Friday, October 15, 2004

Featherlite tract surveyed but stagnant

My house in Austin backs up to the Featherlite tract that was purchased by former Dell Chief Financial Officer Tom Meredith. Meredith actually visited with neighbors one evening at our home last spring, and has been generous so far about accomodating reasonable community concerns. We've really appreciated that, all in all. Most significantly, he decreased the amount of impervious cover after concerns were raised about the effects of the development on neighborhood drainage (the property lies next to a creek at the bottom of a large hill).

Last we heard, the commercial section of the development is completely on hold. Originally Meredith and his entourage hoped that the Austin Children's Museum and KLRU (Austin's local public television station) would become anchor tenants for the commercial complex, and serve as a draw for other supporting commercial businesses like restaurants or small shops. Meredith offered to donate the land to those two entities, both of which obviously are non-profit organizations, but they would have had to build on it with their own funds. Both entities wound up passing, so now the commerical portion of the development is in limbo.

Meredith plans to move forward with a small development of condominiums, with its own binding homeowners' association contracts, that will go in betwen 14th and 16th streets, from the existing houses all the way flush up to Boggy Creek. Fourteenth St. would be extended, and 16th would be extended past Miriam St. to the East; 14th and 16th would be connected by a new road running along the edge of the railroad tracks. I always thought some of that was flood plain, certainly some of it floods sometimes, but the city maps insist the formal, legal flood plain only exists on the other side of the creek. We'll see, I suppose, once it's built out.

Survey stakes went up a few months ago, and the grass was mowed, making us think something might be happening soon. But most of the stakes have fallen down now, the grass is knee high, and there hasn't been much action beyond some neighborhood dog walking and kids racing up and down the odd concrete strips that dot the tracts' landscape. It's zoned, platted and ready to go, though, so once Meredith decides to move forward it could happen quickly.


Anonymous said...

Well, we're now in early 2006 and I still haven't seen any disturbance of ground on the former Featherlite tract in central east Austin. Does anyone know what the status is? I haven't been able to find any recent articles or new clips or anything.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

His anchor tenants fell through and hte project was delayed. Now they're talking about doing the low-income housing piece on the south end of the tract first, but every time they announce a start time it passes without ground breaking. At this point, there's no telling. Best,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping up with this post, and actually, I enjoy the rest of your site as well.

Driving home yesterday, I noticed that there was a drill rig out on the central portion of the featherlite tract. This type of rig is typically used to evaluate environmental conditions as part of the due diligence proces, or to evaluate geotechnical parameters for construction purposes. Either way, it is encouraging from the standpoint that there may be a new anchor tenant on the hook or that construction activities may be beginning soon.