Plans on track for former Brackenridge campus DEVELOPMENT Former hospital site in downtownAustin clears hurdles on path to redevelopment
2 0 2 1 H E A L T H C A R E E D I T I O N
BY BEN THOMPSON
amendment process to facilitate the creation of a new commercial center on the site. However, that process was halted last year in favor of the PUD rezoning that council granted nal approval for this spring. Around 1.2 acres of the site have already been dedicated for use by The University of Texas Dell Medical School. A 17-story oce tower was announced in August 2019 as an initial anchor to the Central Health site, and construction of that building is well underway. The tower project was launched after the nonprot 2033 Higher Education Development Foundation signed a 99-year ground lease for a portion of the Central Health site, an agreement the health care district said has already provided more than $1.5 million to Central Health in line with the district’s revenue-generation objective. As of June, no tenants have been locked in to occupy the PUD’s future mixed-use district. However, the vision for the site outlined by Central Health and community participants calls for a walkable mixed-use space that could incorporate retail, restaurant, oces and housing. Burton also said health care companies may be targeted as occupants to align with Central Health’s mission as well as the medical slant of the Innovation District. While the remainder of the site’s uses have yet to be conrmed, Central Health is working to prepare the property for new development. Demolition of the old Brackenridge hospital is nearly complete, and Burton said the removal of existing structures that will not support new tenants in the future is continuing to provide a “clean slate” for developers. “We don’t know exactly what will end up there; things have changed even over the course of the last few years,” he said. “Nothing is o the table; it’s just too early to tell.”
The former home of the Brackenridge hospital campus is moving closer to its redevelopment as a central component of a downtown business district that will have health care as one of its main focuses. The 14.34-acre property owned by the Travis County Healthcare District, or Central Health, is situated north of 12th Street and bounded by the I-35 frontage road and Red River and 15th streets. Central Health’s proposed planned unit development, or PUD, rezoning of the site cleared several hurdles at the city level this spring prior to council’s nal approval June 10. The redevelopment of the former hospital property into a mixed-use commercial center has been eyed by Central Health, City Council and community stakeholders for years both as an enhancement to the downtown landscape and as a revenue driver for Central Health’s work serving low-income county residents. The Central Health site, along with adjacent Waterloo Park and the university and medical district north of 15th Street, make up what ocials call downtown’s Innovation District. “It’s been really important to Central Health to continue to listen to the community and absorb their vision for what they want at this location. It is such a critical location in Austin’s growing health care arena, just the location to the hospital, the location to the medical school and the fact that it is really this cornerstone for the innovation district,” said Ted Burton, vice president of communications at Central Health. Broad plans for the Brackenridge campus and downtown Innovation District have been on the table for years, and the site’s path to redevelopment accelerated in 2019 when council directed the start of a code
The former home of the Brackenridge hospital campus is being demolished, with a mixed-use commercial development focused on
health care businesses coming to take its place. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
REDRIVER One additional piece of the site’s development plan is the realignment of Red River Street between 12th and 15th streets. The road currently includes a dog-leg at its junction with 15th and runs adjacent to Waterloo Park; Central Health is now planning to connect Red River through the redeveloped site to directly align with its northern and southern extents along a new pedestrian-oriented corridor. “WHERE THEROADPARALLELS THEPARK ALONGTHE CREEK, THE CITYWOULD GET SOMEOF THATPROPERTYBACK.”
JERRY RUSTHOVEN, CHIEF ZONING OFFICER, AUSTIN HOUSING AND PLANNING DEPARTMENT
WATERLOO NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
SOURCE: CITY OF AUSTINCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
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