City Council votes to force purchase of northwest Austin property, thwarting developer's plan for hotel
Over objections from a developer who had plans to build a hotel on a parcel of land in northwest Austin, the Austin City Council approved using eminent domain proceedings to force the purchase of 11.4 acres located off Loop 360 and Spicewood Springs.
Developer David Kahn's plan for building a six-story, lodge-style hotel in a northwest section of Austin's greenbelt system has hit numerous snags since it was announced five years ago.
Residents signed petitions against it, and both the Bull Creek Foundation and Yaupon Bluffs Homeowners Association oppose it. Nevertheless, Kahn, a prominent local real estate figure, was getting close to final permits with the city in recent weeks to move forward with the project.
On Wednesday, the Austin City Council voted to take up eminent domain proceedings in order to condemn the land and extend the greenbelt into the 11.4 acres where Kahn was to build the 57-room hotel.
"I think it is a huge abuse of power," Kahn told the Austin Business Journal before the vote.
Under the city's plan, Austin would buy the land for $4.5 million and finish off the Upper Bull Creek Greenbelt from Loop 360 to Canyon Vista Middle School. The land is worth $1.1 million for tax purposes, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District. But Kahn argues that it is worth more than $9 million—and plans to fight to get that much from the city.
Austin took similar steps to expand other parks around the city, including Barton Creek Greenbelt, Givens District Park and Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park, according to Austin Business Journal.
The land lies off of Loop 360 and Spicewood Springs Road, but sits just outside the city limits, though it is within Austin's control under its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
This is just one part of a much larger set of moves by the city to expand its network of parks, including the purchase of nearly 370 acres in the last two years.
This article was updated after the vote.
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