AUSTIN -- Jim Huddleston with Crawford, Huddleston and Co., an Austin-based mediation company, will present a proposal to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) this week to redevelop and sell the Hancock Golf Course.
A letter from Huddleston to PARD director Sara Hensley recommends that city officials hire the firm to redevelop the golf course into a "revitalized mixed use enclave" of roughly 55 residential sites and three acres of commercial reserve "that encompasses the existing historic structure."
The letter calls Hancock Golf Course "functionally obsolete" and outlines a 10-phase development plan estimated to cost between $6 and 8 million. It also estimates that the sale price for the residential lots and the value of the commercial reserve will generate $19.5 million in gross revenue to the City of Austin.
Huddleston's proposed plan will take between 24 and 36 months to complete.
The Hancock Neighborhood Association (HNA) released a statement opposing the proposal, encouraging members of the association to "help send the message that neighborhoods do not want their community park lands up for sale" during Huddleston's proposal presentation at City Hall on Tuesday, August 27.
The HNA statement also said that the organization's Parks and Green Spaces Committee is preparing a statement and draft resolution to be presented to the city council at their September 18 meeting.
The redevelopment of Hancock Golf Course has been a hotly debated issue for years in Austin. In 2011, PARD said that the golf course did not generate enough revenue to cover costs, but neighbors of the course objected to any proposals to sell or redevelop the area. In 2012, PARD partnered with residents of the neighborhood to develop a plan to improve the course.
If the proposal is approved, Hancock will be the second centrally located golf course to face redevelopment. The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted in 2011 to let the lease on Lions Municipal Golf Course, a city-operated course on university-owned land, expire in 2019 in order to allow development on the land to generate additional income.
The Hancock Golf Course, a public golf course located on East 41st Street, was founded in 1899 by former Austin mayor Lewis Hancock, Jr. It is one of the oldest golf courses in Texas.