Gentrification in Austin in one Instagram photo

I received a message on Instagram to check out an upcoming bar in East Austin. Since I live in East Austin, I was curious and went to the bar’s Instagram account.

And I saw this:

East Austin gentrification
There are so many things wrong with this photo:

-Why does this person think that what he perceives as “run down places” in East Austin are just screaming for a new bar or restaurant? Last I checked, East Austin has an assload of them.

-Why does this person think that the owner of this well-liked and well-utilized neighborhood grocery store is not an entrepreneur? (This is the neighborhood grocery store at Comal & 3rd.) Definition of entrepreneur: A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

-Why does this person think that East Austin “needs” entrepreneurs who could put a little elbow grease into all these “run down places”? East Austin needs saving by people with money, I guess. Forget all the folks who have lived here a long time- a lot of folks who were segregated to East Austin.

-Why does this person think they can just march into a business and ask for the lease? Does he think the grocery store owner is waiting around for an “entrepreneur” to come by and save him from his/her “run down” business that he/she didn’t put any “elbow grease” into?

-I can’t even with the comment about the place being shady.

People opening businesses in East Austin (or anywhere in Austin), don’t be this guy. 

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  • Reply Eddie November 3, 2015 at 9:53 am

    In all fairness, the leaves in the nearby tress appear to be providing quite a bit of shade. 🙂

    • Reply Honorary Austinite November 4, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      LOL you crazy 😀

  • Reply Tim November 3, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    The good news is it’s not zoned to allow for a bar. The bad news it’s a pretty big lot so if someone wanted to buy the land, they probably also have enough money to push through a rezoning. More than likely it will just end up being demolished for some small plate yuppie restaurant. That is assuming the little old hispanic lady who owns the lot wants to sell it.

  • Reply The Fresh prinz of Comal November 4, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Thoughts that must run through this idiot’s head: I want to open a business on the Eastside, but dark skinned people make me uncomfortable. I’ll just ask my realtor to handle it until it’s safe for me to get out of my Mercedes. Till then I’ll hole up in my McMansion in Allandale.
    Since I’ve lived here for a whole year now, I’ll have mad credibility as a local business owner.

    • Reply Joel November 5, 2015 at 1:20 pm


  • Reply B November 4, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Gentrifiers calling out gentrifiers. Granted that instagram post is callous to say the least, but I feel like I need a Gentrification Handbook to know the good gentrifiers from the bad.

    • Reply Willem November 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      “good” vs “bad” gentrification? how do you decide which is which? gentrification happens when people who have *some* money (as opposed to *all* the money) decide to slip on into less affluent neighborhoods and get property on the cheap because they can’t afford to buy real estate in areas that are already developed. i don’t see where going into poor neighborhoods and buying up property that eventually raises the tax base for those folks is good. ever. i think it’s disingenuous to try to portray gentrification as a “doing good for the ‘hood” venture. it displaces entire neighborhoods. with all the new money moving into austin, buying up “cheap” “shady” properties, people without the same access to money end up … where? shit out of luck, that’s where.

      • Reply B November 6, 2015 at 10:46 am

        How do I decide which is which? That’s why I asked for the Gentrification Handbook. The writer of the original post is a gentrifier. I regularly see gentrifiers criticize other gentrifiers without acknowledging their own culpability in this process.

        But I am not trying to beat up the writer here, and I am pretty confident the instagram person is a shitty human being. I just think that every East Austin transplant should be honest about the role they are playing in the obliteration of these neighborhoods, especially when starting another conversation about gentrification.

        — A Gentrifier

        • Reply hipstercrite November 6, 2015 at 11:13 am

          Hey, B!
          Yeah, I never claim I’m not part of gentrification. Gentrification is something I think about quite a bit, and I try to be as active in my community as possible. I feel that if one is going to move into a neighborhood, they should try as hard as possible to get to know their neighbors and to try to help their neighbors as much as possible; I hope I’m a good neighbor. I love East Austin. I love its culture and history and my goal is to not be a part of its demise.

          • FedoraVape December 1, 2015 at 9:29 am

            …”I try to be as active in my community as possible”…

            Of course none of the things you mentioned actually mitigate the economics of gentrification, but they probably makes you feel real neat!

        • Reply Future gentrifier November 7, 2015 at 8:35 am

          Curious why every East Austin newcomer is considered to ‘obliterate’ his/her neighborhood?

          If I buy a house that’s dilapidated and nobody would live in, I’m an asshole to build a 3 bedroom house for my family? I see kids playing in the street and hope my kid can be their friend, playing alongside them.

          It ain’t cheap (looks like land will cost more than our current house altogether). And it’s not like I’m bringing in a bunch of frat boys.

          It’s simply the only central living our growing family can afford. I prefer my kids experience central rather than burbs.

          I’m not saying I’d make the hood better, simply don’t see how I’m “obliterating” anything by raising a family in a 1900 sq. ft. house. Pls enlighten me.

  • Reply Sherry Stephens November 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Excellent piece. Unfortunately, so true and so sad.

  • Reply AnneB November 4, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    The owner of this Instagram post made a crass and insensitive comment on one of Counter Culture’s Instagram post earlier this week… This person is obviously a clueless transplant.

    • Reply hipstercrite November 5, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Maybe he’s tricking all of us and he’s a parody account for Austin developers/entrepreneurs.

      • Reply Orval Haines November 25, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        You’re actually right that this guy is a troll–I came across his instagram account through other means and he’s definitely taking the piss of east side gentrification.

  • Reply Jo November 5, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Why protect the identity of this brilliant entrepreneur?

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