A land swap that would bring dozens of acres of new parkland to Austin's east side is set to move ahead this fall, more than two years after city voters first authorized the exchange, Community Impact reported.
The trade that could be advanced by City Council Thursday involves the Austin Parks and Recreation Department's 9-acre Central Maintenance Complex at 2525 South Lakeshore Boulevard. That facility would be exchanged for about 50 acres that would be converted into new city parkland between the Colorado River and Walnut Creek near US 183.
The civic land deal is lined up with Austin-based tech company Oracle, headquartered off Lakeshore Boulevard next door to the city maintenance compound. Oracle also owns several other properties between Lakeshore and Riverside Drive.
The potential future 50-acre riverfront park, the former Driveway Austin racetrack, neighbors existing city green spaces including John Treviño Jr. Metropolitan Park and the Colorado/Walnut Greenbelt.
The swap was made possible by Austin voters' passage of Proposition B in November 2021; state law requires voter approval for any loss of civic parkland, and the maintenance yard is zoned for that use.
The ballot item was crafted by city officials and headlined by the potential trade of the Lakeshore parks property for the dozens of acres of new green space, as well as the construction of a replacement maintenance complex for Austin's parks department and the restoration of a maintenance area at Fiesta Gardens on Lady Bird Lake.
Given the narrow scope of Proposition B's requirements, Oracle ended up as the only interested party pursuing the swap weeks after the November 2021 election. The company went on to buy the Driveway property ahead of a final land trade.
As laid out in Proposition B, Oracle would be required to offer that parkland as well as support for the new maintenance compound and the Fiesta Gardens project. Together, those pieces must at least match the Central Maintenance Complex's value.
The parks department has pointed to a need to upgrade its existing lakeside maintenance facilities, including Fiesta Gardens and the Lakeshore site that's labeled as "functionally challenging" and deteriorating after several decades of use. The transaction would result in a new facility being built at Bolm District Park.
The replacement facility provided by Oracle could feature more than 68,000 square feet of storage and work spaces, a nearly 20,000-square-foot administration building and a fueling center spread across about 8 acres of Bolm Park, according to a draft outline of the proposal.
The square footage and acreage of the replacement plan would meet or equal elements at the existing Central Maintenance Complex and Fiesta Gardens.