seaholm district

Downtown Austin Trader Joe's Opens Its Doors

May 1, 2015
Bill Shaner/flickr

Trader Joe’s is opening a new location in downtown Austin today. The popular grocery chain is known for its quirky offerings and laid-back, tropical styling.

The supermarket is going to anchor the retail stores at the multi-million dollar Seaholm development, part of the city’s plan to transform downtown into a mixed residential-commercial district.

“Grocery has been one of the gaps for downtown living, and we see Trader Joe’s as helping fill that gap in addition to the Whole Foods and Royal Blue,” says Fred Evins, a Project Manager at the City of Austin Economic Development Department. “We’d like to see more,” he adds.

BOKA Powell + Design Workshop/City of Austin

Update: The city has named three finalists in its design contest reimagining the Seaholm Intake Structures. The three finalists are:

  • “Link,” Gumbully
  • “The Lakehouse,” BOKA Powell + Design Workshop
  • “Intake,” Gensler

Take a look at the three winning entries in the slideshow above, which are expected to inform the redevelopment of the structures. The Parks and Recreation Department says it will issue a proposal for public-private partnerships for the intake structures in the near future.  

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The City of Austin is holding the first of three public meetings today over what to do with the Seaholm Intake Facility.

The city wants the community’s ideas for how to incorporate part of the old power plant along Lady Bird Lake into the park and trail system.

Seaholm Sold

Apr 12, 2013
City of Austin http://austinenergy.posterous.com/development-to-begin-on-historic-seaholm-plan

The City of Austin has completed the lease and sale of the old Seaholm Power Plant.

The 1950s structure and its land will be developed, including a 30-story, 300-plus unit apartment tower, along with office, retail and restaurant space.

Under agreement with the city, the public will continue to have access to Seaholm’s 117,000 square-foot main hall. 

INTERA

Arsenic, lead and the byproducts of burned oil were some of the contaminants found underneath an electrical substation at the Seaholm power plant downtown.

The land will eventually be home to Austin’s new central library. Those contaminants have now been removed and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued its seal of approval.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

When it comes to Austin architecture, the Seaholm Power Plant is about as iconic as it gets.

But absent its art deco signage and smokestacks, there’s another component of Seaholm that’s less celebrated but even more unique: the intake structures perched directly over Lady Bird Lake, which used to deliver cooling water to the power plant and a since-demolished water plant nearby.

Lake | Flato + Shepley Bulfinch, City of Austin

Plans for the city’s new central library have been in the works since 2006, when voters approved bond spending for the facility. Library officials now say designs for the building are 60 percent complete – and next steps include bidding out construction contracts and breaking ground next year.

While Austin has previously seen schematic designs of the building, “it’s pretty much as the name of the phase implies – the scheme at that point,” says John Gillum, facilities process manager for the Austin Public Library. “You’re trying to figure out if you can put the building on the site that you have.”

In contrast, Gillum now says the entire design is now over halfway complete. “It’s pretty much a refinement and further development of what we saw in the schematic design. … We know what the finishes are going to be, what the landscaping is going to look like, where things are going to be located, 99 percent certain in the new building,” he says.

Filipa Rodrigues

City Council unanimously approved changes to the development agreement governing the renovation of the historic Seaholm Power Plant and its surrounding area.

The revisions come at the request of Seaholm Power LLC, the group overseeing the site’s redevelopment. As Seaholm Power managing partner John Rosato told City Council, the biggest change will allow the plant to build office space at the site.

Under the original 2008 master development agreement, ground-floor office space in the iconic, Art Deco building was prohibited. But developers argued the location and economic changes since 2008 made the space more conducive to retail. Several citizens spoke against the change, arguing the public should have greater access to the unique structure.

Rendering courtesy of Trader Joe's

Austinites woke up this morning to the news, first reported by the Statesman, that Trader Joe's plans to open a location at the soon-to-be-constructed Seaholm Development downtown.

The Monrovia, California-based specialty grocery retailer first revealed its Texas expansion almost a year ago, but announced stores in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, the Woodlands and Plano before saying it would open a store in the city that spawned Whole Foods. 

Here are some details on the planned Austin location:

Image courtesy City of Austin

We wrote yesterday about plans for an art wall in the emerging Seaholm District in downtown Austin, and its potential to influence development in the area. So it’s worth highlighting how those designs are only one part of the city’s plans in the area.

Earlier this month, the city released an updated map for development in the Seaholm area, highlighting projects in various stages. Some are completed, like the first phase of apartment construction off Lamar, and the Pfluger bridge extension. Others are underway, like a nearby federal courthouse. But some of the most ambitious projects are decidedly far off, including construction of Seaholm’s centerpiece, a new central library.

Image courtesy NADAAA, City of Austin

When is a wall more than a wall?

A presentation on an outdoor wall this morning turned into a broader discussion of the emerging Seaholm District downtown this morning.

Boston-based design firm NADAAA delivered a briefing to the Austin City Council this morning regarding their proposals for a wall near the Seaholm Power Plant – the iconic, Art Deco-style building along west Cesar Chavez slated for redevelopment.  The wall, an Art in Public Places project, is meant to obscure electrical devices at an electrical substation in the heart of the Seaholm district.

Photo by Lake|Flato Architects

The area around the Seaholm Power Plant is slated for redevelopment. The art deco building in downtown Austin stopped generating electricity in 1989. Now, it hosts musical performances like the Psych Fest and a concert during SXSW that included Kanye West and Jay Z.

The redevelopment plan calls for the Seaholm Power Plant to be the centerpiece of a high density eight-acre “Seaholm District,” that includes a mix of retail space, offices, condominiums, a hotel, and a new central library. On Thursday, Austin City Council is scheduled to vote on the schematic design for the library.

The city is holding an open house where you can view the design tonight at city hall from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Or you can check it out online here.

Council is also scheduled to vote soon on a wall that will surround Seaholm’s electrical substation. The vote on that plan is scheduled for November 3. Check out the design proposal for the wall here