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County leaves five potential courthouse sites in the running

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court has whittled down to five the list of properties that could serve as the site of a future civil courthouse. On Tuesday, the court approved on a 3-0-2 vote the recommendations of the citizens advisory committee reviewing the properties. Commissioners Ron Davis and Margaret Gómez abstained. The list now includes the county’s downtown headquarters at 700 Lavaca St. and four privately held parcels with addresses that remain undisclosed. Each site is now set to undergo a third round of analysis by the committee, county staff and the team from engineering consultancy AECOM. The process is expected to last through mid-February 2017. Last year, voters rejected a $287 million bond referendum that would have built the courthouse at 308 Guadalupe St. Critics of the plan argued that the undeveloped piece of downtown land would be better suited to private hands. That argument is partially blunted at the 700 Lavaca St. property due to the existing tower. However, the two scenarios imagined by the committee would involve significant construction. The first envisions adding extra wings to the building, while the second would involve its complete demolition.

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