AISD’s Big Move
It’s musical chairs for the school district
Austin ISD's central administration is moving from its Downtown office to South Austin. On Monday, Nov. 27, trustees voted to sell the aging Carruth Administration Center on West Sixth Street, along with four other properties, and begin negotiations on a new headquarters on I-35.
The district has been considering selling the CAC for years, and briefly took bids on the property in 2011. (Infamously, five minutes after the vote to keep it, the boardroom ceiling started leaking. That's just one issue with the undersized, aging, and labyrinthine complex, which has not really suited the district's needs in a while.) With the district soon to be homeless, administrators have a new site picked out for its offices: the Southfield building at 4000 S. I-35 (at Ben White). AISD is negotiating to buy the site for $28.3 million; a purchase would finally bring all central administrative staff, many of whom work in rented offices around town, into one location. However, it would also pull AISD staff farther away from the other government agencies with which they work, including city and county offices. The new site is also less central to the district, adding different travel concerns for visitors.
The acquisition should be considered the culmination of a multi-year process. In March 2016, the administration listed 10 properties as surplus – meaning they did not suit AISD's core mission – and issued a request for proposal on alternative uses for them. Two were sold in June, and during Monday's meeting, along with the CAC sale, the board formally accepted four other offers. The Alamo Drafthouse will convert the Baker Center in Hyde Park into their new headquarters; the Foundation for the Preservation of the Historic Millett Opera House takes over the historic home of the Austin Club; and the city will use two vacant lots for affordable housing. Both the properties sold in June, as well as the Baker deal, come with a deed restriction requiring that a minimum 25% of all housing units be classified as affordable.
That leaves three properties unsold. The district keeps the Allan Center, which still houses multiple nonprofits (and advocates also want that to be used for affordable housing), as well as vacant lots at Alpine Road and Trail West Drive. The latter is actually part of a deal with the city, whereby the district maintains the site as is, exchanging impermeable cover credits to allow expansion at the overcrowded Bowie High.
• Baker Center, 3908 Avenue B, to the Alamo Drafthouse for $10.6 million
• Carruth Administration Center, 1111 W. Sixth, to SDC Austin Development Services, Inc. for $36.5 million
• Millett Opera House, 110 E. Ninth, to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Historic Millett Opera House for $3 million
• 1.234 acres on Doris Drive, for $920,000, and 7.96 acres on Tannehill Lane, for $1.96 million, to the city of Austin, for a total of $2.88 million
• 31.987 acres at Highway 183 and Loyola, to RSI Communities for $7.2 million
• 12 acres at 5101 E. 51st, to RSI Communities for $4.6 million
No Bids Accepted
• Allan Early Childhood Center, 4900 Gonzalez
• 9.318 acres at Alpine Road
• 12.496 acres at 4806 Trail West Drive
• Southfield Building, 4000 South IH-35