DRONE: Nestled out of sight on Lake Austin, a massive $90M campus funded by H-E-B's CEO barrels toward completion
Along a placid stretch on Lake Austin, tucked out of sight behind a stand of cypress trees, a massive and bustling 44-acre construction project is burgeoning in the hills near the picturesque Pennybacker Bridge northwest of downtown.
Here are designer renderings of the campus, courtesy of The Holdsworth Center.
Aerial drone images captured by Austonia this week shows a construction site in full swing, with nearly a dozen structures springing up on one of Lake Austin's last large undeveloped land tracts - the site of the The Holdsworth Center, a new $90 million nonprofit educator-training center funded by H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt and set to begin operations next spring.
The site is at the bottom of a tree-packed hill dropping to the lakefront from RM 2222 near the confluence of Lake Austin and Bull Creek.
It is all but invisible to cars traveling above it on 2222 and boats cruising past the thicket of trees that conceal it onshore.
"It is one of the last large undeveloped tracts on Lake Austin and is likely the last one inside Loop 360," David Armbrust, the Austin attorney handling the zoning case, told the Austin-American Statesman in 2017, which reported the value of the land at nearly $14M.
When it's complete, the campus will include 180,000 square feet of learning and overnight space in 18 buildings, including a 300-person capacity event room and 186 rooms for overnight stays, according to the center's website.
Butt, who has pledged $100 million to the project, named it for his mother, Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth, a former school teacher and philanthropist.
Holdsworth officials said the delay from fall 2020 to spring 2021 was due in part to construction issues and in part to the coronavirus.
See land use and mobility plans on file with the city embedded in this article.
Designers Lake Flato Architects and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects included undeveloped area on more than half of the site, preserving 3,000 native trees for visitors to enjoy while they meet and relax during training events.
The Holdsworth has been training educators at various sites for three years, but the campus will serve "as a permanent home for public school educators to develop as leaders, a place they will return to time and again to grow, learn, collaborate, reflect and gather inspiration to take back to their districts.
The center will be available for third-party rentals to benefit the mission of the center.
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The Texas French Bread Bakery, located on 2900 Rio Grande Street, has been completely destroyed after a fire erupted on Monday night.
The Austin Fire Department responded to the fire just before 11 p.m., where they arrived to see flames coming from the roof of the bakery. Firefighters fought the fire for about an hour before the roof collapsed.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters say the iconic building was completely totaled.
Texas French Bread just went up in flames pic.twitter.com/agXqKN3c00
— Jordan (@AimIessFriend) January 25, 2022
AFD determined that the fire was accidental and caused by mechanical failure. AFD said the damages amounted to $1.6 million total: $1.1 million in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to the contents of the bakery.
This year, Texas French Bread will celebrate 40 years of business. Before the bakery occupied the building, it was the Rome Inn, a music venue that hosted 1970s artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Austin's first major league team is ready to extend its reach with a new collaborative sports complex The Pitch, an Austin FC destination packed with local food, beverages and Verde fervor is set to open in Northeast Austin in February.
The Pitch, a collaboration between Austin FC and Karlin Real Estate, among other entities, will be located in the 50-acre Parmer Pond District, which already hosts the club's practice facility St. David's Performance Center.
Dubbed a "true destination" for both soccer fans and the community, The Pitch will consist of multilevel shipping containers designed by Mark Odom Studio that will carve out into a 1,200-seat stadium complete with a soccer pitch made of turf, food and beverage options and a five-acre "Parmer Pond" featuring jogging trails.
Made from multilevel shipping containers, The Pitch will include food and a 1,200-seat soccer pitch made from artificial turf. (The Pitch)
“The launch of Karlin’s new food and entertainment experience will greatly enhance the Parmer development while perfectly complimenting St. David’s Performance Center,” Austin FC founder Anthony Precourt said. "The Pitch... will offer a strong variety of food options and gathering spaces for guests who will utilize St. David’s Performance Center and Parmer Field for a variety of events.”
The Pitch project lead Dave Greeley, who helped come up with the concept, is a former president of Austin FC parent company, Two Oak Ventures.
“The vision behind The Pitch at the Parmer Pond District is to be a first-of-its-kind sports, dining and entertainment destination,” said Dave Greeley, The Pitch project lead and Team Orbis president. “This will be an unmatched experience for Parmer Austin tenants, Austin FC and club supporters, and the community."
With its proximity to the practice center, the venture hopes to contribute to the growing "soccer city" of Austin during Austin FC matches and youth games with the Austin FC Academy hosted at the St. David's Performance Center.
The Pitch hopes to converge both community and club interests with Austin FC. (The Pitch)
In addition to the soccer pitch, stadium and pond, The Pitch will provide a foody experience made by the creative team behind Austin staples like Fareground and Easy Tiger. The complex will offer local bites including:
- Ranger Burger, which offers beers and burgers made from highly-coveted Wagyu beef direct from Ranger Cattle in East Austin
- Ga Roti, which merges flavors from Northern Vietnam with the culinary techniques of France to create a unique rotisserie chicken joint
- Taco Flats, a local taco chain serving Mexico City-style tacos, micheladas and more
- Sand Bar, which fulfills its namesake with beauty cocktails, local beers and a sand volleyball court
- Coffee Club, a coffee shop and bakery
- Corner Kick Bar, the soccer-focused main bar of The Pitch complete with "tunes, TVs and (a) beer garden"
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