Travis County reaches agreement for use of coveted lot in Downtown Austin

AUSTIN - Travis County has announced an agreement to develop the county-owned property at 308 Guadalupe Street via a ground lease.

According to a press release from the county, the agreement will yield nearly $430 million in lease payments for the county over the next 99 years. It said these funds will help defray the cost of a new civil and family courts complex for the county, a plan originally envisioned for 308 Guadalupe before a courts bond plan was disapproved by voters in 2015.

“We listened to the community when they told us that this Downtown block was an asset that should be available for private development,” said Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt in the release. “By establishing a smart, competitive procurement process, we are unlocking the potential of this block to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to Travis County and its taxpayers that we can use to meet our ongoing urgent needs for new civil and family courts capacity.”

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Travis County said it will receive an initial $13.4 million payment at closing on July 12 and will retain ownership of this downtown block once the lease expires. The release states that when the property was purchased in 2010 from the former Austin Museum of Art (now the Contemporary), the county paid $21.8 million.

As part of the agreement, the county said Lincoln Property Company and Phoenix Property Company propose to construct a vertical, mixed-used development on the lot, which is considered one of the most valuable blocks in Downtown Austin.

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