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)