Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) has developed a proposal that would bring together public and private interests in a grand plan to consolidate State offices and bring them closer to the Capitol. The concept would not happen overnight, of course. It is suspected to take decades, though it currently has no timeline.
State offices are currently leasing space throughout Travis County. The plan aims to collect them inside the 122 State-owned acres. Much of this land has been identified as underused, yielding mostly parking lots and garages.
When it comes to State-owned property, it might be slightly abstract to comprehend an invitation held out for private entities to join hands. Most folks would arch an eyebrow over such a notion. We thought we would bring the argument to your attention and let you decide on your own.
Ideally, this concept would mix private development with new State office buildings. They would be financed, in part, with savings generated by moving State employees out of leased office space throughout Austin. Private entities would be allowed to build on long-term leases from the State.
Seems like a win-win, right? That is the question.
There are plenty of skeptics about what such a drastic change would have on the downtown area. Some say that a public/private partnership would enliven Austin’s Central Business District and Capitol Complex, while some say that it might be more cumbersome for other existing issues.
Capitol Complex Planners are envisioning the complex as “parking neutral,” — something that would replace lost spaces with underground parking — but they seem to lean on promises that the area would be served by both light and urban rail systems. For local broker Joyce Jane Weedman, concerns arise from well-known, and hardly dismissible, traffic issues. “We can’t build enough roads and rail to handle that,” she said.
Austin’s traffic troubles are not something any resident takes lightly, but is a something that takes time to get right. Supporters of the concept request vision among residents.
TFC’s Executive Director Terry Keel – and leader behind this approach – admits that that the concept would not reduce the State’s fiscal woes immediately. “We have to think outside the box,” Keel said. He calls this the time to plan for the future of Austin – a way of reducing cost and increasing revenue.
Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole said “I’m ecstatic that the City of Austin and the State of Texas could join forces for a new vision of downtown that maximizes the taxpayers’ investment.”
As with any major restructure, skeptics are met with believers and believers with skeptics. The TFC Capitol Complex is a vision today, but it has potential to become a part of the Downtown Austin Plan tomorrow. Is this public/private partnership a step in the right direction?
- New vision for Capitol complex: More room for state workers, private development on state land
- Capitol complex plan gets nod
- A Capitol Idea? The Capitol Complex Meets the Downtown Austin Plan.
- State re-envisions capacity, design of Capitol complex