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eastsider

New Federal Courthouse

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A new Federal Courthouse is planned to be built at the site of the half built shell of the Intel building in downtown Austin. Intel was building a 10-story chip design center on the block bounded by Fourth, Fifth, Nueces, and San Antonio streets, but stopped construction in 2001 after several floors of the concrete shell were already built because of the economic uncertainty at the time. A spending bill, passed by the U.S. House and awaiting the presidents signature, would give $3 million toward demolition and site-work for the new courthouse. The Intel shell could be torn down as early as next spring.

The new Federal Courthouse is expected to cost between $45M - $55M and will house the U.S. Magistrate and U.S. District courts. Renderings and models of the 7-story building could be released in February 2006 and final design work should be completed in the first quarter of 2007. The earliest that construction could begin is in 2008 or 2009 with construction lasting another 2-1/2 years.

The uncertainty is fueled by the court system's self-imposed building moratorium, set to expire in September, that halted work on 42 projects. Design work was allowed to continue on 11 courthouses, including Austin's, but no promises were made about when construction money would be found.

Austin American-Statesman: So long, Intel shell; no hellos for new courthouse

Austin Business Journal: Funding approved for U.S. courthouse

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The architects, Atlanta-based Mack Scogin Merrill Elam, aren't expected to complete a final design for the $60 million project until sometime in 2007. The drawing, which was done months ago, "gives a general theme of the exterior, but I wouldn't think the (final design) would look substantially different," Curtis said.

Austin American-Statesman: Austin Inc.: Modern design envisioned for site of Austin's Intel shell

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The latest design for the future Federal Courthouse has been released.

austincourthouse6xs.jpg

austincourthousenew6fm.jpg

Though exact materials have not been selected, the design dictates that the geometric building be clad in either pale precast concrete or limestone panels punctuated with long vertical ribbon-like expanses of glass.

Translucent glass will sheath two-story exterior courtroom walls on all sides. Deep recesses on the northeast corner will shade two-story lobby windows. Each of the four facades will bear a distinct profile, offering what Scogin called "a 360-degree relationship to the city."

Austin American-Statesman: An outgoing courthouse

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The 4-story skeleton of the unfinished Intel building will be demolished by implosion on Feb. 25 at 7am.

Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, had purchased the land and started building a chip design center during the height of the tech boom. When the economy did an about-face, so did Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel (Nasdaq: INTC), halting construction on the 10-story, 400,000-square-foot building in February 2001.

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Well, after the announcement of the implosion, Mayor Wynn has asked that it be delayed to study the possibility of selling the site to private developers. He claims someone has already offered $14 million for the site and this prime block in downtown would be better served being on the tax rolls rather than a federal facility.

The Fed's say that moving to another location will be a waste of the millions already spent for plans on this site and will add at least another four years until a new courthouse could open, this one is planned to be finished in 2012.

Should be interesting to see how this one turns out.

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Preperations are underway for Sundays imploshion of the Intel shell. The surrounding streets will be closed leaving limited areas to view the imploshion.

Pedestrian access will be allowed on Third, Fourth and Fifth streets between Guadalupe and Lavaca streets. Pedestrian access also will be allowed on the north curb line of Sixth Street between Lavaca and Nueces streets.

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The implosion of the Intel shell went as planned on Sunday. The center of the building collapsed while the outer columns are leaning over that. It will take atleast two months to remove all of the debris from the site.

The Intel building implosion was "a little different," Geer-Smith says. The building was designed as a much taller structure, and the five stories of columns were too hefty to completely collapse under the building's weight.

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