KVUE Exclusive: An inside look at the Seaholm Intake Facility


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DEREK RASOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE


Posted on April 21, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:57 AM

AUSTIN -- It just may be the most prime piece of real estate in the City of Austin; the Seaholm Intake Facility.

Built on Lady Bird Lake in 1950 and expanded in 1955, the facility was used to tunnel water to the Seaholm Power Plant across the street to generate electricity until the plant closed in 1989.

It sat for a while, empty until the city decided what to do with the power plant and this building," said City of Austin Parks Department Project Manager Lyn Estabrook.

The power plant is being converted into an office space with apartments and shops. The intake facility, including the land from the railroad tracks all the way to Shoal Creek, was given to the parks department to be used by the people of Austin.

"And we really want to hear the residents ideas about what they see, not only the facility, but how the surrounding site can be used," Estabrook.

So starting this week, the city will hold open houses so you can see the space and give your input.

Each of the building's two stories is 5,000 square feet with 22-foot high ceilings and amazing views of the lake. The building itself is historic and has to be left intact. But the smaller building in front can be torn down or used. The possibilities are endless.

"You could even add a loft space in here, you can add a boardwalk, a deck on the outside, you can redesign the trail, separate it from pedestrians and bicycles," Estabrook added. 

The facility is the only property in the City of Austin that actually sits on the lake and because of current city code, no other buildings can be built on the water. So the chance to decide what will go here is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"I'm thinking it could be like a refreshment center and restaurant," said Austin resident Bill Vandersteel.

"It makes me think of some places in San Francisco," noted Austinite Delphine Cherewick. "They  restored the building and made it a place where people could come and eat but also see the art work there, so maybe they could do something along those lines."

"Something that involves the community like for example, like an area for music," suggests Michael Gully-Santiago.

All the ideas will be complied into a list and given to the teams working on designs. Suggestions to give new life to a piece of Austin history.

For more information on the design competition, click here

For a list of the Seaholm Intake Facility Open Houses, click here

To submit your ideas for the Seaholm Intake Facility, click here

Austin Local News Video
More Video