Demolition of Austin Convention Center on the table as expansion talks continue
Austin Convention Center representatives presented expansion options to the Downtown Commission on July 21 that included one alternative to demolish the existing center.
A $1.3 billion plan includes the demolition and reconstruction of the existing center in the second and third phases.
Austin Convention Center
City staff members are developing a financial plan and proof of concept using the Palm District Plan, council resolutions, The University of Texas at Austin studies, and the center’s 2020 master plan update as guides.
The master plan calls for expanding exhibition space from 247,000 to 450,000 square feet. In order to remain competitive in the convention market, the plan states that the center would need a minimum of 360,000 square feet of exhibition space.
Meeting space of 65,000 square feet would rise to 120,000 to 140,000 square feet under the master plan target. Minimum programming needs would require 180,000 square feet of meeting space.
The master plan recommends between 100,000 and 120,000 square feet of ballroom space, up from the current 64,000 square feet. An expansion would also allow for a 100,000-square-foot multipurpose hall as well.
One commissioner recommended using a public-private partnership (P3) as a funding vehicle, though convention center staff said only a portion of the project would be viable for a P3.
Austin officials anticipate issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) in the fall for architecture/engineering professional services and a request for proposals (RFP) for a construction manager at risk.
Design work would begin in spring or summer 2022 with the City Council scheduled to approve a contract for general contractor services that summer.