Neighborhood Profile: East Cesar Chavez and Holly Street

East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood  Holly Neighborhood

  • Schools: Sanchez, Metz and Zavala Elementary Schools, Martin Middle School, Eastside Memorial and Austin High School
  • Average List Price: $377,290 (April 2016)
  • Nearby Restaurants: Juan in a Million, Launderette, Bufalina
  • Nearby Attractions & Amenities: Fiesta Gardens, Boardwalk, Festival Beach, Hike & Bike Trail

With its combination of central location, cultural vibrancy and relative affordability, Austin’s historic East Side has become a more and more popular choice for Austinites looking to relocate. Two popular neighborhoods are East Cesar Chavez and Holly Street, which sit side-by-side on the southern end of the East Side and are often viewed as one and the same, even though they are technically two separate areas with their own planning organizations. Chicon Street, running north and south, provides the dividing line between the two neighborhoods, with East Cesar Chavez extending to I-35 on the west and Holly Street bordered by Pleasant Valley Road to the east. The northern boundary for both neighborhoods is East 7th Street, with Lady Bird Lake to the south.

Among the oldest neighborhoods in the city, East Cesar Chavez and Holly both have some houses that date back to the turn of the 20th century. The area was initially farmland that was subdivided into lots and sold to working-class whites and World War I veterans, who erected the original cottages and bungalows during the first decades of the 1900s. Mexican-Americans, who initially lived along the banks of the river (Longhorn Dam was completed in 1960) or in the more industrial areas closer to the railroad tracks on the northern end of the area, moved into the central residential zones following World War II. Afterward, the area became historically identified as Austin’s primary Latino enclave, and numerous businesses still preserve that reputation, with Juan In A Million restaurant on East Cesar Chavez being one of the most venerable.

1710 Canterbury St #A 78702

1710 Canterbury St #A 78702

Recently, East Cesar Chavez and Holly have seen a great deal of gentrification, with new residents either remodeling or tearing down the older homes. The resulting single-family residences are an eclectic mix of original, small bungalows and new, sometimes cutting-edge structures. The areas closer to the railroad tracks and former industrial areas have also seen numerous new apartment and condo developments spring up, which has increased the density of the area and brought in new businesses. East 6th Street, which was once empty at night, has become one of the city’s livelier entertainment districts and features trendy restaurants, bars and live music venues.

There is also plenty of green space to enjoy around these neighborhoods. To the south, parkland along the shore of Lady Bird Lake includes Fiesta Gardens and Festival Beach, with its man-made lagoon and boat ramp. And the recently decommissioned Holly Street Power Plant, which was a long-standing polluting scourge of the neighborhood, is slated to be converted into an additional 90 acres of parkland. The plans include the construction of the final extension of the Hike and Bike Trail, which will complete the continuous loop from Mopac to Pleasant Valley Road, enabling runners, walkers and cyclists to avoid any car traffic.

East Cesar Chavez and Holly are incredibly convenient for accessing other parts of the city. Downtown and major traffic areas are just a few blocks away. Plaza Saltillo at 5th and Comal offers a transportation hub with a Cap Metro light rail stop, and nearby E. 7th Street features a commercial district with restaurants, grocery stores and markets.

Still, despite their central location in a bustling metropolis, large parts of both neighborhoods maintain a peaceful community feel, with large trees, parks and small neighborhood businesses. Development may be changing the demographics of the area, but much of the original charm remains.

Home prices in East Cesar Chavez and Holly Street range from $213,000 – $749,000 (April 2016). Single family structures make up the majority of the housing stock, although numerous apartments and condos have been built, especially along the major East 6th, East 7th and East Cesar Chavez corridors. Neighborhood students primarily attend either Sanchez, Metz or Zavala Elementary Schools, Martin Middle School, and either Eastside Memorial or Austin High School.

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