Austin Independent School District is selling its headquarters campus on West 6th Street to an active local developer and plans to move its administrative offices to a building outside of downtown on South I-35.
AISD trustees voted Monday night to sell the Carruth Administration Center at 1111 W. Sixth to Schlosser Development Co. for $35.5, according to multiple media reports. The company executives plan to redevelop the existing buildings - more than 158,000 square feet of office and residential space across five buildings. It has also been rumored that the company could potentially demolish the buildings and construct something new from the ground up.
Fortunately, the property isn't in Capitol view corridor that would limit building heights. Schlosser is busy in the downtown Austin Area, as they are putting finishing touches on the Shoal Creek Walk office tower three blocks east.
In an effort to assist with congestion on Interstate 35 through downtown Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation is looking at adding two managed express lanes, where fees are increased during heavy traffic and lowered during light traffic, in each direction.
Local officials announced the $8 billion project, titled Capital Express, at the Austin Chamber of Commerce Regional Growth Summit meeting Monday. The toll lanes are expressed to be very similar to Mopac's single express lane. TxDOT Public Information Officer Diann Hodges said the express lane would stretch 33 miles from RM 1431 in Round Rock to SH 45 Southeast near Buda.
The main concern is the congestion in downtown. "Because of the constraints and the fact that we cannot widen the roadway, we're actually going to go down," said Hodges.
Along with adding two additional lanes, TxDOT said I-35 through downtown Austin would be lowered, and it is possible that the plan could involve removing the upper decks that stretch from Martin Luther King Boulevard and Airport Boulevard.
"We only get one shot to rebuild and improve I-35 through downtown Austin, so we have to do as much as is reasonable within the existing footprint to enhance mobility and lower it," said Senator Kirk Watson.
Many were thrown off by the decision to create toll lanes rather than general purpose lanes. TxDOT said that if that were the case, the lanes would clog quickly.
"This is a way to kind of control that traffic," said Diann Hodges. "Provide some relief to those general purpose lanes but also provide those who may need to get somewhere in a hurry, that opportunity."
Before this project will begin, the public will input from previous I-35 meetings will be taken into account as well as an environmental...