AUSTIN (KXAN) — The transformation of Austin’s Seaholm Power Plant hit a new milestone this week. Renovations at the plant have been underway for several years, and on Monday, athenahealth moved in to the facility.
One of the first things you notice about the building is how large the space feels. Looking up towards the ceiling reveals a piece of Austin history. The original gantry crane is still in place. It has a 75-ton capacity and is still operational.
The Austin City Council gave athenahealth an incentives package worth more than $500,000 to expand its operations to the former power plant building.
The work that is been done to retrofit the building for athenahealth’s new office space is part of a larger development for this part of downtown Austin. The area will include shops, condos, restaurants and Austin’s new downtown library.
“I think the designers have done a great job at making it a creative space,” said head architect Jack Nye. “Kind of an open space with a lot of color and energy. I think it’s going to be great.”
Athenahealth will start out with about 70 employees, but grow to workforce of 600. When those employees just need a Zen moment, they are encouraged to come into the on-site wellness center where workers can rest, until they are back to 100 percent.
Living at Seaholm
A lot of people want to live near the old power plant and developers are trying to meet the demand.
Construction is underway on the Seaholm Residences, but condominiums in this high-rise are almost sold out. Developers say just three units remain unsold.
“The city’s plan, financially, and their investment in this whole area makes a great deal of sense for the city as a whole because downtown generates more tax than it uses,” said John Rosato, managing partner for Seaholm Redevelopment.
Condos at the Seaholm Residences start at $300,000 for a 600 square-foot unit. A 2,200 square foot condo sells for more than $1 million, and they are sold out.
Developers are also building apartments at the corner of Cesar Chavez and San Antonio streets.
That land used to be home to Austin’s Thomas Green Water Treatment Plant which shut down in 2008. Plans call for a high-rise building on the site with space for offices and a hotel.
A new library
The area around Seaholm is also seeing major changes. One big project is the new Central Library just east of the old plant along Cesar Chavez.
City leaders broke ground last year on the project and the six-story building is already taking shape. It is supposed to have its grand opening in November 2016.
Voters approved $120 million in 2006 to replace the current downtown library.