Project partner SixSquare, a Black-led East Austin arts organization, will be entrusted with currating artist-tenants. Austin Area Urban League, a Black-led community non-profit, will be contracted to market the availability of affordable units in the Eastern Crescent, with a focus on families and individuals with ties to Central East Austin. The Urban League will utilize the existing social networks of East Austin, including its own and those of churches, schools, and other institutions to help those vulnerable to displacement find a permanent place to call home.

Next to the live-work units, a 1,950 square foot cafe and community space is proposed to be occupied by Origin Studio House. This will be an area where Austin residents can come to engage in film screenings and explore artistic work inspired by multiple aspects of African diaspora. The cafe’s design will include indoor and outdoor seating, garage doors, plus shop front windows to engage both the community square, Manor Road and J.J. Seabrook community. The Expo MetroRapid line, Manor Road, J. J. Seabrook Greenbelt and Pershing Drive Trail will cross paths or lead to the Origin Studio House Cafe, drawing in cyclists and pedestrians. The ground floor will also have a commercial rental space cross-subsidized by market-rate apartments in the development to deliver a below-market rent that will allow Origin to thrive sustainably in this space.

The Seabrook Square development proposal directly addresses J.J. Seabrook community priorities outlined in the proposal to create a thriving, sustainable hub for East Austin arts and artists. Project partner Raasin in the Sun, a Black-led East Austin arts organization already active in the neighborhood, will install at least one large-scale public art mural installation honoring the cultural and historical legacy of the community on one or more of the buildings’ faces. Raasin in the Sun will work with project partner Art from theStreets, an East Austin organization of homeless and at-risk artists, to collaborate with permanent supportive housing residents to incorporate the perspective of Austinites experiencing homelessness into the outdoor murals. Raasin in the Sun will also receive a heavily discounted office space to allow it to organize community members to cultivate resilience through cultural arts and environmental initiatives.

Seabrook Square is a strategic affordable housing, mixed-use building that will aim to protect and enhance the historic resources while preserving the area’s historic and cultural heritage. We envision artists waking up, getting into a creative space, then sharing their talents with their community from their porch while living within their means and providing for their families.

Read More about the 3515 Manor Road Proposal
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