Food hall no more: St. Elmo Public Market on South Congress sold, has redevelopment plans

Food hall no more: St. Elmo Public Market on South Congress sold, has redevelopment plans


St Elmo Public Market on South Congress will be home to Pins Mechanical Company, an entertainment chain that features duckpin bowling, a bar and an arcade.

St. Elmo Public Market on South Congress Avenue once had big plans to create a food hall and recruited many local restaurants to participate in 2019. But COVID shut the owners’ plans down.

Now there is a new buyer and a big idea for the once troubled building. The site at 4329 S. Congress Ave., just south of East Ben White Boulevard, has never been occupied.

The property has been acquired by real estate development firm SomeraRoad and it is fully leased with its first tenants: Pins Mechanical Company and 16-Bit Bar+Arcade.

The seller was SE Global Land, a group of local Texas developers in partnership with an Asian investor group, according to SomeraRoad. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 42,000-square-foot former bus terminal will offer duckpin bowling and a bar and arcade entertainment center that is scheduled to open in 2024, according to Brock Kenyon, SomeraRoad vice president and head of the New York-based firm’s Austin office.

“We are firm believers in Austin and its continued economic growth,” Kenyon said. “We’ve turned over a lot of stones looking for the right project in the right neighborhood. The St. Elmo Public Market has incredible potential, and we’re excited to drive a new chapter for this project with Pins Mechanical.”

Kenyon said Pins Mechanical is the ideal tenant to bring a sense of community, entertainment and fun to the neighborhood.

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“The reimagined St. Elmo Public Market will establish an energy that serves as a continuation of the South Congress live, work, play ecosystem and the unmatched growth of Downtown Austin,” he said.

Located in the heart of the South Austin St. Elmo neighborhood, St. Elmo Public Market is positioned in a hot real estate development market, which includes The Yard, a 200,000-square-foot complex that features manufacturing and retail space. Tenants at The Yard have included St. Elmo Brewing, The Austin Winery, MADabolic, Texas Sake Company and Wooly’s Beach Volleyball.

The acquisition of St Elmo Public Market by SomeraRoad also included a 1.7-acre parcel of adjacent land. The site is expected to be redeveloped for mixed-use purposes in the future. Nearby, St. Elmo Living is now leasing apartments at its new development at 4323 S. Congress Ave.

Pins Mechanical was founded in Columbus, Ohio, and now operates venues in nine cities including Nashville, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. It bills itself as a social gathering destination that brings people together through old school entertainment.

The St. Elmo location will feature 24 duckpin bowling lanes, more than 30 pinball machines and more than 40 classic arcade games throughout the space.

More: The Grove Kitchen & Wine Bar’s new location opening in Northwest Austin next year

SomeraRoad said the St. Elmo site building will evolve to allow for a more open-air environment, where expansive patios flow from the inside to outside. Pins will also have two mezzanines for private events, four bars both inside and out, as well as a large central courtyard surrounded by entertainment on all sides.

This is the first Austin acquisition by SomeraRoad since announcing their new Austin office last year. The firm previously purchased the Southfield Office Building in 2017 before selling it to Austin Independent School District for their headquarters.

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