Redevelopment is nothing new in Austin. But some of the city's most valuable land is about to see a major overhaul. Our City Reporter Jeff Stensland explains why designing a master plan for the south side of Lady Bird Lake is important to city planners.
Just south of Austin's biggest bat colony is 100 acres of land the city says is underdeveloped.
"The amount of redevelopment that is on its way -- whether we like it or not, whether we do anything special or not. It equals about $1.2 to $1.8 billion of private reinvestment," said Alan Holt with the Austin Planning Department.
Holt says that includes the Austin-American Statesman building, Texas Department of Transportation and about 30 other privately owned properties.
Most of what's there now will be gone in 10 to 15 years, said Holt.
That's where the work of some local artists comes in.
"This really brings in the community and the private property owners to have a conversation about how you can get benefit for everybody," said Abby Hall with the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA awarded Austin a grant to come up with a master plan for the South Central Waterfront District.
Urban planners envision an overhauled South Congress and a new trail along Bouldin Creek.
Holt says the lack of a master plan would mean a lack of connectivity.
"Then there is no way for all of those bits and pieces to add up to create connections to the waterfront, connections across the district," said Holt.
Hall says more park space and trees will bring value to developments.
So, instead of a parking lot, Austinites get a park.
"There is going to be a lot of streets, potential parks along the waterfront. We want to make sure those are as green as possible," said Hall.
It's an effort to clean the air, water and appearance of an area of Austin ripe for change.
The green space designs will fold into a much larger master plan for the district.
That's expected to go before the Austin City Council next spring.