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Austin | Brackenridge Campus Redevelopment | 6-7 Towers | U/C

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This Travis County managed medical facility will be vacating this 14 acre medical campus after they move into the neighboring U.T. Dell Medical Center that is wrapping up Phase I construction.  The plans for this site are moving through the city's planning process even though a developer(s) has not yet been chosen.  This project will be roughly equivalent in size and scope to the combined Greenwater and Seaholm project sites.

Here are some renderings from the master plan for this project:

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This project is moving forward with 12 competing developers.  The developers include big local players as well as national and international groups.  These are the developers vying for this huge 14-acre downtown land grab:  

  • Brandywine Realty Trust, a Radnor, Pennsylvania-based company with an office in Austin. Brandywine is developing 405 Colorado, a 25-story building planned in Central Austin at the intersection of West Fourth and Colorado streets.
  • Catellus Development Corp., based in Oakland, California, with a regional office in Austin. Catellus is behind the Mueller mixed-use development in East Austin at the former site of the Robert Mueller Municipal Airport.
  • Downtown Life Center, which recently formed as a limited liability company, according to the Texas Secretary of State’s office. No additional information was immediately available.
  • Duke Realty, of Indianapolis, develops industrial and heath care-related projects nationwide and has a market presence in Dallas and Houston.
  • Endeavor Real Estate Group, of Austin. Endeavor is the developer of The Domain in Northwest Austin as well as the IBC Bank Plaza and The Bowie, both located downtown. Endeavor was also picked by Capital Metro to lead the Plaza Saltillo redevelopment project in East Austin.
  • Lincoln Property Company, of Dallas, has built residential and commercial projects throughout the country.
  • RM Realty Group, of Houston, is involved in a range of development work across the U.S.
  • Portman Holdings, based in Atlanta, the company developed the Peachtree Center Atlanta and has built other mixed-use projects in the U.S. and overseas.
  • Ryan Companies US, with headquarters in Minneapolis and an Austin office, the company operates in several development markets and has worked on local affordable housing projects, including Urban Oaks in South Austin, which is under construction at Circle S Road and William Cannon Drive.
  • The Howard Hughes Corp., of Dallas, is known for its master-planned communities. The company’s Texas properties include The Woodlands and AllenTowne, a mixed-use development north of Dallas.
  • The Opus Group, based in Australia, the company is developing the American Academy of Pediatrics National Headquarters in Itasca, Illinois, as well as the corporate headquarters of Xcel Energy in Amarillo.
  • Wexford Science + Technology, a Baltimore-based real estate company that has developed projects in partnership with universities, academic medical centers and research firms.

Community Impact

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Merck wants to create a global IT hub in Austin and is looking for space (and incentives) in or near the new UT Dell medical center.  This project would be a prime candidate since it's adjacent to the medical center.

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The City Council approved the incentives that Merck requested this evening.  Merck is going to set up shop at a temporary location to get up and running.  But I think this project is still the best bet for their eventual home. 

American-Statesman Article 

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KXAN has a story about the upcoming move out of the hospital that is the anchor of the 14 acre Brackenridge campus and into the new hospital at the adjacent U.T. Dell Medical Center.  The move begins on 05/21.  

Demo of the Brackenridge Tract to make way for the seven towers is going to be a big project.  It's possible that it could include an implosion.  The only other Downtown implosion that I recall took place around 10 years ago.  It was for a partially constructed computer chip design center being built for Intel.  That project was a casualty of the Dot Com bust, and Intel abandoned the site.  That site is now a Federal Courthouse that was completed in 2012.

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Yesterday was long scheduled to be the day of the big announcement concerning this project and the developer selection.  But it didn't happen, and I suspect they didn't want their big news buried by the weather news.  Thanks Harvey. :(

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The Austin Business Journal (paywall alert) is reporting this morning that Baltimore based Wexford Science & Technology LLC has been selected as the developer with Gensler being the campus planner.  Wexford specializes in medical research developments, and this 14+ acre project is tied into the adjacent University of Texas Dell Medical Center.  But this will be a mixed use project with up to seven towers.  There are no height limits on most of the site.  Demo is planned to start as soon as six months with construction beginning as soon as two years.   It should also be noted that this site is probably part of Austin's H2Q bid.    

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Renderings of one of the two runner up proposals has surfaced.  It appears to show eight towers with the tallest one about 60-stories.  The winning proposal has not been made public.  It better be good.  

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The owner of the site, Central Health, has parted ways with the developer that it previously chose to develop the site after a long selection process that included 12 initial developers.  This may or may not mean significant changes to the project.  Stay tuned. 

Statesman Article

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Central Health wanted to see income generated from the 14 acre site sooner rather than later.  Instead of waiting for the project to be developed as planned, they leased two of the six blocks to the adjacent University of Texas Dell Medical Center.  The two blocks include an occupied office building and an empty hospital that was slated for demo.  How that affects the long term plans for this project are unknown.     

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This project won't turn out quite as grand as envisioned.  (See previous post.) But documents have been filed with the City for the portion (~1/3) of the site that U.T. is leasing to expand the adjacent University of Texas Dell Medical Center.  The expanding Med Center is a great economic driver but not a source of great architecture. :) 

Here's the site plan with the U.T. Dell center expansion area outlined by a dotted line.  There is still a large area available for privately developed towers as originally envisioned.

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Travis County finally gave this stalled project a jump start by voting to lease it to a development group for 99 years for $450 million.  The lease involves subleasing most of the 14 acre to U.T. for U.T. Dell Medical Center expansion.  That means most of the site will probably not end up with large towers because educational and medical facilities don't usually build too tall.  But 2.6 acres not part of the sublease could still have towers.  But this is definitely a long term project and it's difficult to know now what will happen.  

Statesman Article

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We finally got an update about this project.  It's really two projects now.  Two blocks are now being developed by the University of Texas while the remaining blocks will be developed by Central Health.  Central Health is funded by Travis County and was originally planning to develop the entire site.  The University submitted plans to the city last week to excavate five levels for an office building for one half of a block.

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AULCC

 

Poster Azul at SSP obtained some uncredited renderings for the office building.  It looks pretty nice for a University developed building.  This one gets dubbed Brackenridge Tower #1.

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A local media event was held on the Brackenridge Campus last week to announce its demolition and to allow local dignitaries a chance blather (i.e. reminisce) about the site's 133 year history as Austin's main hospital.  The demo could include an implosion of the main building - I hope anyway.  Demo could start sometime in June.  The demo permit filed last week contains a lot of info.  The tower proposal in the previous posts is planned for one of the areas being demo'ed.  Here is the area being demo'ed.   

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The first building permit (Block 164 a.k.a. tower #1) for this project was filed Friday.  This is the tower posted a couple posts back and hopefully only the first of around seven towers.

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Here are some new renderings of "Tower #1".  The renderings show the realignment of Red River St. to the opposite side of this project.  That gives this project front door access to the currently under reconstruction Waterloo Park.

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KXAN

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Demo got underway about three weeks ago on the part of the site that the Block 164 tower will be built.  

CentralHealth_2019-08-26-Brack_hostpital

The Daily Texan

 

Demo can also be seen (just left of center) from the 1601 Congress State office building project.  The crane for the 1601 Congress project will be going up soon and the two cranes for the U/C Dorsey residential tower which is going up at upper left go up next weekend.  The tower crane on the right is for the Alexan Residential tower.  This small corner of far NE downtown will have 10 tower cranes up within about a month.

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Webcam

 

Here's a re-post of the Block 164 rendering being built by the University of Texas.

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KXAN

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Much of downtown is described as having no height limit.  But there is a 25:1 FAR limit.  Although no project has yet maxed out the allowable 25:1 FAR height.  Central Health who owns  this project wants the city to increase the FAR for this site to "exceeding 30:1".  The increase will be discussed at next week's Planning Commission meeting.  Here is the info for the meeting:  Brackenridge Campus Backup File.  Only one of the potential seven towers has started, so Central Health must be planning something very tall on the other tower sites.

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