The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC), located at 600 River Street on Lady Bird Lake, in the Rainey Street Historical District, has entered Phase 2 of the 2018 Facility Expansion Plan (2018 Plan) approved by Austin City Council. Phase 2 includes expansion and renovation of the facility in addition to site improvements to meet the growing needs of the community. The completed project will support programs which foster meaningful understanding and appreciation of Mexican American, Native American, Chicano and other Latinx Cultures.

Current Phase and Updates

The remaining design services contract with the Joint Venture Miro Rivera Architects + Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO was executed in September 2021. The design team moved forward as expeditiously as possible to prepare for the upcoming Community Engagement meetings. The presentation for discussion can be downloaded using the links below. After the conclusion of the community engagement process, the Phase 2 Team began earnestly working towards developing Schematic Designs or conceptual drawings incorporating feedback they received from the meetings. This early design information will be available online in early 2022.

Aerial view of ESB-MACC taken in March 2020


The ESB-MACC is located on Lady Bird Lake adjacent to the Waller Creek Boathouse and the Rainey Street Historical District. The ESB-MACC is dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of Mexican American and Latino cultural arts and heritage. The center is a tremendous resource for the community and visitors to learn and participate in classes and programs. The program and education curriculum include the areas of visual art, theater, dance, literature, music, multimedia, and the culinary arts.

Construction of Phase 1 of the ESB-MACC was completed in 2007 and Phase 1A was completed in 2010 and both were based on the Master Plan developed in 2000 (2000 Plan) by CasaBella Architects. In 2017, CasaBella Architects began working on an update to the 2000 Master Plan which took into consideration evolving community needs and changes in the urban context. This new Facility Expansion Plan (2018 Plan) was adopted by City Council in March 2018.

The current ESB-MACC facility has insufficient space to host the myriad of community activities available or desired. As such, staff & storage areas are inadequate in providing support. Existing public space is in need of interior updates and building expansion to improve functionality to better meet present and future needs. Connectivity to the hike and bike trails, Lady Bird Lake, and pedestrian walkways and surrounding neighborhood are needed to activate the plaza and draw patrons to the facility. This new addition shall pay homage to the late renowned Mexican design architect, Teodoro González de León, who designed the current facility. The project shall also successfully integrate with the urban context of the newly gentrified area. Lastly, a grand promenade is needed to better define the entrance and to signify this as a premier cultural destination for visitors and citizens alike.

Project Description

The funds assigned from the 2018 General Obligation Bond will not be sufficient to build the entire scope of Phase 2 as outlined in the 2018 Plan. The available funds will be applied toward the most critical needs. In the first step of the project, the Project Team consulted with stakeholders to identify and determine the most important and feasible elements of the 2018 Plan to include in the current project based on the available funding and the most pressing needs of the community. A presentation with recommendations on the building program was presented to the ESB-MACC Advisory Board and Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Advisory Commission.

The Council approved 2018 Plan involved significant community engagement and will provide the project parameters. The community engagement process will evolve through the project, and will now move from consultation to informational.

The next step of design once the schematic drawings are complete will involve further development of design for construction. Phase 2 design and construction is estimated to take place over the next several years with a grand opening in Fall 2024.

Anticipated Timeline

  • November 2020: Execution of design contract with the Joint Venture Miro Rivera Architects and Tatiana Bilbao (JV MRA|TB) and start of design
  • December 2020:  Execution of Construction Manager at Risk contract with Rogers O’Brien
  • Winter/Spring 2022: Design Phase completed
  • Summer/Fall 2022: Start of Site Construction
  • Summer 2024: Construction completed
  • Fall 2024: Grand Opening

Community Engagement

Due to public safety concerns related to COVID-19, community engagement meetings took place primarily over online and digital platforms.

Step 1: Building Programming

The first step for this project was to confirm the priorities as defined from the 2018 Master Plan. The building program was presented to the ESB MACC Advisory Board on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, and the Hispanic Latino Quality of Life Advisory on April 27, 2021. The final document can be accessed here.

Key Stakeholder Small Group Meetings
Small group discussions were hosted by PARD to identify what changes may have occurred since the 2018 Plan was approved.

Feedback Form

  • Review Comments (PDF) during the Building Program (closed February 14, 2021) - Comments in English and Spanish
  • Revisar pensamientos (PDF) durante el Programa de Construcción (cerrado el 14 de febrero de 2021) - Comentarios en inglés y español

Meeting Presentation Slides

Building Programming Document

Step 2: Design Phase

The second step was community consultation on the design elements, confirmed by budget and the planning process outlined. This step garnered community input on different design elements to serve as inspirations for design development. This step will also confirm the final plan aligns with the goals of the 2018 Plan.

Community Meetings 

Meeting #1: Open to all: Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 6 to 8 p.m

Meeting #2: Youth years 12 to 19 and Family: Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 6 to 8 p.m.

Meeting #3: Open to all: Saturday, October 2, 2021, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

View meeting presentation (PDF)

The subsequent community engagement steps after October 2021 will be informational only illustrating the design and progress as it moves further through the design process.

Funding and Resources

Primary funding for Phase 2 of the 2018 Plan project was obtained through approval of the 2018 General Obligation Bond Election, Proposition B, Libraries, Museums and Cultural Arts Facilities for $27 million for the ESB-MACC. Additional funding was provided from the remaining unused balance of Proposition Four of the 2006 General Obligation Bond Election, as well as rental proceeds from 64/70 Rainey Street.

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

If you have questions or comments, please contact:

  • Christina Bies, Project Coordinator, Parks and Recreation Department, by email or call 512-974-9490.
  • Heidi Tse, Capital Delivery Project Manager, Public Works Department, by email or call 512-974-7172.
  • Para hablar en español: Mari Boren, Gerente de Proyectos de Entrega de Capital, Departamento de Obras Públicas, por correo electrónico o por telefono 512-974-2236.

Facility Expansion Plan 2017-2018

Rendering of future ESB-MACC from 2018 Facility Expansion Plan

The Austin City Council adopted the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) Master Plan on May 24, 2018. The plan presents design recommendations to better meet the current and future needs of the center. The process sought public input on programming to guide the expansion of the existing facility, new facilities, new shade structures, parking, landscaping and the potential redesign of the plaza. Additional site plan elements include design options for mobility access or circulation, the “Gran Entrada” or entrance to the complex, its relationship to the waterfront at Lady Bird Lake and Waller Creek, and to the neighboring commercial and residential properties.

Final Draft Facility Expansion Plan (Master Plan)

Facility Expansion Plan (Master Plan) (PDF, 8 MB)

  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Scope of Work
  • Project Schedule
  • Programming of Spaces
  • Final Renderings
  • Cost Estimates
  • Funding Strategies
  • Civil Engineering
  • Landscape Architecture

Public Involvement Report, Plan, and Materials (PDF, 21 MB)

  • Public Involvement Report and Plan
  • Public Meeting I Flyers/Handouts
  • Public Meeting I Presentation
  • Public Meeting I Station Comments
  • Public Meeting I Sign in Sheets
  • Phase I Survey
  • Phase I Survey Report
  • Public Meeting II Flyers/Handouts
  • Public Meeting II Presentation
  • Public Meeting II Sign In Sheets
  • Phase II Questionnaire
  • Phase II Questionnaire Report
  • Public Meeting III Flyers/Handouts
  • Public Meeting III Sign in Sheets
  • Public Meeting III Presentation
  • Phase III Questionnaire
  • Phase III Questionnaire Report
  • Social Media Posts Examples
  • News Media Articles
  • E-Blast Examples
  • Photos

Full High Resolution Facility Expansion Plan Download (PDF, 181 MB)

Community Engagement

Phase 1 Public Input

Public input on the project began in late May of 2017 with the team hosting four small stakeholder group discussions with the MACC Board, former board members, artists, community members and ESB-MACC staff. Three additional sessions were hosted with partners such as the Waller Creek Conservancy and The Trail Foundation. The first of three public open house meetings took place on June 17th and provided participants an overview of the project and an opportunity to discuss programming space needs directly with representatives from the CasaBella design team. This phase encouraged participants to complete a substantive survey made available online and in print. A list of the public meeting materials is available for download here:

Open House Community Meeting, Saturday, June 17th, 10am-1:00pm

La Gran Entrada Performance and Gallery La Plaza (El Zocalo) Waterfront Additional Space Circulation View Meeting Presentation View Meeting Handout

Phase 2 Public Input

On October 7, 2017, the City hosted a second public open house meeting for the CasaBella design team to present a series of design concepts that responded to the input received from the community.  Four additional focus group sessions were held with performance and visual artists, community arts and cultural groups to gather feedback on how well the proposed design concepts met the objectives and needs for the future. The public feedback received during this meeting helped CasaBella prioritize elements of the design and prepare a final recommendation to be presented during the third and final public open house. A list of the public meeting materials is available for download here:

Open House Community Meeting #2, Saturday, October 7th, 10am-12pm

View Meeting Presentation View Meeting Handout Questionnaire

Phase 3 Public Input

On January 20, 2018, the third and final public meeting was hosted by the City to present a final draft of the proposed Master Plan. The purpose of the meeting was to document public input on how well the plan accomplishes the needs for each of the Center’s key programming space elements. Feedback received during this phase will be considered for a final design presentation being prepared for City Council, Boards and Commissions in early 2018. A list of the public meeting materials is available for download here:

Open House Community Meeting #3, Saturday, January 20th, 10am - 12pm

View Meeting Presentation View Meeting Handout Questionnaire

Board, Commission and Council presentation schedule

Board, Commission and Council presentation

Additional Links for 2018 Plan