UT announces 17-story office tower as part of Brackenridge redevelopment, innovation district

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A new 17-story office building will anchor the ongoing Brackenridge redevelopment in downtown Austin, housing some of The University of Texas Dell Medical School operations and future strategic partners, according to an Aug. 8 news release.

Central Health, the Travis County health care district, owns 14.3 acres of property around the former University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital. In redeveloping it, the district intends to generate revenue that will fund health care for low-income residents.

The campus is also the site of the city’s emerging innovation district, a joint initiative of Central Health, UT and Ascension Seton. As envisioned, the district will centralize companies, nonprofits and community groups interested in improving health care and creating access to jobs.

“This redevelopment effort is part of a health care transformation taking place in Austin based on an unprecedented partnership between a local health care district, a research university and a hospital system,” UT President Gregory Fenves said, per the release.

Central Health plans to demolish the former UMCB building later this month along with all other unused structures to provide developers with “a clean slate,” substantially increasing the land value, per the district.

Brackenridge was a public hospital that served patients regardless of their ability to pay for 133 years. It closed in 2017 when Ascension Seton moved its hospital operations from the Brackenridge building to the new Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.

Once the demolition is complete, construction will begin on the office tower, which is expected to be completed by early 2022.

The 2033 Higher Education Development Foundation, a local nonprofit created to benefit UT, signed a 99-year ground lease with Central Health for two of the six tracts. The foundation is the first developer to advance a project as part of the broader Brackenridge redevelopment.

“We’re redeveloping this property with the sole purpose of funding our mission of caring for people with low income,” said Guadalupe Zamora, a longtime Austin physician and Central Health board chairman.

Central Health will receive more than $460 million over the course of the lease.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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