One of the most exciting downtown projects is the redevelopment of the decommissioned Seaholm Power plant. The $117.2 million project, a partnership between the city and Southwest Strategies, will result in a 22-story hotel, 60 condo units, and 180,000 square feet of retail and commercial space.
This week, the project inched a step closer to beginning construction in 2009 with City approval of a financing scheme to generate revenue for the site preparation and infrastructure enhancements that the site requires. Essentially, the city issued bonds which will be repaid through the incremental property tax revenue generated by the development.
Once complete, the 150,000-square-foot decommissioned power plant will be the centerpiece of the 7.8-acre property across Cesar Chavez Street from Lady Bird Lake. With offices, retail, and at least 3 acres of open space, Seaholm will shift the center of downtown activity to the west. While downtown life used to center around 6th street between Congress and red river, the warehouse district, 2nd street district, and Whole Foods have shifted the balance. With Seaholm, the downtown action will increasingly be centered between Congress, Lamar, 5th, and Town Lake.
The most exciting part of the project is the redevelopment of the Seaholm facility itself. When complete, the art deco structure will include nearly 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurants. Construction will begin 2009, with the final project scheduled for completion in 2011.
Here is a summary from the Austin Business Journal:
The city of Austin approved the creation of a tax increment financing reinvestment zone to pay for public improvements for the Seaholm redevelopment project.
The TIF will be within the area bounded on the west by the planned Seaholm Drive, on the south by Cesar Chavez Street, on the east by West Avenue and on the north by Third Street. . .
. . . Under state law, a tax increment reinvestment zone contributes property taxes from the increase in real property value within the district toward the project’s public improvements. The public infrastructure and power plant rehabilitation will be primarily funded by issuing debt that will be repaid from the tax increment revenue. The TIF has a 30-year duration.