Acquisition package proposed for AMC

Published 10:22 am Friday, August 22, 2008

The Austin Port Authority regifted four acres of industrial property to the city of Austin Thursday, land that will, in turn, be used as part of an acquisition deal with Austin Medical Center for its property at the downtown jail and justice center site.

The proposed package is $416,400 for AMC, which includes $300,000 in cash, $26,400 in relocation costs and four acres of land at the Cook Farm Industrial site. Two acres of the Cook Farm property will house a 10,000 square-foot warehouse in a first phase of development.

“The other portion (2.19 acres) may potentially be a phase two for the site,” community development director Craig Hoium said, adding that AMC may utilize the space for office staff. The hospital would have first right-of-refusal for a five-year period.

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The AMC board of directors has already approved the deal, Hoium said, though the Austin City Council must give the land transfer unanimous blessing in the coming weeks as well.

No purchase agreement has been signed, though Hoium indicated that the AMC board of directors has approved the package.

“If they don’t do it, the property would remain with the Port Authority,” city administrator Jim Hurm said.

AMC owns the old Usem’s Chevrolet car dealership on the corner of Second Avenue and Second Street Northeast. Usem’s has since relocated to a commercial district off 17th Avenue Northwest.

AMC uses the structure for records and office storage, Hoium said, adding that the city will provide rental support in the form of relocation expenses for an interim building while the warehouse at Cook Farm is under construction on the southerly two-acre portion.

The land is located kiddy corner to the building occupied by Smyth Cos., a local printing outfit that is already operational though still completing its Aug. 2 move, according to Hoium.

Thus far, the city has closed deals with four businesses — Showgirls Saloon, Beltone Hearing Aid Center, Farmers Insurance Group and Thirsty’s Bar — on the two-square blocks downtown to host the jail and justice center.

According to Hoium, another is expected to sign an agreement this afternoon.

The city has budgeted about $4.5 million for acquisition, demolition and site preparation for the $32 million project.

It’s hoped that the property, spanning from Fourth to Second Avenues and Third to Second Streets Northeast, will be ready for construction by Dec. 31.