For those of you who keep close tabs on the trailer scene in Austin, the shuttering of the East Side Drive-In may not be news. There has been plenty of speculation over the past year about lots being used for development. In reality the rent that is made from the trailers is not highly profitable for the landowners. Thus, turning to a different option isn’t difficult to comprehend. Trailers at the East Side Drive-In where made aware of their limited time several months ago, and sadly, that time has come.
The real question now is, “what next?” With winter past, hours extending, lots closing and more and more trailers crowding the Austin trailer scene real estate is tighter than ever. Back in August 2011, Nathan Bernier wrote an article addressing the saturation. In my opinion, trailer growth hitting the proverbial wall is incorrect. I think Austin is experiencing the second trailer boom. More and more people are getting the hang of it, seeing it’s possible and are willing to take a stab at it. We’re well past the stage of innovators and early adopters and the entrepreneurial trailer boom has progressed into the early majority. Again, this growth is fantastic. It gives us options, great food and a massive subculture that is far more than a trend. Trailers have become a staple of Austin just as Town Lake (I’m not calling it Ladybird Lake), the SRV Statue and Barton Springs. Yes, I know… that’s big company to keep. But let’s face it, there are some great things happening in this city, and trailers are frequently in the spotlight. *See Paul Qui and East Side King, Eric Silverstein and The Peached Tortilla/Yume Burger*.
So, what does the closure of the East Side Drive-in really mean? It means that the problem isn’t saturation, it’s a limitation in real estate. I’ve pointed at thisbefore, and it’s here again. Trailers need to find innovative solutions including spreading out past the downtown radius. There are bars that need food pairings, office buildings in North & South Austin, Universities and more. My advice? Get creative. Just because there’s a trailer park there now, doesn’t mean it’ll be there later.