Central Health Changes Plan For Its Brackenridge Hospital Redevelopment

Feb 22, 2018

Central Health has parted ways with the firm previously selected to redevelop the old Brackenridge Hospital site.

Instead, the Travis County health care agency is now in talks with the nonprofit 2033 Fund. The group is interested in developing part of the campus, which spans six blocks of prime downtown real estate.

Mike Geeslin, president and CEO of Central Health, says the goal is to start making money off part of the property more quickly, instead of waiting to plan the entire development over a longer period of time.

“What this recent development does is it gives us the opportunity to focus on developing in [the] near term two of the blocks on the Brackenridge campus,” Geeslin says. “It does not foreclose on working with a master developer in the future for the remainder of the tract.”

The Brackenridge Hospital closed its doors for good last May after more than a century of service in Austin. Last October, the Central Health Board of Managers chose the Baltimore-based Wexford Science and Technology to redevelop the site. Wexford was one of only two firms that responded to Central Health’s request for proposals to redevelop the site.

The 2033 Fund is particularly interested in redeveloping two blocks of the campus. That includes the former Brackenridge Medical Center tower, as well as a block along Red River Street that houses an office building. Geeslin says any new building on the Red River site would aim to support the Central Health, UT’s Dell Medical School and the Seton Healthcare Family mission of serving low-income and uninsured people in Travis County.

As of now, it’s not clear whether Central Health would retain ownership of those two blocks. The UT Board of Regents is expected to weigh in on allowing the 2033 Fund to lease the property next week.