In May of this year the University of Texas formally announced its plans for the new Dell Medical School and a medical district, to be built in three phases and span more than 4 million square feet. Since then, details have been emerging about just what we can expect to see in at least the first two phases of that medical district.
The First Phase
Because the UT System is footing much of the bill for the first phase, it will likely move very quickly. The $334 million plan for the district’s first phase includes a research building, teaching hospital, academic building, a medical office building and parking garage. Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health, two of UT’s partners in the medical school effort, will build the new teaching hospital as part of the campus. The new Dell Medical School is slated to open in 2016, with the new hospital’s opening anticipated in 2017.
That construction will mean the realignment of Red River between 16th and 15th Streets and the relocation of UT’s Penick-Allison Tennis Center:
In his Downtown Austin Blog, Jude Galligan has detailed some of what’s to come in Phase II. Seton and Central Health will take the reigns on developing this phase, which will include demolishing the existing Brackenridge hospital (once the new teaching hospital is up and running) and construction of a psychiatric hospital, cancer center and medical office building, expansion of the Travis County Medical examiner’s office, and a parking garage. That phase could begin in 2018.
But What About the Erwin Center?
There’s been a lot of buzz about the Erwin Center’s fate in the medical district plans, but it looks as if that structure is staying put until Phase III gets underway sometime in the future. UT has said “implementation of Phase I of the plan would not require removal of the Erwin Center, but a long-term proposal calls for the relocation of the venue in six to 15 years.”
What Happens Next?
Downtown Austin will feel the impact of this work almost immediately: UT officials have gotten the city’s approval to move Red River, and plans for road reconstruction and utility relocation are moving ahead. Long-term, it will be interesting to see what kind of transit and development takes shape alongside or within the Medical District.