Austin: Colony Park Development Moves Forward with Financing Strategy
Feature Illustration: Artist rendering of the proposed project by the City of Austin.
Austin (Travis County) — The City of Austin continues progress with plans to develop a 208-acre site near Colony Loop Drive and Loyola Lane – the Colony Park Sustainable Community – with recent City Council approval of critical funding and support items.
When complete, the Colony Park project is expected to feature mixed-income housing units, mixed-use retail and office space, a transit center and civic/institutional land uses.
“Today is a huge milestone for the Colony Park project,” explains Rodney Gonzales, Austin’s Assistant city manager. and “We owe many thanks to Council, city management and staff, our partner Catellus, and most importantly, our Colony Park Community and leaders whose steadfast determination never wavered. Staff stands ready to engage in the next step for the project.”
The City of Austin Economic Development Department signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with Catellus Development Corporation for the Colony Park Sustainable Community project in May 2020. Thursday’s vote provides funding for Phase II predevelopment services to continue negotiations towards a Master Development Agreement. A legal services agreement was also approved related to real estate documents necessary for negotiations.
A community-led project, Colony Park project is the largest redevelopment of city-owned land since the Mueller project. The development of the site is projected to deliver approximately 1,072 single-family homes, 831 multi-family apartments, 230,000 square feet of mixed-use office/institutional space, 130,000 square feet of mixed-use retail space, 53 acres of parks, trails and open space.
Council also approved an ordinance and set a public hearing for creation Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) No. 20 for the Colony Park Sustainable Community as a key component of the funding strategy. A TIRZ is a financing tool enabled by Texas Tax Code to encourage economic development within a defined geographic area or zone. A TIRZ for Colony Park would provide a means of financing the costs of public works, public improvements, programs, and other projects benefiting the zone. Once all project costs have been paid or the debt associated with the TIRZ has been retired and the term of the TIRZ ends, all property tax revenue returns to the City for general purposes. In addition to the TIRZ, the Colony Park development will also be funded through public land sales, departmental capital budgets, and the creation of a public improvement district (PID).
“Closing the public finance gap is a critical step forward for this priority project,” notes Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, director of the Economic Development Department. “We look forward to continuing our development work with Catellus to bring equitable, sustainable, and transformative opportunity to the Eastern Crescent.”
The master development agreement will follow concepts from the Colony Park Master Plan, which includes conceptual ideas and goals for the project. This work was guided by three years of extensive public engagement led by neighborhood residents, the City of Austin, the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Cortez Consulting, business leaders and community organizations.
Edited from news release.
VBX Project ID: 2018-7279