After the Commissioners Court voted to solicit proposals from potential private partners interested in both putting up land for the project and building the facility, Travis County’s search for a new site on which to build a new civil courthouse has taken an unprecedented turn.
This adds a new wrinkle to the search that has heretofore focused primarily on simply finding a suitable property.
An exhaustive research for potential sites from a last was held by both the county and the private sector back in 2016. Ultimately, the county began negotiations on an unidentified privately held site in Central Austin whose owner offered to build the courthouse.
Plans to replace the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse have been made for over a decade. The effort hit a major engagement in 2015 when voters rejected a US$287 million bond that would have paid for the construction of a new civil and family courts complex at 308 Guadalupe St.
The county struck a deal with a separate developer to return that property to private use last summer. The 99-year ground lease will be worth an estimated US$430 million over the length of its term.