Report: Austin may expand convention center by several city blocks

Oct 30, 2014
Austin Business Journal

The Austin Convention Center — epicenter of many of downtown Austin's large events such as South By Southwest and the upcoming Dell World — needs to be expanded again, according to a memo from the city's Real Estate Services office sent to City Council members

The memo, according to a report from the Austin Monitor, calls on city leaders to obtain a portion of land west of the Austin Convention Center dubbed Block 8 either by purchase or – if necessary – by eminent domain. Southwest Strategies Group, which has tried to develop the land in the past, notes in marketing materials that the tract is currently occupied by three small buildings of between 4,161 square feet and 6,103 square feet

The memo notes a forthcoming long-range master plan for the convention center that will likely call for new meeting space to be added into the facility. But the space necessary for the expected recommendation's expansions would eventually take up more than 76,170 square feet, or "the equivalent of three to four city blocks."

As a result, the memo notes "that expansion to the west of the convention center is the most feasible option. This conclusion is, in part, due to the Convention Center being bounded to the east and south by properties incorporated into the Waller Creek Tax Increment Financing Reinvestment Zone, and to the north by the Hilton Hotel and Brush Square."

City officials invested about $110 million to expand the convention center in 2002 by several city blocks

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