Affordability: and the surface parking lot next to Republic Square

The Republic Square renovation project has kicked off, to much fanfare, it’s an exciting improvement of a downtown public space! The block south of it was wisely bought by Travis County in 2010 for $21.75M in order to take to voters a proposal to build a courthouse on the site. The vote took place, voters did not support the proposal, so let’s consider encouraging County leaders to move on and sell the land. It’s valuable real estate, which has certainly appreciated, it would be great to have a compatible use deliver a high steady tax cash flow into the City and County coffers instead of it being a drain.


@Phil_Wiley raises an important topic. Is there something that neighborhood advocates should do to increase the probability that this extremely valuable piece of land will maximally benefit the citywide community?

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My gut reaction is to suggest doubling the size of the park! But then I remembered that the Imagine Austin plan calls for almost the opposite by spreading out the parks, so there is always a bit of green space just a short walk, jog, bike or skip away.

So, on second thought, single bedroom apartments. A lot of them. :homes:


The block in question is not in the Capital view corridor, so whatever it ends up being will help contribute to “compact” in a noticeable way.

It’s already next to park space, and a couple blocks from the hike and bike trail, so better to reserve open space where the development potential is lower.

What also prompted the thought was a suggestion that Travis County taxes may need to go up this year. As Brexit showed us, you don’t get a “do-over” on votes, so let’s move forward - we are talking about millions of dollars a year current use vs. potential, so easy ways like this to contribute to affordability pressures need to be pursued.

Yes, if we want to fulfill Imagine Austin’s mandate, we need to maximize households’ access to parks, not maximize park acreage. So creating as many homes and jobs in close proximity to the existing Republic Square Park would be important progress toward Imagine Austin goals.

Or, we could use it for a transit hub!

@skylar_buffington, maybe we should use the underutilized space under ground for the transit hub? I don’t see anyone using the space under Republic Square for anything else, what a great area to surface to!

@rcauvin, looks like one resolved without ever needing a resolution, sponsor, or vote - as the County has retained CBRE Group to market the property, per the Austin Business Journal

Hat’s off to the County leaders for a job well done!

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Yeah, a transit hub with rail would be excellent at this site. However, this site also has the potential to house hundreds of households and provide more retail and jobs as well. A great architect such as @sblack721 would know how to integrate the transit with a mixed-use project that realizes this site’s full potential.

Hat’s off to the County Leadership! They certainly did listen!

From our friends at the Austin Monitor:

Quote of the Day

“We listened to the community when they told us that this downtown block was an asset that should be available for private development. By establishing a smart, competitive procurement process, we are unlocking the potential of this block to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to Travis County and its taxpayers.”

– Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt

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