Lady Bird Lake
KVUE — The city is revealing its plan for the 97 acres along the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, including more roads, running trails, trees, buildings, recreational spaces and a rail stop. The area is currently a hodgepodge of businesses with a lack of connecting streets, open space and access to the lake.
"The current system is [that] we make kind of one-off deals with development parcels but in the end, they don't add up," said Alan Holt, principal planner for the city's South Central Waterfront Initiative (SCW).
Holt is charged with changing that. For the past few years, the city has worked on a plan for the 97 acres stretching from Hooters to Joe's Crab Shack. It created an interim draft vision that revamps the area, but the plan has met some conflict.
The city's vision suggests the Austin American-Statesman property, 19.3 acres owned by parent company Cox Media Group, will be redeveloped. On one of the renderings, the current building is gone.
"It makes sense that eventually something else is likely to take place at that property. And so we don't know when that's going to be exactly, but we do know that change is coming," said Holt.
Statesman publisher Susie Ellwood said there are no plans for the property and released a statement that simply states, "The Austin American-Statesman building and property is not for sale."
Regardless, city leaders say the area needs a plan. Without one, city staff said $1.2 billion will be spent redeveloping the area in the next five to 10 years, and the result will be more clustered buildings. With a plan, the investment dollars increase to at least $1.8 billion and tax revenue from that can be designated for affordable housing or parks.
The city is expanding its plans and kicking off the next step of the planning process by hosting a discussion with internationally renowned waterfront designer and Harvard professor Alex Krieger.
Read the full story and view the video on KVUE.com.