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Possible deal brewing to save Bull Creek land buy

Thursday, October 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Sources tell the Austin Monitor that there may be an attempt at today’s City Council meeting to take a new tack on the purchase of 75 acres of land at the intersection of Bull Creek Road and 45th Street. If approved, the pitch would instruct the city to approach the Texas Department of Transportation with a deal that would allow the city to acquire the land with only a small portion of cash.

Under the plan, the balance of the cost would be paid after city officials conclude another agreement to sell a portion of the land for development. As the Monitor reported Wednesday, the city remains without a direct instrument to raise the entire amount it would take to acquire the land on its own. That figure is somewhere between $28 million and $31 million.

Though Council could well approve such an approach, it remains uncertain whether the Texas Department of Transportation, the current owner of the property, would accept it.

Council members are posted to take action to express the city’s intent to move on the purchase.

The 75 acres in question will draw wide interest whether auctioned by TxDOT or sold by the city. At least one party has suggested that as many as 60 acres of the tract could be developed.

The property currently is not zoned. That means that any development would still have to go through the city’s zoning process, no matter the seller. That would allow for public input on the issue from stakeholders, city boards and commissions, and, eventually, the Council.

Council Member Bill Spelman confirmed the potential solution, as did several sources who wished to remain anonymous.

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