Council engaged on guidelines for city-owned property

Thursday, December 1, 2022 by Jo Clifton

Metropolis Council Member Kathie Tovo has been engaged on resolutions supposed to make sure that metropolis workers comply with sure insurance policies when renting or promoting metropolis property. The insurance policies relate to the necessities for development initiatives, dwelling wage, minority and women-owned enterprise necessities, inexpensive housing and little one care amenities.

After workers posed quite a few questions and expressed concern about methods to take care of these directives whereas conducting actual property transactions below the purview of Metropolis Supervisor Spencer Cronk, the decision was postponed from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 to as we speak. Mayor Steve Adler has authored a movement asking the town supervisor to develop insurance policies and proposals to perform various targets whereas working with the workers of the Austin Financial Improvement Company.

In contrast to Tovo’s decision, Adler’s movement doesn’t begin with inexpensive housing, though the concept is listed amongst objects the supervisor is inspired to contemplate. On the high of Adler’s movement sheet is an announcement saying the town favors leasing versus promoting its property and favors possession over leases for metropolis functions. With out particularly stating when Council and the general public ought to hear about gross sales, purchases and redevelopments, Adler’s movement directs Cronk to supply an annual report and a course of for figuring out alternatives for reuse and redevelopment of city-owned properties.

Cronk and his workers are additionally requested to create a citywide parking administration technique and supply suggestions for methods to deal with actual property deposits, earnest cash and escrow funds.

Lastly, the decision asks the supervisor to assessment prior redevelopment, acquisition, sale and lease of city-owned properties “to attend on alternatives for course of enchancment that may have maximized neighborhood advantages and environment friendly supply.”

At Tuesday’s work session, Deputy Chief Monetary Officer Kimberly Olivares and Constructing Companies Officer Darrell Alexander briefed Council on 4 city-owned buildings with differing traits and prospects for future use: One Texas Heart, the previous Metropolis Corridor on Eighth Avenue, 3002 Guadalupe St., and 411 Chicon, the present house of Constructing Companies.

Earlier than the pandemic, One Texas Heart housed 1,000 metropolis staff over six departments. Alexander mentioned the choices into account embody teardown and rebuilding or renovation. He mentioned workers members suggest persevering with dialogue for a extra collaborative mixed-use method for inexpensive housing, with municipal companies in addition to little one care and different priorities.

The previous Metropolis Corridor, a historic construction, will want renovations no matter its future makes use of. “Our advice is to pursue alternatives to make the constructing obtainable for cultural house,” Alexander mentioned, noting that the town must discover one other house for the Monetary Companies Division.

The property on Guadalupe presently homes the Hearth Division’s arson division and was a historic construction. Alexander mentioned workers would suggest for cultural functions, however the metropolis must discover one other house for the Hearth Division workers. Workers understanding of the property on Chicon would likewise must be relocated if the town determined it needed to do one thing else with the house. He famous, “That is prime actual property and I feel we might be remiss if we didn’t go into some element to see how a lot we will get out of this.”

Olivares advised Council, “It’s actually difficult to have a look at every of those properties in isolation. We should be contemplating them in a extra complete method. This may additionally enable us to be extra complete in how we assess and analyze the funding choices.” She identified that the funding panorama has modified, turning into extra restrictive in the previous couple of years with modifications in state regulation. Some makes use of are allowed for bond-funded properties whereas others usually are not.

Lastly, Olivares advised Council members that they haven’t allotted funding to permit for the form of intensive scrutiny which may be wanted with a view to repurpose some metropolis buildings. Nonetheless, she mentioned workers members are in a a lot better place now than they had been a 12 months in the past to review the many questions on city-owned property.

Picture by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons.

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