Travis County will purchase a tract of downtown Austin land owned by the Austin Museum of Art for $21.75MM, according to InFactDaily. Located directly south of Republic Square Park, it is certainly a choice piece of dirt. Currently a surface level parking lot, this land has everything going for it, most importantly it is not subject to a Capitol View Corridor.
I’m not thrilled by this purchase, based on the blighted construction Travis County has given Austin in the past. My expectations for the type of building Travis County ultimately constructs has a high probability of being aesthetically mediocre, and it’s unlikely to offer a mix of pedestrian friendly uses at ground level. I’m just being skeptical. Back in 2008, AMOA had much different plans.
This block is one of the most desirable undeveloped lots in downtown Austin. Of course, not all downtown blocks are created the same. Many are located in Capitol View Corridors, which limit height. Some are located in a Convention Center Overlay, which forbids new surface level parking lots. Get too close to the Capitol and you must contend with Capitol Dominance District, which also limits height. This block has none of those encumbrances.
Back in June of 2009 the Episcopal Church purchased a full downtown Austin block at E 7th & Trinity for $9.5MM.