FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Congress Avenue is closed from 15th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, as Phase One of the State of Texas Capitol Mall progresses. Upon completion, North Congress Avenue will be a pedestrian mall from 16th street to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (19th Street). The East /West streets, 16th, 17th, and 18th Streets will be converted into two-way traffic streets. Only 16th and 18th Streets will cross the pedestrian mall. Access to the parking garages underneath the pedestrian mall will be from 17th street on either side of Congress Avenue.
In early 2019, the utility relocation work will begin. There will be temporary road closures on Colorado Street, Brazos Street, and San Jacinto Boulevard, between 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Central Utility Plant expansion work will also cause temporary road closures to occur on 14th Street between Brazos Street and San Jacinto Boulevard and on Brazos Street between 14th and 15th Street. Please subscribe to our project newsletter for the latest news on closures in the Capitol Complex. Subscribe here. (Updated: 12/18/18)
How will pedestrian and bike circulation be affected by the Capitol Complex Projects construction?
Pedestrian walkways and bike lanes will be designated by graphics and signage posted around the construction zones to allow State employees and visitors to the State Capitol and the Texas State History Museum safe passage to and from their Capitol Complex destinations. East-west pedestrian paths will primarily be located on 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, while north-south pedestrian path will be located primarily on Colorado Street and San Jacinto Boulevard. (See Current Map)
IMPORTANT ALERT: FOR YOUR SAFETY DO NOT ENTER ANY OF THE CONSTRUCTION ZONES. If you see a fence or barrier across a walkway, street, parking lot or other area, please do not attempt to go into the area or around the barrier to walk through the blocked area. Please respect the warning signs and instructions offered by any of the construction personnel on site. This is an active construction site with heavy equipment and vehicles moving in and out of the area throughout the day. Please stay aware to exiting vehicles and use caution as you approach the construction area. (Updated: 12/18/18)
For State employees: Are there resources available to help me on my daily commute during the Capitol Complex construction project?
Yes! There are many resources available to employees. Below is a list of options that you can explore to find a solution that works best for you.
- Capital Metro (bus/rail/special assistance van): https://www.capmetro.org/
- CARTS (Capitol Area Rural Transportation System): http://www.ridecarts.com/services/commuter
- LAST MILE
- CAPITOL COMPLEX SHUTTLE (Discontinued April 2019)
For State Agencies: Are there resources available to help my agency solve commute issues related to the Capitol Complex construction?
Movability is a local non-profit that assists employers with transportation-related issues. Their staff can help you develop a strategic mobility plan to decrease drive-alone behavior by employees. By decreasing the number of workers who are commuting during rush hour – through options such as transit, telework, carpooling, etc. – agencies can mitigate the effects of the construction and reduce employee stress. In 2018, Texas Facilities Commission and Texas State Preservation Board went through Movability’s program to help provide employees with alternative commute options during construction. There may be some funding assistance from the City of Austin for Movability’s expert assistance to agencies. To learn more, contact Kate Harrington at 737.204.7644.
Two new office buildings at 1801 and 1601 Congress Avenue will be built on Parking Lots 7 and 2.
Phase One of the Texas Capitol Complex project includes the addition of 5 levels of underground parking underneath these two new office buildings on Congress Avenue, and 8 levels of above ground parking integrated in the new 1801 Congress Avenue office building. The total supply of parking for the Capitol Complex will be greatly expanded when the project is completed.
During construction, parking in Garage E and J will be extremely congested. State employees normally parking in these garages are encouraged to relocate to the existing parking garages along San Jacinto Boulevard that are presently underutilized.
Current Parking lot closures include:
- Parking Lot 7 (MLK Blvd. & Congress Ave.)
- Parking Lot 2 (16th St. & Congress Ave.)
- The southwest quarter of Parking Lot 12 (San Jacinto Blvd. & 18th St.)
- The northeast quarter of Parking Lot 12 (MLK Blvd. & Trinity St.), available to contractor parking only.
- The northwest quarter of Parking Lot 12 (MLK Blvd. & San Jacinto Blvd.) will close in early 2019.
- Parking Lot 3 (17th St. & Congress Ave.)
L.B. Johnson Building: How will access to the fire exits on the west side of the L.B. Johnson building change during construction?
Effective immediately, the fire exit doors on the first floor of the west side of the L.B. Johnson building are now an EMERGENCY EXIT only. An alarm will sound when these exit doors are opened. No re-entry through this emergency exit door is allowed. In case of a fire emergency, you may exit these doors and proceed to the designated assembly area in Garage Q. Look for new signs explaining this and other changes to the entrances and exits of the building. (Sign up for the Capitol Complex Construction Newsletter for an email with the latest information.) (Updated: 12/18/18)
How can my company do business with the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) or the Texas Capitol Complex Project?
The Texas Facilities Commission encourages all vendors, suppliers, and contractors (trades) to learn more about our procurement process and contract opportunities. Visit the State of Texas Electronic State Business Daily website and search for agency “Texas Facilities Commission – 303” to find active bidding opportunities. Or visit our TFC Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program or our Small Contractor Participation Assistance Program web pages for more information on how to bid for work with the TFC. (Updated: 12/18/18)
The Texas Facilities Commission (“TFC”) is the State agency responsible for the construction of Phase One, as described in the 2016 Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan. Currently, TFC has contracted with Page as the Master Architect, Balfour Beatty Construction as the Construction Manager Agent, and CobbFendley as the Site Services Engineer. As the project progresses, The Texas Facilities Commission may procure and contract with other architects and engineers and construction managers to complete the work. (Updated: 12/18/18)
While, the final interior design for the two buildings is not yet complete, the conceptual designs call for two large wellness rooms in each building, as well as showers and locker rooms. It is also intended that the lawns of the Texas Capitol Mall will be utilized for fitness classes during good weather. (Updated: 12/18/18)
Several existing trees will be removed during the construction of the project. The City of Austin, along with the Waller Creek Conservancy, will be relocating some of the larger and/or heritage trees to Waller Creek Trail.
The project will plant over 300 new trees along the Texas Capitol Mall, more than double the number on the current site, in order to provide a more pedestrian-friendly environment. The project team will be working with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center on the selection, placement, and installation standards for new trees and other landscaping for this iconic destination. (Updated: 12/18/18)
A determination on which agencies will be located in the new buildings has not been finalized. The Texas Facilities Commission intends to begin working with agencies currently located in leased office space to determine future space needs and discuss office space assignments in the fall of 2019. (Updated: 12/18/18)
The community benefits of Phase One of the Texas Capitol Mall will be both economic and social. The citizens of the State of Texas will see millions of dollars in cost savings when state agencies are moved from increasingly costly leased office spaces into state owned buildings. The public will also have easier access to State agencies when they are consolidated within the Capitol Complex.
Just as importantly, Texans will be proud to welcome tourists, families, students and State employees to this beautiful civic space with grand views of the State Capitol. The Texas Mall will be used for festivals, concerts, civic events and green space for recreation for visitors and employees. The proposed cultural venue spaces planned for the 1801 Congress Avenue building will complement the Texas State History Museum and Blanton Museum of Art and create a cultural and museum district at the north end of the mall. (Updated: 12/18/18)
Phase One is scheduled to begin occupancy in 2021. Updates to the construction schedules will be posed to the project website periodically. (Updated 12/18/18)
The 1801 Congress Avenue building will be approximately 603,000 gross square feet and the 1601 Congress Avenue building will be approximately 416,000 gross square feet.
The Capitol Complex Phase One Project includes the construction of two State office buildings, three of the four blocks of the Texas Capitol Mall, underground parking, and the expansion of the Sam Houston Building physical plant. The construction project is split up into 6 work packages: (1) Excavation, (2) Site Utilities, (3) Central Utility Plant expansion and utility tunnels, (4) the 1801 Congress Avenue Office Building, (5) 1601 Congress Avenue Office Building, and (6) the Underground Parking Garage and Pedestrian Mall on Congress Ave. (*See the Electronic State Business Daily website for contract opportunities.) (Updated: 12/18/18)
The goals for the Capitol Complex Projects are to:
- Reduce the cost of leased office space for state agencies currently housed throughout the city, by providing new office space within the Capitol Complex.
- Improve the connection of the Capitol Complex with the surrounding business and cultural districts.
- Create an iconic destination that celebrates the Texas State Capitol with pedestrian friendly streets and green civic spaces for events, music and recreation.
The current master plan originated from the 83rd Texas Legislature (2013) which directed the Texas Facilities Commission to prepare a master plan for the Capitol Complex in collaboration with the Texas State Preservation Board, the General Land Office, the Texas Historical Commission, and the Partnership Advisory Commission. This legislative directive culminated in the adoption of the Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan in March of 2016.
However, planning for the Capitol Complex dates to 1944, with the 47th Texas Legislature creating a Capitol Planning Commission to work with the Austin City Planning Commission on the “Capitol Plan Report” of 1944. The report identified inefficiency of housing state agencies in leased facilities across the city and recommended the expansion of the Capitol grounds to the north between Colorado and Brazos Streets to what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
In 1956, Harold F. Wise and Associates prepared the Austin Master Plan, which included a detailed Capitol Area Master Plan. The State Building Commission defined the areas from 11th Street to 19th Street (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) and Lavaca Street to San Jacinto Boulevard as the Capitol Complex Area. The 1956 Capitol Area Master Plan proposed two plans that would create a strong public realm, provide a front door to the Capitol from the north, and accommodate future growth of state government with land acquisition extending to 19th Street. The first plan envisioned a grand Congress Mall with underground parking, reinforced with buildings on the east and west sides. The second plan provided a narrower Congress Mall lined with new buildings and surface parking on the perimeter. (Updated: 12/18/18)