State to sell coveted Central Austin site

Aug 25, 2014
Austin American Statesman

State officials are moving forward with plans to sell a prime parcel of land in Central Austin, a move expected to transform the largely undeveloped 75-acre tract, which is surrounded by some of the city’s most vocal neighborhood associations

The site, on the east side of Bull Creek Road, just south of West 45th Street, represents one of the largest redevelopment opportunities in Central Austin to come on the market in recent years, local developers said. The site’s future is also of high interest to nearby residents, who have expressed concerns about the potential environmental impact of developing the site, along with concerns about a possible increase in traffic

At least one proposal for the site is already in the works. Austin-based Stratus Properties, developer of the W Austin Hotel and Residences, is working with H-E-B to acquire the site, the companies told the American-Statesman

“H-E-B would be honored to serve this area with a neighborhood-sized store that reflects this community,” H-E-B spokeswoman Leslie Sweet said

Stratus and H-E-B have previously worked together on the Escarpment Village shopping center in Circle C, and the two companies have partnered again for a new project planned for Lakeway

Endeavor Real Estate Group, another prominent Austin developer, said Friday that it hasn’t decided yet whether to submit a proposal. Endeavor’s past projects have included Southpark Meadows

Before soliciting bids from private developers, the state is first offering to sell the land for fair market value to local government agencies, such as the city of Austin and the Austin Independent School District, according to Veronica Beyer, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation, which owns about half the site. The Texas State Cemetery Committee owns the rest

If there are no takers, sealed bids would likely be solicited in either September or October, Beyer said

“The Bull Creek property is currently underutilized and selling the property benefits the community and taxpayers,” she said

An analysis of nearby properties shows some land in the immediate area is valued as high as almost $900,000 per acre, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District

TxDOT has owned the land since 1988, according to Beyer. Some TxDOT and Texas Department of Motor Vehicles employees with offices on the site would be moved elsewhere when the property sells

Interest in the site is expected to be high

“Properties like Bull Creek are rare,” Beyer said, and selling now “takes advantage of the current Austin real estate market, which has significant momentum.”

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