From 1955 to as recently 1996, the Seaholm power plant provided energy to Austin Residents. Then for 15 years it lay dormant, it’s massive structure used only for photo shoots and private SXSW parties.
The City of Austin knew the value of the location, so in 2004, a request for proposals came out, and developers began to bid on the 5 acre site.
As a registered historic landmark, the original massive concrete building designed in the art deco style, had strict guidelines as to what could and could not be done.
What emerged was a new mixed used development with a combination of residential, commercial and retail stores in an industrial setting updated for the new millennium.
My first real visit to Seaholm was to tour some of the condos in the new 30 story 130 Million dollar high-rise directly behind the old, preserved building, but I took a few more hours to discover all the new Seaholm development had to offer.
The Seaholm Condos
Stretching 341 feet into the sky, the Seaholm Residential Condos sold out in 2016. A combination of studio to 3 bedroom units are available as condos.
A daytime concierge oversees the 280 unit building. Residents enjoy a private sanctuary with 24-hour gated access, and have access to the 10th floor with a pool, private deck, and fitness room.
Once residents come downstairs, and step outside they join the rest of us who came to explore this new area
Exploring the Seaholm Neighborhood
Walking out the front door of the condo tower, you will find a few restaurants, a Trader Joe’s Grocery Store, and a few other shops. scattered around a central square.
Some commercial companies also call this area home. Currently Under Armor, Aetna Health and a handful of internet startups have move into the old Seaholm Building, and you will see people wearing badges walking around, mixing with the dog walkers, and yoga-pants wearing residents.
Grab a bite to eat
When in a new part of town that I know nothing about, a safe bet is to head to a restaurant with a lot of people in it. They are all there for a reason. Perhaps they have a friend who suggested the place, or someone in a group did some homework on Yelp and researched the reviews, or maybe they just have great food.
At Seaholm the busiest restaurant is the True food Kitchen.
If I came any later, I’d have to wait for a table at lunchtime on a weekday. There were lots of people eating inside, as well as outside and at the bar.
I didn’t realize this was a chain at first – the decor is nice, and the servers were super helpful and knowledgeable about the menu, especially about the Vegetarian and Vegan options.
If I had to use one word to describe the food, I’d choose Fresh.
We started with the Shiitake Lettuce Cups, moved on to the Spaghetti Squash Casserole, and had more than one Honey Apricot Old Fashioned full of bourbon.
Other options include Boiler Nine Bar & Grill and Trader Joes.
TJ’s has the perfect blend of staples, salads, wine and beer, and snacks. All your bases are covered. If you want to make a 3-layer chocolate cake from scratch, they have all the ingredients you need, or you can pick up a perfect frozen tiramisu and a bottle of red wine for a night in.
There were several people getting a pre-packaged salad and a bottle of sparkling water and heading outside to eat during their lunch break.
It’s not hard to quickly become a Trader Joe’s fan. Quietly, they have opened 3 locations across Austin, and after visiting one it’s not hard to see why.
Finally there is a Ruiz hair salon and an Optique store. No other retail stores – yet, so shopping options are pretty much non existent.
MAPPING YOUR EXPERIENCE
you get one hour of free parking at the Garage with Validation for your visit – so be sure to bring your ticket up with you and get one of the businesses to stamp it (electronically). That first hour goes by fast so have a few extra dollars with you, but the automatic machines also take credit cards.