AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Mayor Kirk Watson and Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham announced Tuesday new plans to bring workforce housing to downtown Austin.
Buckingham said Tuesday the General Land Office’s “historic” project is designed to give teachers, nurses, police, firefighters, state workers and other working-class residents the opportunity to live in the communities they serve. The mixed-use redevelopment project aims to revitalize the William P. Hobby Jr. State Office Building, located at 333 Guadalupe St. in Austin.
Alongside workforce housing, the project will incorporate other amenities, such as child care, parking and retail space, both Buckingham and Watson said.
“[It’s] way bigger than just a downtown high rise,” Watson said.
The redevelopment site will also be located along the future Project Connect light rail. Watson added that will offer increased connectivity and mobility to working-class residents and state employees working at the Texas State Capitol or throughout the city.
He said the redevelopment plans support Project Connect’s own program goals of expanding available workforce housing resources citywide, with housing located near future rail lines a strong appeal.
“Imagine how different this project could be if we’re solving our problems for the people that live and work in this city,” he said, adding additional funding opportunities for Project Connect could be possible with the add-in of these housing resources near the project corridor.
Both Watson and Buckingham said the project is eyeing the right developer with the right vision for the project, with Buckingham stressing leaders will put it out for solicitation again if ample responses aren’t received the first time around.
Beginning Tuesday, prospects will have 90 days to submit responses related to the project, per a release. From there, the General Land Office’s staff will both review and recommend the best proposal.
Ultimately, the School Land Board will approve the best proposal for the project to proceed forward.