Austin City Council approves $23 million in property acquisitions for ongoing corridor improvement projects

North Lamar Boulevard and Payton Gin Road intersection (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
North Lamar Boulevard and Payton Gin Road intersection (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

North Lamar Boulevard and Payton Gin Road intersection (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

More than 2,160 properties along Austin’s nine major transportation corridors have been tapped for potential partial purchase by the city in its ongoing effort to renovate and enhance the city’s most traversed roads.

The 2,166 properties represent those facing the city’s corridors—Airport, North and South Lamar, and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards; East Riverside and William Cannon drives; Slaughter Lane; Burnet Road; and Guadalupe Street. Although the city could potentially target each property for a partial purchase, city officials in an Aug. 26 memo said they expect to need pieces of only 168 properties, or roughly 8%.

The $23 million comes from voter-approved funding from the 2016’s $720 million mobility bond.

In the memo, Alex Gale, interim officer for the city’s real estate office, said “no whole property acquisitions are anticipated to be necessary” and that each purchase would only be a part of the property or an easement. He said the majority would be “sidewalk, trail and recreation easements,” and some would be right of way purchases to widen lanes.

Gale said the city would have to negotiate purchases with the landowners and that if the city and the property owner could not make a deal, condemnation could be the next step; however, any property seizure by the government would have to come to City Council on a case-by-case basis.

District 5 City Council Member Ann Kitchen said she heard concerns from citizens that the city would be purchasing pieces of parking lots from corridor businesses in her district, such as the Broken Spoke or Saxon Pub, or potentially impacting trees on the property.

Mike Trimble, the director of the city’s corridor project, said the city does not intend to impact any of the businesses or their operations in acquiring pieces of the properties along the corridors.

“What we’re really looking at is slivers of land to help with bike lanes, to help with sidewalks and trails, as well as relocate utilities where we need to do that,” Gale said. “We are really looking to minimize any impact to the businesses.”

For more information on the city’s corridor project, visit the city’s dedicated web page.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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