Port Authority looking to attract business downtown

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Austin Port Authority is doing a bit of housework at its upcoming meeting.

Port Authority board members are expected to approve an agreement with the Development Corporation of Austin to refinance the Smythe building at Cook Farm Industrial Park. The board could also transfer ownership from the city of Austin to the Port Authority of an empty lot at 410 N. Main St., the former home of Top Ten Nails.

City Finance Director Tom Dankert said the agreement with the DCA stems from loans given by the Port Authority in 2007 totaling $400,000 so the DCA could build the facility, but the DCA is refinancing its first mortgage on the Smythe building to secure lower interest rates on its payments. Since the Port Authority has a lien on the property and Community National Bank wants to ensure it has first priority on payments, the DCA needs an agreement with the Port Authority, according to Dankert.

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City Administrator Jim Hurm, also the executive director of the Port Authority, said the property on Main Street is being shifted to the Port Authority so officials can market and develop it. Community Development Director Craig Hoium said no business or owner has shown interest in the property yet.