Details of Red River Street relocation emerging as Brackenridge campus redevelopment continues to progress

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The prospect of the city of Austin and Central Health relocating a portion of Red River Street is looking more likely as the health care district looks to redevelop the University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital campus property.

Austin and Central Health are negotiating terms and duties in an interlocal agreement that would see Central Health foot the bill for the design and construction of Red River Street’s relocation from 13th Street to 15th Street.

The city of Austin would additionally reimburse Central Health for incurred costs for the new Red River Street construction from 12th Street to 13th Street.

The Central Health board of managers voted May 29 to authorize Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin to negotiate and execute the terms of the interlocal agreement with the city of Austin.

Geeslin told the board that the prospective deal would provide a boon for the Brackenridge campus redevelopment project by expediting the permitting and zoning process with the city.

“This is two key parts. … This allows for the greatest density and overall site plan approval,” Geeslin said. “Getting site plan approval for this development is very important for the process.”

Central Health documents show preliminary terms in the interlocal agreement include “development support” from the city.

Those terms, which have not yet been agreed upon by the city, dictate Austin will agree to the overall site plan application for the Brackenridge campus and accelerate timeline reviews for permit applications, including demolition permits.

According to Central Health documents, the proposed deal includes a land exchange, which would grant Central Health ownership of the existing stretch of Red River Street from 14th Street to 15th Street. That stretch of roadway is included in the Red River Street relocation plans.

The health care district will also maintain and control access of the garage at the corner of Red River Street and 15th Street.

In exchange, Central Health will provide the city with an easement for the relocated stretch of Red River Street, including an easement or encroachment beneath the actual street.

The proposed agreement documents also outline Central Health will pay for increased utility capacity on the development.

“This is really just a simple land swap with the city,” Central Health Manager Maram Museitif said May 29. “I don’t foresee it making any definite decision when we have the redevelopment plans for the [Brackenridge campus].”

The relocation of Red River Street is an essential component to maximizing the redevelopment of the Brackenridge campus, according to Central Health officials.

Preliminary plans show the new street will run adjacent to four lots—including a parking garage—throughout the property and will include transit options. In the terms outlined in Central Health documents, the new road will be required to maintain capacity for transit options.

On May 15, Central Health announced it will demolish the former University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital later this summer. At a community meeting one week later, Central Health officials showed plans to demolish three separate lots on the entire development.

At that community meeting, Steven Lamp, the vice president of Real Estate and Facilities for Central Health, said the property will be ready for redevelopment by the end of 2019 “if all goes well.”

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the reporter for Northwest Austin.
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