Windsor Park residents divided over new developments

Locals view removal of Windsor Village shopping center with mix of apprehension, hope for positive change

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A model of the developer’s plans for the new apartment complex set to replace the Windsor Village shopping center.

Evelyn Jenkins, Mac photojournalism

Windsor Park neighbors have mixed emotions about the development at Windsor Village shopping center.. Many are excited about the change but others are sad that this aspect of their neighborhood has come to an end. 

In the end, I think the developers just paid lip service to the neighborhood.”

— Windsor Park resident Jenni Sperandeo

Windsor Village has been a central part of the Windsor Park neighborhood in northeast Austin since the 1960s. It served as a shopping area filled with restaurants, stores and other studios and businesses for decades. 

Part of its success was due to the fact that it was centered in the middle of the neighborhood and easily accessible by everyone. 

“I think it was really nice that people could shop at different kinds of stores within a walk there,” Gloria Neunaber, a resident of Windsor Park for 45 years, said. 

But in May of 2021, the owners of Windsor Village submitted plans for development and it was set to be demolished and turned into an apartment complex.

When the change was announced, residents had a lot of concerns, mainly about how much retail space would remain in the area. 

“There’s always this fear of not knowing what is going to be put there instead,” Hollie Jenkins, a resident of Windsor Park, said. 

Others, like resident Jenni Sperandeo, held doubts that the developers made contracts in the best interest of the neighborhood. 

“The understanding was that the developers were going to work with the neighborhood to create something that the neighborhood was happy about,” Sperandeo said. “But in the end, I think they just paid lip service to the neighborhood.” 

Although plans for the new complex were submitted in May of 2021, it was not until the fall of 2022 that the developers started tearing down the previous buildings.

During this time, many residents of Windsor Park and the neighborhood association submitted letters of protest to the city requesting that the complex have more retail space in order to preserve the use the land once had as Windsor Village. 

“We protested because the city of Austin and the planning commission did not do what they were supposed to,” Neunaber said.  “They were supposed to have so much retail in vertical mixed use, and they allowed the developers not to have to do that.” 

Until the construction is completed, however, residents will not know the full impact of the Windsor Village demolition. Some view the anticipation dreading the changes to their neighborhood, and others with hope of what bringing in new people and businesses will contribute to the area. 

“I just think we should all embrace our new neighbors and be excited about the energy that those people will bring to Windsor,” Sperandeo said.