What should we do with UMCB when it’s no longer a hospital?

A rendering of what the Brackenridge campus could look like. Courtesy: Central Health
A rendering of what the Brackenridge campus could look like. Courtesy: Central Health

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Big changes are in the works for the University Medical Center Brackenridge campus. In May, the hospital is slated to move into its new building on Red River St. and Central Health.

The public entity that owns the 14.3 acres of land the building sits on is trying to decide how the property should be redeveloped. On Thursday they will ask for public feedback during a community meeting at their central office.

The current master plan for the land calls for a mix-used development with affordable housing, open spaces, and a public market. The idea is to create a model healthy community.

Profits from the redevelopment will go towards Central Health’s main purpose of providing healthcare to low income, and uninsured Travis County residents by opening new clinics in areas outside the downtown core. Services offered at the former Children’s Hospital right now will soon move.

“We’re very happy to report that some of our clinical services are moving out into the community out into some of our service centers out further from the downtown center,” said Christie Garbe, VP Chief Strategy Officer, Central Health.

It’s because of public feedback from nearly 8,400 people so far that has shaped the direction of this redevelopment.

“The public told us don’t build a lot of healthcare services for the low income in this portion of town. Use this revenue from this property to help you provide services where they need to be in the community,” said Garbe.

Central Health hopes to select a master developer for the project by the end of the year. In the meantime, they will meet with Austin City Council to rezone the land in order to build a mixed use development. However, once the hospital moves out of the Brackenridge campus it will likely sit empty for many years while the redevelopment plans get approved. Garbe says Central Health has budgeted for that.

Thursday’s community meeting takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Central Health’s main office at 1111 East Cesar Chavez. Anyone is invited to attend.

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