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WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN REDEVELOPMENT?

In mid 2019, plans were announced that Endeavor Real Estate and the former owner of the Austin American-Statesman, the Atlanta-based Cox family, are going to develop a 3.5 million square foot master plan of offices, apartments, condos, restaurants, shops, and a 12.5-acre waterfront park on the current site where the newspaper has operated since 1981. For perspective, that will be six times the square footage of the Frost Bank Tower. The Cox family are the current owners of the site.

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The site will be part of the 118-acre, 32 property South Central Waterfront district redevelopment initiative. However, the first round of comments in November 2019 reported problems with the 540 foot height proposed when the vision plan for the parcel was 400 foot. It also proposed 90% of parking underground versus 25% that is more typical of this kind of development.

Image: Endeavor Real Estate Group / SOM / CMG

Rendering of the Master Plan for the Austin American-Statesmen site

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More recently, in July 2020, the newspaper signed a 34,600 SF lease at the Met Center business park that reportedly starts July 1, 2021. CoStar reports this is one of the three largest leases to be signed during the coronavirus pandemic at the time. That the newspaper is ready to move shortly is positive news for the development. Meanwhile, the current site development is stuck working its way through various city approvals.

Image: CMG Landscape Architecture

GOING DEEPER WITH FUSEGIS

If you are a broker or an appraiser data nerd like us, than you want to dive further to understand more context about this property including its features and case status. For quickly getting to that information for this and other sites, we like using the analysis available with FuseGIS, which provides good data and tools at your fingertips:

The Site Plan Review Case Layer:

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The redevelopment plans are in Permit No. 2019-1567914 ZC that can be looked up here. The status of the case is currently “Awaiting Update”. The last items were updated in November 2020 with numerous review items rejected. The Planning Commission hearing was postponed indefinitely on October 19, 2020 due to the applicant pending their Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) to be reviewed. Also, the Site Plan information from when the Statesman expanded the building in 2007 is still available in the FuseGIS pop-up. By going to the Austin permit search website, you can find Applicant's and Developer's names and numbers using the information provided here. This can provide leads to brokers to do developments on this site.

The Contour Layer:

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The property has roughly 36 feet of slopes with the highest point being S. Congress and the lowest being the Northwest corner where the trail and bridge meet. If anyone has ran up to Congress, you know what slope we are talking about. Developers may have analyzed this to determine in part challenges to redevelop the site.

The Floodplain Layers:

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A good portion of the property is within the City of Austin 25-Year Fully Developed Floodplain and FEMA 100-year Floodplain, which cannot be built on without a variance from City Council. Luckily, the 12.5 acres proposed for a waterfront park address this development constraint. Also of interest is that properties outside of the FEMA 100-year floodplain are not required to have flood insurance.

The Construction Permit Layer:

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You can find construction permits dating back to the early years of the Statesman when they got a variance request to include a three story addition that had windows within five feet of the property line, which was against the Uniform Building Code at the time.

The Tax Parcel Layer:

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Tax record link tells us that the tract is 18.858 acres. Most articles round it to 19. The parcel information also tells us the property last sold in December 2015. It is assessed for $74,484,506 in 2020, with only $2,000 allocated to the improvements suggesting the assessor is placing nearly all the value in the land. The land is assessed at $90.67/SF. The total taxes owed was $1,658,520.

The Address Point Layer:

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The property has six addresses per FuseGIS but is commonly only referred to by one, 305 S. Congress

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FuseGIS can help brokers, appraisers, or developers more quickly access a range of information for learning about parcels and properties to make decisions faster.

To see the export report of these and other layers and data for this property, click here. To get data like this for other sites you are interested in within the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos or Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSAs,
visit their website for additional information, to request a demo, or to sign-up for 30 days risk free.