As we have reported in the past, developers and the city have announced ambitious plans for the second phase of the Domain: the new mini-city rising off Mopac just north of 183. Between now and 2015, one developer alone plans to build 50, yes FIFTY, new buildings with heights ranging from 2-26 stories (as tall as 310 feet). When complete, The Domain will form a second Austin “downtown” with as many as 82,000 residents and 50,000 daytime workers. To put these numbers in context, Mayor Will Wynn has working hard towards a big goal: getting 25,000 people to live in the real downtown by 2015, the same timeframe.
The Domain capitalizes on a an ongoing trend in large scale development: Pleaseantville-like mini-cities that blend ground-floor retail with rental, condo and commercial properties on the upper floors. The goal is to create a disneyesque main street development that becomes a destination for retail and entertainment while making the development an attractive place to live and work. Envision multiple city blocks with street-side parking (and plenty of garages).
Today, the City of Austin took a step forward by approving phase 1 of a master plan for the area which will officially strive to create a second downtown on a 2,300 acre parcel adjacent to the domain by 2035.
Here is the summary from the Austin Business Journal:
City Council preliminarily approved phase 1 of the North Burnet/Gateway master landuse plan, which will create a so-called second downtown in the area around the Domain luxury shopping center by 2035.Final approval by City Council for Phase 1 is expected on Nov. 1.The North Burnet/Gateway plan’s vision is to ultimately create clusters of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in the 2,300-acre area north of U.S. 183 bounded by Walnut Creek, Metric Boulevard, Braker Lane and MoPac Expressway.The final plan will allow developers to build denser than anywhere outside of downtown and as high as 15 stories or 180 feet, and up to 30 stories or 360 feet in areas closest to planned commuter rail stops.Phase 1 immediately designates a zoning overlay district in the area to allow vertical mixed uses and other urban design elements, and to preclude interim development not in concert with the plan.
The initial Domain site consists of 57 acres and stands on the former site of Century Oaks Park, a multi-purpose recreational facility for IBM employees and their families. The park was so named for the century-old trees contained within. The land was purchased from IBM, and demolition of the park began in 2004.
Additional land for The Domain is being reclaimed from vacant IBM manufacturing and administrative buildings, as well as driveways and parking lots that were once part of the original IBM campus.
The developers were granted tax subsidies in 2003 from the City of Austin and Travis County. Total developer compensation from taxpayer money over the life of the agreement could reach $60 million. The developer keeps 80 percent of the city’s sales tax for the first five years and 50 percent for the next 15 years. Plus, 25 percent of the property tax is rebated back to the developer for the entire 20-year period. The city of Austin expects to take in about $40 million in sales and property taxes over the 20 years of the incentive agreement.