Imagine the sights, smells and sounds of the world’s great marketplaces, like Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid or Pike Place in Seattle. Now imagine that energy, flavor and cultural blending right here in South Austin. Brandon Bolin of GroundFloor Development and Matt Spillers are the two developers behind St. Elmo, a 12-acre, mixed-use project that is the future home to a premier public market in the Capital City.
Spillers, who spent years working in the hospitality industry, and Bolin, whose expertise is in development, knew that the one-time bus manufacturing warehouse on South Congress Avenue and St. Elmo Road would be the perfect venue for a robust, worldly marketplace. Adding such a venue to the city is fitting given the tremendous culinary growth seen in recent years. “Austin has one of the most progressive culinary scenes that’s going on in this part of the world,” says Spillers.
Capturing the city’s distinct flavor and honoring its increasingly international influence is one of the many aims of the market, as is creating a space where entrepreneurs in food and beverage can launch focused ideas and build on big dreams. Much research went into the planning process. Spillers and Bolin traveled the United States and Europe, moving from market to market to learn from the different social experiences offered at each venue. Certain elements were taken from myriad places, such as the openness of Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, which is going to be emulated at the market in St. Elmo.
To bring more depth to the experience, this central food and beverage hub will be flanked by a host of other projects, including condominiums, creative office spaces, entertainment outlets and even a hotel. No matter if you’re a resident, a vendor, or someone simply passing through, the community here will be grounded by the market, an age-old social gathering place driven by food and drink that is finding new life at St. Elmo.