Black + Vernooy was selected by the State of Texas to design a master plan for 40 acres of inner-city land in Austin. As part of an asset management program to create value on underutilized land through public-private joint ventures, the master plan consisted of the overall framework plans that dealt with land use, open space, traffic and parking, utility systems, and so on, to support 860,000 square feet of development. A detailed set of architectural and urban design guidelines was also developed.
Following a yearlong series of 28 public participation meetings, the development was unanimously approved by all seven surrounding neighborhoods, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. Black + Vernooy was then selected by the developer of the first phase to be the design architects for the first project on the ground, the 120,000 sq. ft. shopping center.
During the past two decades, Central Market has been one of the most widely publicized retail projects in the world. Its success has been demonstrated by the fact that it has become a prime Austin meeting place due to highly functional gathering spaces for eating and entertainment. The sense of place created by this design is evident to all who visit Central Market.
In 1996, Central Market received a Merit Award from the AIA Austin Chapter.