Groundbreaking set for Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center expansion

The center will be closed for two years during construction


City officials will stage a public groundbreaking for the $27 million expansion of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC).

The ceremony be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 10 at the ESB-MACC, 600 River St.

In 2018, Austin voters approved $27 million in bond funding for the expansion which will add music rehearsal spaces, renovations to performance spaces, classrooms, galleries, office/support space, dedicated storage space, culinary space, as well as landscaping and gathering spaces.

Related: ‘The expansion of Austin’s Mexican American Cultural Center, by architects Miro Rivera and Tatiana Bilbao, moves forward’

Opened in 2007, the cultural is the only building in the United States designed by the late noted Mexican modernist architect Teodoro González de León. It sits in Austin’s Rainey Street Historical District along Lady Bird Lake and attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year.

“We are excited to begin the ESB-MACC Phase 2 expansion and renovation,” said Endi Silva, Mexican American Cultural Center Advisory Board Chair. “The community advocated for additional space to accommodate programs, classes and exhibitions and to represent the rich history of the area. We are pleased that this project will allow the ESB-MACC to serve more people in our ever-expanding city.”

The $27 million expansion plan for the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Cente call for extending the arms of the 36,000 square foot building which is on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. Image: Miró Rivera-Tatiana Bilbao LLC / Ten Eyck Landscape Architects / City of Austin


The cultural center will remain closed during the two-year construction process with re-opening anticipated in early 2025.

During the closure, the center’s programs and events will continue at other sites around Austin including libraries and recreation centers.


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