Last month, DAB took an in-depth look at the first phase of the Medical District plan, which looks at opening a UT medical school in the fall of 2016, while the planned opening of the Seton/Central Health hospital in January 2017.
But that is just the first phase.
Unlike the first phase, the second phase of development would not be developed by UT Austin, but instead by the Seton network and/or Central Health. The second phase, which happens south of 15th Street, would kick off only after Brackenridge can be repurposed or destroyed, which means sometime after 2017 (if all goes to plan).
The third and final build out would shift the development responsibility back to UT Austin and can occur as needed after the Erwin Center is relocated sometime in the amorphous future, within the next 10 to 15 years. When the Erwin Center is relocated, it is likely that the Cooley Pavilion – an athletics and basketball center – will be renovated or relocated to make room for future buildings.
For the purposes of discussing the medical district’s transformative impacts to downtown, clearly the Erwin Center relocation would be colossal, but plans and relocation options seem to be at such an infant stage, I’m going to cast that aside and look at the second phase.
Here is what we are looking at after 2017 south of 15th Street and bounded by Red River and I-35:
- 240,000-square-foot psychiatric hospital
- 150,000-square-foot cancer center and medical office building.
- 500-space parking structure to serve the office building.
- 51,000-square-foot expansion of the Travis County Medical examiner’s office.
At a recent Planning Commission presentation, officials indicated that these plans are more of a rough outline, rather than a blueprint, and that conversation are still ongoing in terms of how and what Brackenridge and the adjacent land will become in the future.
Despite that, they want to be poised to begin on whatever they finalize as soon as the new hospital is completed, and have the second phase of construction completed within 12 month, which would place it at 2018.
Right now there are no reasons being discussed, at least publicly, about why the second phase shouldn’t follow lockstep after the first. UT is already lining up its ducks to get the Red River reconstruction and utility relocation started this fall, which will open the door to begin work on the new hospital.
We’ve established over the past two posts that the Medical District plan is ambitious and moving ahead. It is impressive by itself. But in my next look, I want to tie it together with other physically adjacent plans are underway. Cumulatively, we continue to see this as the biggest transformation opportunity for downtown Austin.