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Austin: Design Phase for City’s Mexican American Cultural Center Expected to Begin Soon

Feature Photo: An artist rendering of the proposed renovated ESB-MACC. Image: City of Austin.

Posted: 11-1-2021

by Art Benavidez

Austin (Travis County) — The design phase for Phase II of the city’s Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) improvement project is expected to begin soon.

The facility began operations in 2007 and in 2018 the city adopted an expansion plan to be funded by the 2018 general obligation bond.

According to a city evaluation, expansion and renovation of the building is needed in order to adhere to the growing needs of the community and assist programs that cultivate an appreciation of “Mexican American, Native American, Chicano and other Latinx cultures.”

Staff and storage areas were cited as inadequate with the existing 36,336 square foot building. Interior renovations will include public spaces, such as the auditorium.

The plan would also expand the building to the north and south and provide parking, however, the square footage of the renovation has not been released.  

The site plan would also include connections to the hike and bike trails, Lady Bird Lake, and pedestrian walkways to the surrounding neighborhood, in order to draw patrons. A component of this pedestrian plan would be a grand promenade to better define the entrance.

According to the master plan the estimated cost for Phase II was estimated between $30 and $42.5 million.

The projected timeline for the design phase is to have it done this quarter. Construction would begin in the summer of 2022 and be completed by the summer of 2024, with a grand opening in the fall of 2024.

In June the city entered into a $1.4 million design service agreement joint venture for the project between Miró Rivera Architects and Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, out of Austin.

In September of 2020, the city entered into a $22 million agreement with the Austin office of Rogers-O’Brien to serve as the construction manager at risk.

Jaime Beaman with CasaBella Architects and Laura Toups with civil engineers Urban Design Group, both out of Austin, along with the Austin office of landscape architects Asakura Robinson led by Margaret Robinson round out the project team.

The project will also honor the prestigious Mexican design architect, Teodoro González de León, who designed the current facility.   

The 2018 master plan also calls for a Phase III of the project that would include a new 300 to 500 seat theatre and lobby, underground parking and landscaping and an estimated cost of  $32.7 and $51.8 million. The cost for the complete buildout could be between $55 and $90 million. 

VBX Project ID: 2017-53C9


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By |2021-11-01T16:50:11-05:00November 1st, 2021|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.

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