City of Austin offices set for potential move near ACC Highland

Several key city of Austin departments may relocate to a new property near Austin Community College's Highland campus.

There is no more room for employees at One Texas Center—a 5-acre, city-owned property on Barton Springs Road that houses the departments of development services, human resources, planning and zoning, public works and watershed protection—according to Greg Canally with the city finance department.

Canally proposed moving some departments at One Texas Center and other departments located throughout the city in other leased buildings into the yet-to-be-built space at the intersection of Middle Fiskville Road and Highland Mall Boulevard.

Developer RedLeaf Properties owns the property and already has conceptual designs.

If the agreement goes through, the building would be completed in about two years, Canally said. A total cost estimate has not been released, but Canally said it would be 40 percent less expensive than if the city were to purchase land through traditional means rather than through this private-sector partnership.

"We will work with the developer over the next several months to look at either doing a straight-up purchase at closing or enter into a lease-to-purchase arrangement," meaning payments over 15 to 20 years, he said.

Council votes


On Thursday, Austin City Council voted to spend $650,000 in earnest money—a security deposit that shows the city's commitment to the project—that will allow RedLeaf to move forward with the design process.

If the deal goes through, Austin Code, Austin Energy, Austin Fire Department, Austin Transportation Department, Austin Water, Health and Human Services Department, Law Department, Office of Real Estate Services, Parks and Recreation Department and the Watershed Protection Department would all be located under one roof.

District 5 Council Member Ann Kitchen said she wanted to be reassured there would not be any disconnect given the departments were not near other City Hall functions.

"We cannot move backward in terms of our efforts to make sure we have a one-stop-shop kind of approach," she said.

The space


"The key feature will be the large floor plates," Canally said of the new space, which he estimates will be about 6,000 square feet. "This will allow us to keep building to four floors and have very large customer service space on the first floor."

He said overall, the building will be open and flexible, with fewer walled offices than what One Texas Center offers.

Representatives from both ACC—which is currently working on Phase 2 of its Highland campus construction—and RedLeaf said they were honored the city was considering the space in Highland.

“The city's proposed location for a Planning and Development Center at Highland is an exciting opportunity to enhance learning opportunities for ACC students through career development and workforce training,” ACC spokesperson Jessica Vess said in a statement. “The college supports the city’s competitive process to select a location for its Planning and Development Center.”

One Texas Center


The move will free up six floors in One Texas Center and move some of the other employees that are currently in about 250,000 square feet of leased space—which costs the city $6 million annually to rent—back into the city-owned property, Canally said.

One Texas Center is one of 32 properties that make up the South Central Waterfront Initiative, the city's plan to transform 118 acres of public and private property across the lake from downtown Austin into a vibrant and walkable hub.

The initiative outlines potential future development for the property, including streetscapes, connections to the other properties and a trail to South First Street's Texas School for the Deaf.

One Texas Center is regulated by a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, which means another office tower or as many as 150 affordable housing units could be built on its parking lot, according to the initiative.

David King, president of the neighborhood advocacy group Austin Neighborhoods Council and a strong supporter of affordable housing, called on City Council to be transparent about what will be done with One Texas Center if the departments move to the proposed Highland property.

Canally said he will go back to Council in June with a financial acquisition agreement and a final price.
SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

Courtesy Fotolia
City Council wants to know whether some of Austin’s public drinking prohibitions are equitable

The city of Austin allows the public consumption of alcohol except in six designated areas.

Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty in May addressed constituents in Bee Cave regarding the $23 million Bee Creek Sports Complex. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Longtime Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty will not seek re-election following end of current term

Daugherty has served western Travis County for the last 14 years, with terms from 2002-2008 and 2013 to the present.

Austin's Rainey Street District has become one of the most popular entertainment districts in the city. 
(Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rainey Street will shut down to vehicular traffic Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights beginning Dec. 5

In a similar fashion to Austin's Sixth Street, cars will be prohibited from entering Rainey Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights until March 2020.

The city of Austin authorized the purchase of a Rodeway Inn at 2711 S. I-35 on Nov. 14. The city plans to convert the property into a homeless shelter. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
City staff must be more transparent as city moves toward motel shelter strategy, Austin City Council says

Austin City Council is preparing to purchase another motel for conversion into a homeless shelter, but urged staff to be more transparent as motels are chosen.

The Cherrywood Art Fair will host its final event Dec. 7-8. Courtesy Cherrywood Art Fair
Cherrywood Art Fair to end following 2019 event

Cherrywood Art Fair announced Dec. 4 that its 2019 holiday market—a free event featuring more than 90 artists, live music and a volunteer panel of jurors—will be its final event.

Following allegations that an assistant chief used racist and homophobic language, the Austin Police Department may have to suspend future cadet classes. Austin City Council will consider the delay, and an investigation into the department, at a Dec. 5 meeting. Courtesy Austin Police Department
Austin City Council will consider APD investigation after assistant chief accused of racist and homophobic slurs

Following an anonymous whistle-blower’s complaint that an assistant chief with the Austin Police Department had used racist and homophobic language, Austin City Council will vote Dec. 5 whether to direct the city manager to undertake a department-wide investigation and delay the start of a new cadet class.

Travis County commissioners received their sixth update on the 2017-22 bond program at a Dec. 3 meeting. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
Travis County 2017-22 bond program remains on track thanks to innovations

Fifty-six of the 60 projects included in the five-year bond program Travis County voters approved in 2017 are in active development, according to a Dec. 3 presentation made to the Commissioners Court.

The US 183 North project will add two lanes in each direction to the highway between MoPac and SH 45 North. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Agency exploring new option to connect US 183 toll lanes to MoPac frontage road in North Austin

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is exploring a new option to connect the US 183 toll lanes to MoPac.

(Courtesy Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority)
$15 million enhancement project on MoPac South could improve travel times

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has updated information on a project to add auxiliary and merge lanes between Barton Skyway and Loop 360 that proposes to relieve congestion on the southbound side of MoPac.

The Hideout Theatre and Coffeehouse marks its 20th anniversary

Austin’s oldest improv theater, The Hideout Theatre and Coffeehouse, celebrated its 20th anniversary Oct. …

Three local businesses on Longview Street celebrate 10th anniversary

Three businesses located at 2520 Longview St. Austin, celebrated 10th anniversaries in November. Tony Senecal …

Courtesy Endeavor
Endeavor purchases North Lamar property including Waterloo Records, Amy's Ice Creams and 24 Diner

Locally based commercial real estate company Endeavor announced the purchase of the property at 600 N. Lamar …

Back to top