AUSTIN (KXAN) — Prime property in Central Austin once owned by the state has been sold. The Texas Department of Transportation accepted just under $47 million for the 75 acres of land at West 45th Street and Bull Creek Road. The winning bid was one of six the department received for the vast, largely green space. Shoal Creek lines one side of the area and neighbors frequently use the land as a park, and often bring their dogs.
“It’s been our, kind of, best kept secret,” said Doug Morgan who lives nearby.
“It’s been fantastic for us to come over here,” added Richard Whittington. “We come twice a day.”
TxDOT officials say Travis County, the City of Austin and Austin ISD had first dibs on the land. City council considered purchasing the land for about $30 million, but ultimately decided against it.
“It’s a shame that the city couldn’t figure out how to purchase it because it’s just going to be a lost opportunity,” said Whittington.
Worried about losing the coveted green space, Whittington hopes neighbors get involved.
“I hope the neighborhood association takes them to task to do something that will work for everybody,” Whittington said.
Morgan hopes to see some restaurants and things neighbors can enjoy.
“It’s gonna be developed somehow and it’d be nice if they could reserve the lower end along the creek,” Morgan said, “maybe have a greenbelt.”
It could be a lengthy process before the land looks different, but TxDOT officials say money from the sale will go to road improvements.
“All the funds go to the highway fund,” said Roland Tilden with TxDOT. “This is an example of what we’re doing to create efficiencies and find ways to generate revenue.”
The State Transportation Commission must approve the sale, and TxDOT officials expect to close the deal in February. TxDOT says the purchaser, William Cannon League Development LLC, is local.