This project aims to advance citywide goals for complete communities, economic opportunity, and equity by providing six business incubator spaces to small, local businesses in East Austin on city-owned land. These spaces will be created from retrofitted shipping containers and leased out to enthusiastic and creative entrepreneurs willing to test out new ideas or expand their business for a period of six months.
The other parallel goal of the Box Bazaar is to activate city-owned land and create a vibrant neighborhood center. The City of Austin will sponsor a variety of programming and events onsite to further enliven the space. Events may include live music, movie nights, health screenings, cooking demonstrations, art exhibitions, dance or exercise classes, and more. In other words, we want this to be a space where the surrounding community can hang out and enjoy.
The Box Bazaar is a joint effort between many City of Austin departments including Planning and Zoning, Public Works, Development Services, Economic Development, and the Office of Innovation. The Planning and Zoning department's Imagine Austin implementation team heads the project.
The tenant application and community input survey closed on November 25. Stay tuned for more ways to get involved in the coming weeks.
Temporarily activate city-owned land to further citywide goals for complete communities, economic opportunity, and equity by working closely with the community to build vibrant neighborhood centers and prioritize underserved communities' needs.
Activate vacant city-owned land for community benefit and create a vibrant neighborhood center
Imagine Austin points us toward becoming a city of Complete Communitiesthroughout Austin. Such communities are defined by having amenities, transportation, services, and opportunities that fulfill all Austinites' diverse material, social, and economic needs.
Support entrepreneurship and small business development through mentorship and educational opportunities
The City of Austin's Strategic Direction 2023 outlines six major outcomes to pursue over the next five years. One of those outcomes is Economic Opportunity and Affordability or having economic opportunities and resources that enable us to thrive in our community.
Provide low-barrier business incubator spaces for equitable economic development
Work closely with the community to intentionally prioritize underserved communities' needs
The City of Austin defines Equity as the condition when every member of the community has a fair opportunity to live a long, healthy, and meaningful life. Austin's population is more diverse than at any time in history, and yet we know that this city has inherited many decades of inequality and must deal with the legacy of segregation and racism that is especially present east of Interstate 35. Embedding equity into the City of Austin's operations and provision of services means changing hearts and minds, eradicating disparities, and ensuring all Austin community members share in the benefits of progress.
There are no upcoming events planned at this time. Check back regularly for updates.
Location + Surrounding Community
The first demonstration site for this project is located at 3511 Manor Road on a city parcel, though the project could be replicated in other spaces across the city in future iterations.
The Box Bazaar: Manor Road site is nestled within East Austin off of Airport Blvd and Manor Rd and just south of the Mueller Development. The project site is located within Council District 1 and near the MLK, MLK-183, and Pecan Springs-Springdale neighborhood planning areas and within the JJ Seabrook Neighborhood.
The Box Bazaar project is designed to be flexible, low-cost, and simple so as to allow for it to be redeployed after each iteration. Following the closing of the Box Bazaar's pilot location on Manor Road, the project will be evaluated based on tenant feedback and community input and the possibility of replicating the project at another location will be evaluated at that time. The next steps for the Box Bazaar project will be greatly influenced by the success and community reception and feedback of the Manor Road demonstration.
Box Bazaar tenants will be selected by a community selection committee and City staff. Tenant applications are open to the public. The project is designed to encourage applicants with a connection to East Austin and who are at a place in the lifespan of their business where this temporary location makes financial sense and where there need for support is still high.
View the presentation slides from our info meetings below: