A New Park For Austin’s Waterfront

Seaholm Waterfront
mock-up of the new Seaholm Waterfront from the Studio Gang report

Food trucks. Kayak parking. A coffee shop. Wifi hotspots. Concerts. Play spaces.

This is what might be coming to the abandoned Seaholm Intake building on Lady Bird Lake.

Wait. What’s the Seaholm Intake Building again?

Originally built to pump water for cooling into the nearby Seaholm Power Plant in the 1950s, the Seaholm Intake building fell out of use decades ago when the power plant was decommissioned. The building is an example of Art Deco design and is on the National Register of Historic Places. (You might recognize it as that big, gray building you pass by when you’re paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake).

Seaholm Intake Building

About a year ago, the Austin Parks Foundation and The Trail Foundation announced that they’d be putting up the $450,000 needed to fund a planning study to transform the Seaholm Intake building and its surrounding parkland into a vibrant public space.

 

Following a series of public input session in the fall, the design firm Studio Gang (which was hired to complete the study) got to work and earlier this month, released the plans for the space.

Seaholm Waterfront
mock-up of the new Seaholm Waterfront from the Studio Gang report
So what comes next?
Completely renovating the Seaholm Intake building will be a big project that will likely have to be funded and worked on in stages. The first step will be sharing the new plans (as well as the preferred option, as selected by the Austin Parks Foundation, The Trail Foundation, and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department) with our city’s boards and commissions (aka resident advisory groups). After that, the plan will go to City Council for approval.

 

Beyond that, an exact cost estimate still needs to developed and a funding plan worked out. The funds will come from a combination of bond money, hotel occupancy taxes, and a fundraising effort led by the Austin Parks Foundation and The Trail Foundation.

 

As Katie Robillard (from the Austin Parks Foundation) explains, the ultimate goal is to create a truly public space that is open to all Austinites. 

Seaholm Waterfront
mock-up of the new Seaholm Waterfront from the Studio Gang report
Seaholm Waterfront
mock-up of the new Seaholm Waterfront from the Studio Gang report
mock-up of the new Seaholm Waterfront from the Studio Gang report
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