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Prime downtown property poised for development

County seeks proposal for block at Third and Guadalupe

Travis County is moving ahead with plans to develop a block of prime downtown property where its new courthouse was supposed to be. On behalf of the county, international development firm CBRE Group and the Travis County purchasing agent announced Monday that it is soliciting development proposals for the site at 308 Guadalupe.

Development on the 77,215-square-foot site would fill in a long-vacant downtown lot, currently surrounded by the downtown AMLI building, Ballet Austin, and and Republic Square.

The county purchased the lot from the Austin Museum of Art (which later merged with the Jones Center for contemporary art and became the Contemporary Austin) for $21.7 million in 2010, according to an Austin Chronicle article published that December. The county planned to build a new courthouse on the lot, which—fun fact!—first designated as its home in 1839, when Austin was called Waterloo and Judge Edwin Waller laid out its grid.

Plans to build what was then expected to be a 538,000-square-foot civil courthouse were on hold until fall of last year, when voters rejected a $287 million bond proposal for that purpose.

The county hopes to maximize the value of the property, which could be a fairly large project that meets the requirements of the City of Austin’s density bonus program, CRBE’s announcement noted. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said that the county hopes to reinvest revenue from the project into a future civil and family courts complex.

County buys AMOA block for a new 'hundred-year' courthouse [The Austin Chronicle]