Central Health officials outlined the plan Thursday during a community event at the Travis County health district's office on East Cesar Chavez Street in Austin.
Central Health hopes to see new mixed-use development with a medical research and service focus on the University Medical Center Brackenridge campus in downtown Austin.[/caption]
UMCB, which opened in 1970, will close in May to be replaced by the new Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas.
Central Health wants to remake the 14.3-acre UMCB campus into a mixed-use district that would include commercial and residential development with a focus on health care service and research.
A master plan calls for about 3.7 million square feet of new construction space with the potential for buildings between 35 and 40 stories tall.
Central Health will lease the Brackenridge campus to a master developer but will keep ownership of the property. Twelve developers responded to a request for qualifications, or RFQ, issued by Central Health this past fall.
Securing a partnership with a developer is key to the plan, said Christe Garbe, Central Health's vice president and chief strategy officer. Doing so will allow Central Health to focus on its mission of delivering care to uninsured and underinsured Travis County residents, she added.
"We are not developers, and we do not intend to be developers," Garbe said.
The next step in the process will be to finalize the UMCB campus' future zoning status, said Nikelle Meade, a partner with Husch Blackwell, a legal advisory firm consulting Central Health on the development.
Right now, the campus is zoned for public use by the city of Austin. But Meade said Central Health would like Austin City Council to approve a special zoning variance for the site that would allow a mix of zoning classifications and place no restrictions on density, aside from necessary regulatory setbacks and view corridors.
Meade said a proposal is before Austin's Planning Commission and a public hearing will likely be held before the end of February.
The proposal could be brought before the full City Council in March or April, she said.
Central Health hopes the redeveloped campus will play a major role in spurring the growth of downtown Austin's so-called Innovation Zone near UMCB and The University of Texas Dell Medical School.
The project's master plan configures the UMCB campus to provide better access to the property and create easier travel into East Austin, said Juan Garza, Central Health's vice president of finance and development.
Garza said a redeveloped UMCB campus could eventually produce an estimated "$1 billion of value" for Central Health.
One component Central Health considers key to the new development is a central plaza and public market space, which would sit adjacent to an overlook offering views of nearby Waterloo Park. But the exact uses of the property will not be determined until a master developer is picked.
Garza said he expects a recommendation for a master developer will be put before Central Health's board of managers this fall.
"We're hoping that there will enough here that all segments of the population will be served well," he said. "We hope that we can develop this part of town in a way that we can all enjoy it and partake of it."