By Shonda Nova
Apr 16, 2013
It’s been several years coming, but redevelopment work is set to begin on Austin’s former Seaholm Power Plant, with plans calling for a $100 million mixed-use project that will reinvigorate the area and add millions to the city’s tax base over coming decades.
The project on downtown’s western edge will include a 30-story tower with 309 apartments, a two-story building with a Trader Joe’s store, plus other retail, office and restaurant space.
This week, the city of Austin and the development team it chose for the project eight years ago are expected to sign the document that outlines terms of the public-private venture — a move that will trigger the official launch of construction.
... John Rosato, a principal with Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group, the lead developer on the project, said the imminent groundbreaking is a momentous occasion.
“I do think that what was done here was historic, in terms of working with the city and working through the economic downturn to keep the vision alive, and we’re ready to move forward now,” Rosato said. “The significance of it is keeping the vision alive through all the twists and turns.”
... Rosato said that when construction commences, the general contractor will begin work on the power plant renovation and a parking garage. After that, the apartment tower will begin rising, and construction will start on the 66,000-square foot low-rise building that will have office space and a Trader Joe’s store slated to open in early 2015.
The first apartments should be ready for tenants by early 2015, Rosato said. The tower will include 8,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Evins said Seaholm is part of a larger area on the west end of downtown that over the past decade represents $2 billion in both new and planned development, with the future development to include a new central library and the redevelopment of the former Green Water Treatment Plant site east of Seaholm.
A tax increment financing district created for the Seaholm area, which includes the Seaholm site and a new apartment tower Gables Residential is building to the west, will generate $53.3 million in additional property and sales taxes for the city over 30 years, Evins said. The Green Water site redevelopment is expected to add $44.9 million in sales and property taxes over 30 years, he said.
“We’re quite excited about all the pieces that are coming together,” Evins said. “This is our first major milestone, in the context of everything else about to kick off, and we’re very excited about moving our vision forward.”