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Staff says decision needed on Winnebago Lane

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 by Jo Clifton

City Council must make a decision this week on whether to sell a piece of property at 4711 Winnebago Lane – as proposed by the department that owns the land, Austin Resource Recovery – or it will lose the buyer. City real estate officer Lauraine Rizer told Council during Tuesday’s work session that the prospective buyer, Jimmy Nassour, has indicated he would walk away from the deal if Council postpones a decision again. It has already postponed it once at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo. ARR Director Bob Gedert is proposing to sell the tract for $1.45 million as part of a $7.5 million financing package for the [re]Manufacturing Hub, which the department intends to develop. Tovo wants to explore the feasibility of developing a live/work project on the property with a group called Artspace. That would mean the city would have to find funding for the [re]Manufacturing Hub somewhere else. Council Member Sheri Gallo wanted to find out whether Council has a process for determining what to do with unused city land. Council Member Delia Garza said she, too, would like to have a clear process. Garza said it was her understanding that all other city departments had told Gedert they did not have a use for the property, leading him to believe that he could sell it in order to help fund the [re]Manufacturing Hub. Thursday’s conversation will likely be about money and how the city should pay for the hub, although Tovo and Council Member Leslie Pool would like to discuss the artists who could live and work there.

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