By Elizabeth McGuire
In the mid 1990s, a flat, empty lot sat on the western edge of downtown Austin, virtually ignored by its neighboring law firms, beauty salons and other small businesses. Developers, too, had dismissed this spot near 9th St. and Lamar Blvd. because of its floodplain status. Besides the substantial shade trees, the property held nothing but a couple of large piles of dirt (dumped by the city or a construction company—nobody knew for sure).