Austin’s Parks and Rec Asks For Input on Seaholm Intake Survey

September 10, 2015 by Kate Harrington

Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department has announced two redevelopment proposals for the intake facility on Lady Bird Lake, and is asking for input in a public survey that runs until September 13.

The idea of redeveloping the old power plant intake facility, which sits right on Lady Bird Lake, goes back to 1987, when a Town Lake Comprehensive Plan suggested the building could be a good lakeside dining spot. In 2013, the PARD, together with the Austin Parks Foundation, The Trail Foundation, and AIA Austin, launched a Design Ideas Competition for the redevelopment of the art deco building.

The competition asked participants to design an “iconic adaptive reuse of the historic structures.” Since the buildings are on dedicated parkland, designs were required to support public use of parkland, and to integrate and interact with new development within the Seaholm District. The team that’s ultimately selected will have a master development agreement for a public-private partnership.

The Downtown Austin Blog points out that the two designs the PARD is considering now are different from the three finalists announced in 2013, although it’s not clear whether the current two finalists are updated versions of the 2013 proposals.

The two proposals vary in scale and ambition. The first includes a rooftop garden and open air hall with a canopy roof, an open plaza and lake balcony at street level, and open air classroom, fitness space, and a boardwalk at the lake level. The design also includes a metallic spiral staircase.

The second design would not alter the existing structure as radically, and proposes an open gallery space in the larger of the two buildings that could host anything from art installations to events, with the smaller building holding restrooms, a green room, and catering space.

(photo credit: City of Austin)

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.