State overhaul of Texas Capitol Complex, John H. Winters Building gets underway

The new 9-story Health and Human Services Commission building will stand at the corner of W. Guadalupe and 46th streets.

The new 9-story Health and Human Services Commission building will stand at the corner of W. Guadalupe and 46th streets.

Image description
Transforming the Capitol
Two state development projects are underway in Central Austin, as one looks to reshape the area around the Texas Capitol and the other will erect a prominent office space along one of Austin’s most traversed corridors.

The 1-million-square-foot, $581 million first phase of the Texas Capitol Complex will transform the northern gateway to the capitol with two new office buildings, five levels of underground parking and a pedestrian-oriented public mall replacing a section of Congress Avenue.

The new Texas Health and Human Services Commission office—a new nine-story building paired with a seven-story parking garage—will stand at the corner of West Guadalupe and 46th streets, just across from The Triangle mixed-use development.

Both projects are only the start of larger redevelopments planned by the state. However, state documents say funding for future phases has not been secured.

As the state agency responsible for maintenance and construction of facilities, the Texas Facilities Commission will oversee both projects. Richard Ehlert, director of procurement with the facilities commission, said the projects aim to consolidate the state’s office leases in the Austin area into new state-owned buildings, which he says will save taxpayers millions of dollars in annual lease expenses.

The Texas Capitol Complex


The Texas Capitol stands 20 feet taller than the United States Capitol and receives thousands of visitors each year.

Positioned between Austin’s busy downtown and the University of Texas campus, the Texas Capitol Complex’s future identity is a pedestrian-friendly event space.

In the first phase, a tree-lined, grassy public mall will replace Congress Avenue from Martin Luther King Boulevard to 16th Street. A future phase will expand the mall to 15th Street. Stretching from the Bullock Texas State History Museum to what is now the entrance to the Capitol, the mall will be split into four sections by traffic on 18th, 17th, 16th and 15th streets. Each section will be available to host simultaneous events.

Opposite from both the Bullock museum and Blanton Museum of Art, the 14-story, 603,000-square-foot George H. W. Bush Building will take over the surface level parking lot at 1801 Congress Ave. The new state office building will include display and performance spaces, a cafe and food service on the first floor. Pairing with the two museums, the Bush building’s first floor will create what the state calls the “Museum Plaza,” serving as a cultural gateway to the Capitol. The Texas Lottery Commission is the only tenant named thus far.

Just south at 1601 Congress Ave., a new, unnamed, 12-story, 416,000-square-foot office building will include a state childcare facility. No other tenants have been named.

Ehlert said the parking garage and mall are expected to be ready by May 2022, with the two office buildings opening by late 2021.

Health and Human Services


Five miles north, the area around the John H. Winters Health and Human Services Building at 701 W. 51st Street is evolving, as well.

Work began on the 406,000-square-foot, nine-story office building and seven-story parking garage at the corner of 46th and West Guadalupe streets in June. The structures should open by May 2021, and according to the state, save taxpayers $7.4 million in lease expenses.

This is phase one of a more than 700,000-square-foot, $445 million plan to build the North Austin Complex. Funding for the future phases, which include more office space and parking, will be proposed during the upcoming legislative session beginning in January 2019.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Christopher Neely

Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


MOST RECENT

Affordable housing complex on I-35 now open

Aria Grand Apartments, a 70-unit affordable housing complex at 1800 S. I-35, Austin, celebrated its grand …

Courtesy Jet
Electric motorbike company Jet opens in South Central Austin

Jet, a local business that rents and sells electric motorbikes and offers tours around Austin, opened Dec. 20 …

Garrett Leight California Optical now open on South Congress

Garrett Leight California Optical opened its fifth store at 1333 S. Congress Ave., Ste. 120, Austin, in …

Austin City Council is poised to make a final vote on the land development code rewrite by early April. (CHRISTOPHER NEELY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER)
Austin’s eight-year effort to rewrite land code advances to final vote with City Council's second-round approval

A majority of Austin City Council voted in favor of the land development code rewrite, setting the stage for a final vote on a project that has exhausted the community for roughly eight years.

Early voting for the March primary election runs from Feb. 18 through Feb. 28. (Emma Freer/Community Impact Newspaper)
MAP: Find your early voting locations in Central Austin

The early voting period for the March 3 primary election begins Feb. 18 and ends Feb. 28.

Easy Tiger announced Mike Stitt (right) as its news CEO. He will lead the bakery along with founder and head baker David Norman (left). The restaurant will open a location on South Lamar Boulevard in winter 2020. Courtesy Easy Tiger.
Bake shop and beer garden Easy Tiger to open in South Austin

Easy Tiger will open a third location in the former Red's Porch space in South Austin.

Lammes Candies has a shop off Anderson Lane. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Lammes Candies celebrates 135 years and 5th anniversary of North Austin shop

Lammes Candies opened its Anderson Lane shop five years ago.

Courtesy Poke Austin
Six restaurants coming soon to Central Austin

Houston restaurant Local Foods and Reunion 19 from Los Angeles chef Esdras Ochoa will be opening soon.

Courtesy TenTen
11 restaurants that recently opened in Central Austin

New options include the second location for Little Deli & Pizzeria and Tiff's Treats Cookie Delivery expanding to Oltorf Street

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in San Antonio on Feb. 13. The case is the 15th known COVID-19, commonly referred to in recent weeks as coronavirus, infection in the United States so far. (Courtesy Adobe stock photos)
The first coronavirus case in Texas was just confirmed. Here is what Austinites need to know about the virus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in San Antonio this morning, according to a news release from the federal agency.

SuperShuttle of Austin rebrands to Carter Transportation of Austin

SuperShuttle of Austin rebranded as Carter Transportation Austin as of Dec. 16 after the SuperShuttle parent …

The Troubadour. Rendering Courtesy Wayfinder Real Estate
New apartment building The Troubadour breaks ground along I-35

Austin-based developer Wayfinder Real Estate broke ground on The Troubadour, a 321-unit apartment building in …

Back to top