[Jump directly to the survey]
Construction is expected to wrap this winter for the Seaholm condos, with buyers who scored two years ago moving in shortly thereafter. Some of you will remember way back in 2010 when former Austin City Council Member Chris Riley first publicly broached redeveloping the “other Seaholm” — the derelict intake facility on Lady Bird Lake connected to the former Seaholm Power Plant.
Then, in 2013, there was a Seaholm Intake design competition. Today, I’m really excited that the Parks and Recreation Department has announced two final, refined redevelopment proposals, and opened up a survey to hear from the public.
The top team will be awarded a Master Development agreement for a public-private partnership. So, I really encourage Parks to publish the survey data. Curiously, neither of the two final designs hark back to the former “top designs” released in 2013. But that is not to say that the two new final proposals are not merely more refined versions of the 2013 pitches, after structural and civil engineers got in the game.
Proposal 1: Intake at Lady Bird Lake
The first proposal seems very ambitious, striking and breathtaking. It would in reality redevelop the building into an entirely new structure. The metallic spiral corkscrewing through the facility, along with canopy roof, would create an iconic landmark that future generations would associate with Austin.
It would probably cost a pretty penny, but if the city could partially monopolize this space for special events, then I could forsee this being an attractive option.
I’m weighing it a “C” for pragmatic likelihood of getting off the ground.
Proposal 2: A Place For The City
Compared to the other proposal, this feels like a very bland, unexciting project on the surface. But in terms of time to implement and overall cost, it seems very pragmatic. The exterior gets a face life and the interior basically becomes and exhibit hall and event venue, which is also monetizable.
I’m weighing it an “A” for pragmatic likelihood of getting off the ground.