University of Texas to lease 109 acres for commercial development

Nov 15, 2013
Austin American Statesman

University of Texas System regents on Thursday agreed to lease 109 acres of university-owned land in Northwest Austin for commercial development expected to include apartments, offices and limited retail


The tract, at the southwest corner of West Braker Lane and MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1), is largely undeveloped. The university already leases a parcel at the southeast corner of the intersection to the Simon Property Group for a mixed-use development known as the Shops at Arbor Walk, which sits next to the university’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus


The university acquired the various properties in 1949 from the federal government with the help of Lyndon B. Johnson, then a member of the U.S. Senate. The land had been used for a federally owned magnesium plant during World War II


The regents’ action ratifies UT-Austin’s plan to work with Hines Interests LP, which will function as a master developer for the tract at issue, sometimes known as West Pickle


Hines might develop portions of the tract but line up other developers to pursue compatible uses, said Kevin Hegarty, the university’s vice president and chief financial officer


Hegarty said the university doesn’t envision a heavy dose of retail development at that site as is the case at the Shops at Arbor Walk. “It’s probably commercial office, with some apartment, maybe condo, living,” with a limited amount of retail shops and restaurants, he said


Pat Clubb, vice president for university operations, said “a big part” of the tract would be kept as green space, but she didn’t specify how much. The agreement with Hines runs for 10 years with an option to extend it five years “to accommodate market ups and downs,” she said


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