Over the last few years, much of Austin’s downtown has been redeveloped — or planned for redevelopment.
Whole Foods has transformed an area of car dealers and auto body shops. The second street district transformed a region of old warehouse and industrial buildings. Seaholm power plant has been decommissioned and is now slated for mixed use development. Congress avenue is set to be transformed with a new hotel megaplex and the Austonian tower.
Nestled between all of these projects is the City’s oldest sewage treatment plant – the Thomas C. Green Water Treatment Plant – which began purifying water from Ladybird lake in 1925. The plant covers 6 acres across 4 city blocks. In addition to using a key tract of land to process water using 1920’s technology, the plant also serves to disrupt the natural grid of the city — it stops second street at its west end and blocks Nueces and Rio Grande from reaching Cesar Chavez.
The plant, which is located between Cesar Chavez and Third streets between Seaholm and San Antonio is about to be decommissioned to make way for a new development. On November 29, the city will begin the process of soliciting proposals for redevelopment of the site. Once complete, the new development will likely add retail, housing, and office space while filling in the missing streets on the city grid.
The Green site offers an incredible development opportunity. With four downtown blocks, it is a huge chunk of land. The location is perfect — it is on the lake and adjacent to both the hot second street district and the future Seaholm multi-use development. The site is free of Capital View Corridor restrictions, although portions of the site close to the lake are limited to 45 feet in height.
Over the next year, the City will seek and review proposals from developers interested in the site. Once a developer is selected, construction is expected to begin in 2010. Full build out of the site could take as many as 10 years. The land, which is currently owned by the city, is expected to sell for as much as $65 million (half of the proceeds will then be used for site improvements including reforming the street grid throughout the site). At that price, developers will need to build some tall buildings — condo, rental, or commercial — in order to profitably develop the site.