Brackenridge campus property scheduled for redevelopment by end of 2019

Central Health and city officials spoke about the Brackenridge hospital at a May 15 press conference.

Central Health and city officials spoke about the Brackenridge hospital at a May 15 press conference.

Image description
Brackenridge Reimagined
Travis County health care district Central Health will demolish the former University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital this summer as part of a redevelopment project intended to generate revenue that will fund health care for low-income residents.

Central Health owns 14.3 acres of property, divided into six blocks, surrounding the nine-story hospital tower at Red River and 15th streets. In addition to the Brackenridge building, it plans to demolish all unused structures to provide developers with “a clean slate,” substantially increasing the land value, per the district.

Steven Lamp, Central Health vice president of real estate and facilities, said the property is on track for redevelopment by the end of the year, at a May 20 community meeting.

To facilitate this project, Central Health is in the process of negotiating an interlocal agreement with the city of Austin that would have the health care district foot the bill for the relocation of Red River from 13th Street to 15th.

Its board of managers voted May 29 to authorize President and CEO Mike Geeslin to negotiate and execute the terms of the interlocal agreement, which Geeslin said would be a boon to the project because it will expedite the city’s permitting and zoning processes.

The property is zoned for public use, but Central Health would like it rezoned as the Central Business District, allowing for higher-density development.

“Getting site plan approval for this development is very important for the process,” Geeslin said May 29.

A shifting approach


The Brackenridge campus was home to 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.

In 2004, the city of Austin transferred ownership of the Brackenridge campus to Central Health.

Four years ago, Central Health launched a community engagement process that led to a master plan for the property’s redevelopment.

The district’s initial plan was to turn the campus into a high-density development that would include commercial and residential uses with a focus on health care services and research.

The redevelopment was intended to recoup about $34 million in annual lease payments that Ascension Seton paid to operate the former hospital.

The plan shifted, however, following leadership changes at Central Health, including Geeslin’s appointment as CEO in 2017.

Since then, Central Health has leased two of the property’s tracts as a cost-saving measure while maintaining its ability to redevelop the others.

“It would have been at least 15 years until Central Health realized any net revenue if we’d stick with a master developer strategy,” Geeslin said in a May 15 news release.

The road ahead


While Central Health and the city of Austin have not yet finalized an interlocal agreement, documents show preliminary terms, including “development support” from the city, such that the city will agree to the overall site plan application for the Brackenridge redevelopment and accelerate timeline reviews for permit applications.

According to Central Health documents, the proposed deal includes a land exchange that would grant Central Health ownership of Red River from 14th Street to 15th Street.

Construction is expected to begin in August on a separate project to shift Red River east between 12th and 15th streets and west between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 32nd Street to make room for a new UT special events arena, per city documents.

The relocation of Red River is an essential component of maximizing the redevelopment, per Central Health officials. Preliminary plans show the new street will run adjacent to four lots throughout the property and will include transit options.

In exchange, Central Health will provide the city with an easement for the relocated stretch of Red River.
By


MOST RECENT

Bicycles for public use are docked at a MetroBike station on Lake Austin Boulevard. Austin's $460 million Proposition B will include funding for additional bicycle lanes through the city. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Breaking down Austin's $460 million bond for bike lanes, trails, sidewalks and more

The bond will fun a bridge over Pleasant Valley Road connecting two ends of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike trail, among other improvements.

There is no data to support whether homelessness has increased since March, according to Austin’s Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, but ECHO executive director Matt Mollica said anecdotally, he believes the pandemic, job loss and lack of federal rent relief has led to more people locally experiencing homelessness. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofits fighting to end homelessness in Austin say COVID-19 measures have created new challenges

Nonprofits have seen a greater need from Austin’s homeless community—for food, clothing, health care and hygiene resources—since March, and they are scrambling to fill those gaps.

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Austin Public Health leaders say gatherings with people outside one's household held indoors and without masks pose the greatest risk.

Sold sign
Central Austin continues trend of rising home prices in recent report

The monthly median housing price in October for Central Austin climbed to $625,000.

Harini Logan, 10, won the 66th annual Express-News Spelling Bee at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus on March 17, 2019. For 2021, the event is slated to be held in March at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. (Photo by Jerry Lara, courtesy the San Antonio Express News)
New Braunfels to host regional spelling bee and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

The Bridge at Turtle Creek apartment complex will provide more than 300 affordable units upon completion in 2022. (Rendering courtesy Journeyman Group)
Austin development updates: Apartments could replace two Rainey Street bars, 307 affordable housing units coming to South First Street area

A 569-foot apartment complex could replace Javelina and Craft Bar. Meanwhile, development continues in the St. Elmo area.

Falafel—served in a pita or without one—is TLV's most ordered dish. (Courtesy TLV)
Still open for takeout, TLV is the lone restaurant operating in Fareground food hall

"We will make it through these tough times," said chef Berty Richter.

Trail of Lights (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Holiday markets, strolls, tree lightings and Trail of Lights: 18 events in the Austin area in November and December

The Trail of Lights has gone drive-thru this year, while the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is taking free, ticketed reservations to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Austin voters approved a $7.1 billion public transit expansion Nov. 3 that will add bus and rail in Austin. (Design by Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
After historic public transportation vote, here is what's next for Project Connect in Austin

Shovels won't be hitting the ground on the light rail and downtown tunnel for years, but work is getting started now after Austinites approved the $7.1 billion plan Nov. 3.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.