AUSTIN - In the first formal step toward redeveloping its prime Austin waterfront site, the family that owns the Austin American-Statesman land announced that it wants to hear ideas from qualified developers who would be interested in transforming the 18.9-acre site into a large mixed-use project.
The Statesman site, at 305 S. Congress Ave. along the southern banks of Lady Bird Lake, has long been coveted by developers.
The solicitation, known as a request for interest and qualifications, is the first official step toward redeveloping the site, which many in the Austin real-estate community and at City Hall have for some time said is the property's inevitable destiny.
Cox Enterprises, the Atlanta-based company that owns the American-Statesman, announced in December that a separate entity composed of Cox family members was buying the newspaper land from the Cox corporation, which retains ownership of the newspaper operations.
"There is no predetermined plan, but in general we want to see the area develop in a way that is commensurate with Austin—a thriving economy in a beautiful environment." Alex Taylor, executive vice president of Cox Enterprises and Cox family member said.
According to the request for qualifications being sent out to developers by the Austin law firm Armbrust & Brown, the Cox family "will evaluate information provided by qualified developers and determine potential next steps and timing with respect to any future development activities."
In the meantime, the newspaper continues to be based at the site through a lease with the Cox family.
In a written statement, Susie Gray, publisher of the American- Statesman, said: "We do not have plans to leave our offices in Austin. It will continue to be business as usual for our team."
Local developers and real estate experts have long said the site is underused.
With a zoning change from the city, it potentially could accommodate as much as 3 million sf of development, some experts estimate.