AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday night the public can help shape the development of a large plot of land in Downtown Austin. The University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital sits on 14 acres of prime Downtown Austin real estate, and it’s slated to close in 2017 — when the new Dell Medical School and teaching hospital open. When that happens, portions of the current hospital are slated for demolition and a makeover.
Central Health, the owners of the property, have a few ideas of how they envision the area. Right now they hope to have the extension and realignment of Red River Street, Sabine Street and the introduction of 14th Street that would run down to the frontage road going through the property. In order for those streets to be built, it would mean many — if not all — of the buildings on the current UMC Brackenridge site would need to be demolished.
Central Health is hosting a series of public meetings to get ideas for the property that would be funded by developers.
“We will look at all possibilities — like office space, retail space, living space, apartments, research lab, and things like that,” said Central Health Financial Director John Stephens.
One idea was to renovate some of the existing buildings, but they found it could cost just as much as tearing down and starting from scratch.
“Right now, we’re not sure because there was a study done in 2012 that really showed the hospital was on its last leg as a hospital,” said Stephens.
Those wanting to give feedback can attend a meeting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Central Health Headquarters on 1111 East Cesar Chavez St.
The overall build-out of the site is a long-term project estimated to take 15 years. The goal is to have a master plan in place by this summer so that when the hospital is closed work is ready to begin.