A lease agreement between Austin and State Theater was terminated Sept. 17 but with no hard feelings from either party.
The city of Austin leased the site in order to use bond funding from 1998 for renovations and improvements to the aging building. Construction is now complete, but the lease does not expire until February 2018, so it was terminated by a unanimous Austin City Council vote.
With the lease now ended, Austin Theatre Alliance, the nonprofit that runs State Theater as well as Paramount Theater and Moontower Comedy Festival, can pursue a possible purchase of the adjacent property at 721 Congress Ave.
Jim Ritts, CEO of Austin Theatre Alliance, said his nonprofit group is interested in purchasing the property, which has been vacant for 14 years, or have another party purchase it in order to remove the "empty blight" from Congress Avenue.
The 721 Congress Ave. property has an ongoing roof leak, said Laura Esparza, division manager of museums and cultural programs for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. The property shares a roof with the State Theater, so having a property owner to fix the leak and prevent possible damage to the State Theater is of interest to the theater and taxpayers, she said.
“They need to stop the building next door from hurting all the wonderful renovations they’ve done with the bond money,” Esparza said.
State Theater hosts live performances, film screenings and educational classes. Ritts said there are no plans to change program activities at the theater.
Other Sept. 17 City Council highlights:
- A temporary ordinance relating to nighttime downtown concrete pours was extended until Dec. 31. Council unanimously voted "yes."
- A 3 percent pay increase for the City Clerk was approved. Council unanimously voted "yes."
- A resolution was approved voicing support for an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs by Pedcor Investments LLC, or an affiliated entity, for a proposed affordable multifamily development at 8700 West Gate Blvd. Council approved the item on a 10-0 vote, with District 6 Council Member Don Zimmerman abstaining.
- An agreement between The University of Texas and Austin Police Department was approved by council to allow APD to provide security services for UT events on an as needed basis. UT will pay APD for services based on what type and how many personnel are required. Council unanimously voted "yes."
- The first ever master plan for Austin cemeteries was approved by Council. The Historic Cemeteries Master Plan provides a long-term framework for Oakwood Cemetery, Oakwood Cemetery Annex, Plummers Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery and Austin Memorial Park Cemetery. Council approved the item on a 10-0 vote, with District 6 Council Member Don Zimmerman abstaining.
Castle Hill Historic District's boundaries are shown by the black box with 614 Blanco St. as the red point.[/caption]
Council amended an ordinance that established the Castle Hill Historic District to allow a 12-unit multifamily development to be built at 614 Blanco St., the former location of Armstrong—Odom House, which was demolished after two fires in 1992. Council unanimously voted "yes."
- Council denied an appeal regarding the relocation of Austin's Megabus terminal to 1500 San Jacinto Blvd., so the terminal will move forward with implementing operations at the site. Council unanimously voted "yes."