Construction Update: Intermittent lane closures on Colorado St. from MLK Blvd. to 16th St. for utility work beginning 9/18/2018 through 9/20/2018.
Parking Update: Most street parking removed for two-way traffic on 16th, 17th, and 18th Streets. Bullock Museum parking will remain open. See Newsletter for updated travel and pedestrian plans.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Several existing trees will be removed in order to construct 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. The suitable pecan trees on Lot 7 will be removed and cut into slabs for use in the new buildings.
In addition, A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued, inviting the general public to bid on relocating the trees not already slated for relocation or repurposing. No responses to the RFP were received.
Lastly, the project will plant over 300 new trees, more than double the number on the current site, in order to provide a more pedestrian- friendly environment. TFC and Master Architect Page have been working with the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center on the selection, placement, and installation standards for new trees and other landscaping.
While the final design for the two buildings is not yet complete, the conceptual designs call for two large wellness rooms in each building that have the ability to be subdivided into smaller rooms. It is also intended that the mall will be utilized for fitness classes during good weather. Showers and locker rooms will be included.
A determination on which agencies will be located in the new buildings has not been made. The Texas Facilities Commission intends to begin making these determinations and associated space assignments beginning in fall 2018.
The Texas Facilities Commission (“TFC”) is the State agency responsible for implementing Phase One of 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, TFC will procure and contract directly with separate architects and engineers and construction managers at risk to complete the work.
At the completion of the Phase One Project, the Capitol Complex north of 16th Street will be enriched by the Texas Mall, a beautiful civic space that celebrates the Texas. State Capitol and is welcoming to families, students, tourists, professionals, and State employees. The space can be used for festivals, concerts, and large events all in the view of the Capitol building. The cultural venue planned for the 1801 Congress Avenue building will complement the Texas State History Museum and Blanton Museum of Art, thereby creating a museum district at the north end of the mall. The new State office buildings will consolidate State agencies in one location making them easier to access by the public. The consolidation of these agencies into State-owned buildings will also allow the State to reduce its reliance on leased facilities thereby saving the taxpayers of the State of Texas millions of dollars.
During construction, how will pedestrian and bike circulation be affected by the Capitol Complex Projects?
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. The 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.
During construction, Congress Avenue will be closed from 15th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Utility relocation work will
cause temporary road closures on Colorado Street, Brazos Street, and San Jacinto Boulevard, between 15th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, as well as, temporary road closures on 16th, 17th and 18th Streets between Brazos Street and San Jacinto 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. At the completion of the Phase One Project, Congress Avenue from 16th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be closed to vehicular traffic and transformed into a pedestrian mall. 16th, 17th, and 18th Streets will be converted into two-way traffic streets with 16th and 18th Streets able to cross the pedestrian mall and 17th Street, on both sides of Congress Avenue, allowing access to the underground parking garage.
What will happen to all the reserved spaces in the grade parking lots that will be incorporated into the construction program and lost for future parking?
DPS is reassigning all reserved spaces in surface lots to reserved spaces in garages. DPS Parking Administration will directly contact the affected agencies/employees with the new reserved space assignments.
The two new office buildings at 1801 and 1601 Congress Avenue, will be built on existing Parking Lots 7 and 2, thereby displacing that parking supply.
However, the Phase One project includes the addition of 5 levels of underground parking underneath the two new office buildings on Congress Avenue from 16th Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and 8 levels of above ground parking integrated in the new 1801 Congress Avenue office building. At the conclusion of the project the parking supply at the Capitol Complex will be greatly expanded.
During construction, parking will be relocated to existing parking garages along San Jacinto Boulevard that are presently underutilized. Parking lot closures are estimated to occur in the following order and all dates are subject to change:
- Parking Lot 7, at the southeast corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue, is expected to close in early summer 2017.
- The south west half of Parking Lot 12, at the southeast corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and San Jacinto Boulevard, will become contractor staging in fall 2017.
- The northeast half of Parking Lot 12 will close in early 2018.
- Parking Lot 2, at the northeast corner of 16th Street and Congress Avenue, will close in fall 2017.
- The east half of Parking Lot 3, at the southeast corner of 17th Street and Congress Avenue, will close in spring 2018.
- Parking Lot 19, at the southeast corner of Colorado Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, will close in summer 2018 for use as a
bus stop and staging area for the Texas State History Museum.
Currently, Phase One is scheduled to begin occupancy in 2021. Construction schedules will be updated continually per ongoing coordination with City of Austin and State agencies.
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 Mall, underground parking, and the expansion of the Sam Houston Building physical plant. The project is split up into 6 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.
The goals for the Capitol Complex Projects are to provide state office space and support facilities for short-term and long-term needs, create a destination that celebrates the Texas State Capitol and is symbolic of the great State of Texas, create civic spaces, pedestrian friendly streets, and appropriately scaled environments that support human comfort, establish gateways to the Capitol Complex and improve connections with surrounding districts.
The current master plan originated from the 83rd Texas Legislature 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 2016 Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan in March of 2016.
Historical master planning efforts begin in 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 noted the inefficiency of meeting state government office needs in facilities located 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 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 growth needs 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.
In 1963, a master plan entitled Capitol Area Master Plan and Its Development used the 1956 Capitol Area Master Plan as a framework for development. A series of modifications and additions to the plan recommended Congress Avenue, 14th Street, and other streets north of the Capitol should be left open for use by the public; the visual axis between the Capitol and the University of Texas should be kept free and open by limiting the height of buildings; land acquisition should proceed promptly as far as 19th Street, with vacant property to be used as parking facilities.