Austin Council votes for $1.2B Convention Center expansion plan
Momentum is building for a proposed expansion of the Austin Convention Center with a unanimous vote by the City Council for a $1.2 billion plan on May 23.
Austin Convention Center
Council members authorized city staff members to research financing for the expansion as the next step in the process. The council’s vote represents a recent shift in support for the project after a resolution by City Council member Kathie Tovo directed staff to act on a $1.5 billion option that was part of a University of Texas at Austin study released in March.
The option calls for demolition and rebuilding on the current Convention Center site and expanding its footprint in the process. The project would build a new center west of Trinity, demolish the existing facility east of Trinity, and orient the new facility toward the Waller Creek Corridor while preserving the historic Palm School. Other features would include a new pedestrian promenade at Neches Street, one block for public event space, one block for a public-private partnership opportunity, a new public pavilion on the park and below-grade service and parking.
At its meeting last week, the Austin Tourism Commission lent its support to the plan by voting to recommend that the City Council adopt the UT report and implement the Visitor Impact Task Force’s findings. The task force advised that the expansion costs could come from a 2 percentage point hike in Austin’s hotel occupancy tax.