Austin Drafting RFP to Redevelop Property Next to MetroRail Crestview Station
Feature Photo (above): The CapMetro’s Crestview Station at night, with an Austin Energy warehouse on the 6909 Ryan Drive project site visible across the tracks. Image: Google Streets.
by Art Benavidez
Austin (Travis County) — The City of Austin is preparing a request for proposals in hopes of attracting a developer that will take on the 5.5-acre Ryan Drive redevelopment as a transit-oriented, mixed-use project.
The development will be for a lot located in north Austin at 6909 Ryan Drive at the intersection of Justin Lane and Ryan Drive. The land is adjacent to the MetroRail Crestview Station.
Aerial view of the 6909 Ryan Drive site under consideration for redevelopment. Image: Google Earth.
Austin Energy purchased the site in 1997 to accommodate its operations. The city has been considering a more valuable use for the site ever since the Crestview Station was established.
Community discussion regarding its future has been in the works since 2012, but plans for redevelopment didn’t pick up steam until November of 2017 when a meeting was held to confer on the opportunities and challenges of redeveloping the site.
The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department sought community input and released the Ryan Drive Working Report in April of 2018. They ultimately settled on the final development criteria regarding request for proposals:
At least 300 housing units at the site, of which at least 50% must be affordable. The housing should be provided in a manner consistent with the city’s Affordability Unlocked Program.
At least 1.25 acres of the site should be dedicated to park/open space.
At least 7,000 square feet should be built and allocated for creative, community commercial and/or multi-purpose community space.
Site development must prioritize bicycle and pedestrian accessibility, and provide direct access to Crestview Rail Station to Justin Lane and/or Ryan Drive.
The final report includes three development scenarios with concept site plans that would have to be considered by any prospective developer. All of these scenarios (illustrated below) included the aforementioned criteria in some form. Earlier drafts mentioned at least five scenarios, but the final report describes three (Scenarios 3, 4 and 5).
Developers interested in the project should demonstrate a commitment to energy sustainability and family centered multi-bedroom housing options. According to the city’s final report regarding the project, the redevelopment of the project should maximize adjacent community endeavors.
The pending RFP–which according to an Economic Development Department estimate is expected to go to City Council by mid-2021 for approval–also requires the delivery of $2,884,903 to the city in order to repay Austin Energy for its 1997 bond purchase of the site
Several metal buildings and other structures on site will have to be removed as part of any site work for new development.
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.