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County’s plans for downtown property remain a mystery

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

It was a milestone moment for one of the most coveted properties in downtown Austin and yet also deeply anticlimactic. The Travis County Commissioners Court voted on Tuesday to start negotiations with the firm that pitched the best proposal for 308 Guadalupe St. However, in order to protect the county’s bargaining position, officials are staying completely mum about details both big and small. After the 5-0 vote, County Judge Sarah Eckhardt declined to make any revelations about the identity of the company, the nature of its proposal or even whether a ground-lease or an outright sale is on the table. The county purchased the land in 2010 with hopes of building a new civil courthouse on it. Voters rejected that plan in 2015, prompting the court to solicit proposals for the property from private developers. “I can tell you this,” Eckhardt told reporters. “(Given) the proposals that came in, it’s safe to say that we will definitely realize considerably more than the $22 million that we spent in 2010.” The judge also refused to offer a timeline of the negotiations, but she did say the court’s next two agendas will feature items related to the property.

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