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  #161  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2017, 7:02 PM
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I've read this article a couple of times and am still not entirely sure I get the gist of it. If he's suggesting that, should an expansion go through, the city could feasibly then knock down the old ACC and redevelop the land for nonconvention center uses, then I think he's probably very mistaken. There might very well be a point where the city rebuilds the old ACC on its existing footprint (perhaps with an eye towards being able to support more floors), but I can't see the city reinstituting the street grid in that area, or offering blocks for redevelopment a la Greenwater.

The CC unfortunately needs a bigger footprint -- as he says in the article, contiguous columnless space is THE prime reason for a CC at all. So unless I'm misreading him, I'd say this idea is probably a nonstarter for anything other than a rebuild of the old space.

EDIT: apropos of nothing, we were told that the city council is going to discuss and possibly vote on Prop 101, which is the Mayor's Downtown Puzzle (and Convention Center Expansion) legislation at the next meeting. No one's entirely sure whether this is the final vote, but seems to be a watershed up/down moment.
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  #162  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2017, 7:48 PM
Novacek Novacek is offline
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Having a reconnected grid doesn't (necessarily) preclude contiguous space.

You could have a reconnected bike/pedestrian (transit?) only grid with contiguous space above it.


The current expansion proposal has talked about keeping trinity open, right?
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  #163  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2017, 8:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novacek View Post
Having a reconnected grid doesn't (necessarily) preclude contiguous space.

You could have a reconnected bike/pedestrian (transit?) only grid with contiguous space above it.


The current expansion proposal has talked about keeping trinity open, right?
Yes to keeping Trinity open -- I think that's a foregone conclusion to all conversations we've been having as an industry. I just don't see how you can do what I think he's proposing -- which is reconnecting all of those streets to the grid (one way or another) -- AND offer them for redevelopment to non convention center stuff like residential, office, etc. while still having a contiguous layer or two in there slated for convention uses.
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  #164  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2017, 4:08 AM
IluvATX IluvATX is offline
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Ok so they should reconnect the streets, build the convention center above that, and then put towers on top of that.
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  #165  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2017, 8:06 AM
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I don't see anything major happening to the current CC with the exception of renovations or retrofitting of some areas. Nothing substantial will happen, in my uninformed and unofficial opinion.
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  #166  
Old Posted Sep 29, 2017, 4:40 PM
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https://www.austinmonitor.com/storie...ments-aplenty/

The Downtown Puzzle moves forward, but not really by very much at all. The council has unanimously agreed to study the issue further, with a soft deadline of Dec 15 to bring all further study back to the table. No formal timeline for additional votes or approvals that I'm aware of.
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  #167  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2017, 7:02 PM
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The council found a way to further delay action on the convention center. They are going to commission a study by UT to research all of their questions which they could have done a year and a half ago. The council members that are against it don't make decisions about issues like this based on data. The commission is going to say it makes economic sense and they are going to make the same generic arguments against supporting it.

Quote:
Researchers at the University of Texas are going to ask the question that seems to be on every Austinite’s mind these days: “Can new, programmatic spatial configurations and economic models for urban convention centers be applied to downtown Austin in a meaningful and community-based manner?”

That’s the prime mystery a study commissioned by City Council last week to be conducted by UT’s Center for Sustainable Development will seek to solve.

Researchers will take a deeper dive into questions raised by the proposed expansion of the Austin Convention Center as recommended last May by the Visitor Impact Task Force. They will compare the convention center’s competitive standing relative to venues in peer cities, model potential economic effects, identify physical constraints of potential expansion configurations, and look at alternatives for reorienting or enlarging the existing building.

The $250,000 contract approved by Council would be good for one year upon its signing.

Attorney Bill Bunch, a vocal critic of the task force’s recommendation which would fund the expansion with a 2 percent hike of the Hotel Occupancy Tax encouraged the passage of the resolution authorizing staff to negotiate and sign the contract with UT.

“It’s really great that you’re doing this and stepping back from the rush into expanding the convention center without having real information that you need (in order) to look at that real carefully,” Bunch said at the meeting.

Before the vote, Mayor Steve Adler, who is boosting the expansion as a key piece to what he has dubbed the “downtown puzzle,” relayed concerns he said he has heard from the live music sector and advocates for the homeless, both of which would benefit from aspects of his plan.

“They had a concern that this study was an attempt to preclude or otherwise stop the convention center expansion discussion and consideration, and I want to know if that’s the intent of this resolution,” Adler asked the resolution’s sponsor, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo.

Tovo told him that the proposed study at hand would be a vehicle to satisfy a request built into a resolution passed in late September that requested from staff more information to help Council make a future decision about the proposed expansion.

“I think it’s probably of no secret to anyone who’s been following this conversation that the dais is quite divided about the discussion of whether to move forward on a convention center expansion,” Tovo told him. “So we needed some ability to help us discern what the best path is forward, and I think some additional information is helpful.”

Council approved the interlocal agreement with UT on a 10-0 vote, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair away from the dais for the vote.

City Staff gave an update on Adler's downtown puzzle.

Quote:
Work on Mayor Steve Adler’s “downtown puzzle” policies package will be almost certainly put on hold until the spring when newly hired city manager Spencer Cronk will be able to study and work on how to execute the proposal.

That was the word from Adler on Wednesday, following a Friday memo from Assistant City Manager Mark Washington that gave an update on the six biggest components of the puzzle agenda.

In September, City Council gave Dec. 15 as the deadline for a report on how to carry out the proposal, which centers around the possible expansion of the Austin Convention Center and using funds from an assortment of related taxing mechanisms to address homelessness and pay for a series of public works and cultural projects.

Washington’s memo states, “This is an update and not a final report,” before breaking down the status of the convention center project, possible acquisition of the nearby Palm School property, potential use of Hotel Occupancy Tax or government bonds to pay for improvements throughout East Austin, the options for providing services and housing for homeless residents, the funding options for expansion of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, and the string of parks proposed for the Waller Creek area.

On Dec. 14, Council approved an agreement with the University of Texas’ Center for Sustainable Development to study the business and development scenarios for the convention center’s expansion. The memo said staff research found that an expansion, rather than a renovation, is the action required to initiate a 2 percentage-point increase in the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax that would fund the proposed $600 million in work.

The memo said the Palm School property’s historic value makes it likely that Travis County would prefer a competitive request-for-proposal process for its redevelopment to ensure as much preservation as possible, or go through with a deed-restricted sale.

On the effort to improve sites in East Austin, staff found that the proposed redevelopment of the Travis County Exposition Center likely would not qualify for the use of HOT funds because it doesn’t meet at least three of the criteria in the state law governing the use of hotel taxes.

That means other funding sources, such as a public bond vote, are options the city supports in its ongoing discussions with county officials about that project.


The homelessness component of the puzzle was updated in a Nov. 28 memo from Interim Assistant City Manager Sarah Hensley, and a proposed 1 percent self-imposed tax on hotels – known as a tourism public improvement district – would provide some money for homeless relief as well as toward the convention center.

Staff found that the second phase of a proposed expansion of the MACC would likely qualify for HOT funds, with the first phase eligible for municipal general obligation bonds. Stakeholders of that facility are currently working on a new master plan, which will help determine the scope and cost of its expansion.

Interim Chief Financial Officer Greg Canally is studying the impacts of a possible expansion of the tax increment financing mechanism currently being used for the Waller Creek Tunnel project to pay for the system of parks proposed for construction along the waterway.

Adler said he was pleased with the information and progress staff has made on the puzzle proposal, and said individual actions like the UT study of the convention center will help sustain momentum.

“It’s forward movement, and while there are a whole lot of questions with respect to the puzzle, we need to start moving where we can and I’m glad Council approved having the folks at UT looking at the design for the convention center,” he said. “I expect the Waller Creek portion could be in a position to move forward the soonest, though we’re still answering questions on funding streams.”

The staff memo said a complete report will go to Council in February, but Adler said it will be longer than that before Cronk is able to get a handle on the puzzle’s many policy components. He added that some puzzle items will be included in budget forecasts that are being prepared for Council work sessions in April.

Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said the puzzle will be one of the bigger agenda items for Cronk once he starts the job, though his start date is not yet known.

“The new manager has got to have a substantial role because (the puzzle) crosses so many departments and parts of the city,” he said. “I remember that was one thing we discussed with him, was the need to cross cut through different silos and make sure the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.”

Flannigan said he’s had some of his concerns about the puzzle addressed – specifically taking tax-generating property near the convention center off the city tax rolls – but he remains opposed to the idea of expanding the Waller TIF.

“I have lots of hesitation on using the TIF as a funding tool because those are taxes that are needed to pay the cost of police and fire (departments),” he said. “It’s not a just a matter of ‘Will the park be pretty?’ because lately we’ve had lots of items come in front of Council, like the fire department or the aquatics task force, where they just don’t have the numbers behind it.”
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  #168  
Old Posted Dec 22, 2017, 7:50 PM
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*grinds teeth*
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  #169  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 9:26 PM
freerover freerover is online now
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The UT report on the physical and economic effects of the various convention center expansion scenarios that the council ordered is due to be released this fall. You can submit your own comments to the researchers here:
https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/for...ofdwiSmrcv8XUV


Hopefully Adler is re-elected and can see his Downtown Puzzle Plan through. It's a complete win for everyone involved and would fix a lot of the complaints people currently have about downtown and dirty six.
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  #170  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 9:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freerover View Post
The UT report on the physical and economic effects of the various convention center expansion scenarios that the council ordered is due to be released this fall. You can submit your own comments to the researchers here:
https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/for...ofdwiSmrcv8XUV


Hopefully Adler is re-elected and can see his Downtown Puzzle Plan through. It's a complete win for everyone involved and would fix a lot of the complaints people currently have about downtown and dirty six.
Agreed, it's really the proverbial final piece of the puzzle hence the name and will go a long way in completing DT in the sense of infrastructure and public spaces. The constant delay is just another example of why a 10-1 council system doesn't work for Austin. I just finished posted my comments.
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Last edited by Jdawgboy; Mar 8, 2018 at 10:11 PM.
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  #171  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 10:14 PM
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Sorry folks. Not going to happen. The FAA has cut any chance due to height & placement of the new structure.




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  #172  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 10:15 PM
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Sorry folks. Not going to happen. The FAA has cut any chance due to height & placement of the new structure.




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Lol.. An open air convention center expansion...
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  #173  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freerover View Post
The UT report on the physical and economic effects of the various convention center expansion scenarios that the council ordered is due to be released this fall. You can submit your own comments to the researchers here:
https://utexas.qualtrics.com/jfe/for...ofdwiSmrcv8XUV


Hopefully Adler is re-elected and can see his Downtown Puzzle Plan through. It's a complete win for everyone involved and would fix a lot of the complaints people currently have about downtown and dirty six.
Thanks for finding that.
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