For more than half a century the Seaholm Power Plant has been an unmistakable part of downtown Austin's urban fabric — an iconic structure just beyond the north shore of Lady Bird Lake seen by millions of passersby annually.
Though it stopped generating power in 1996, the graceful Art Deco structure remains a significant part of Austin's architectural heritage, and an ongoing transformation is establishing Seaholm as the city's new cultural hub.
... When completed, the 7.8-acre site will include a vibrant mix of outdoor gathering and event spaces, more than 100,000 square feet of office space, nearly 300 contemporary apartments, local retail shops and restaurants, and Austin's first Trader Joe's, which will serve as the development's neighborhood grocery store.
Providing for convenient public accessibility and a variety of multifaceted gathering spaces — while retaining the site's rich and beloved historical character — were key objectives for the transformation. Accordingly, the design creates a large, sloped lawn south of the main generator building, adjacent to Cesar Chavez Street, which preserves views to the historic façade and creates a multipurpose, amphitheatre-like event space ideally suited for concerts, festivals and farmers markets. The space will be capable of hosting 1,500 to 2,000 patrons and will include locations for two large event tents.
The design of this space pays homage to the power plant's historic character and organizes walks and pedestrian areas in alignment with the axes of the existing infrastructure. Additionally, the design of the space provides a connection to the Lance Armstrong Bikeway and creates an additional pedestrian lane along Cesar Chavez. Also of note, two streets running north and south, West Street and Walter Seaholm Drive, will be extended from Cesar Chavez Street to Third Street, and the design accommodates a future commuter rail planned along the site's western edge.
In addition, a large interior plaza will provide a variety of gathering areas for patrons, employees and residents of the development, with distinct areas affording intimate space for informal meetings. These areas, or zones, will be situated under the existing power plant framework, with the plant's machinery offering shade and a nod to the site's former industrial use. Three levels of underground parking beneath the plaza will accommodate parking in a convenient and efficient manner.
Next to the power plant's towering stacks, a separate area known as the grove will include a wood deck and informal seating situated under a bosque of shade trees, and a lawn in the plaza will provide additional space for events of approximately 350 to 500 people. A mews through the plaza will facilitate pedestrian movement and allow short-term parking for the retail and office uses. Like the front yard, the plaza design pays homage to the plant's industrial character, including details such as a fountain with misters that recall the steam that powered the plant's generators as well as shade structures reflecting the plant's industrial aesthetic. Café tables and chairs will be provided at several locations as outdoor seating for café and restaurant patrons.
At the project's western entrance, a grand staircase and entry plaza along Seaholm Drive will serve as a ceremonial entry, and pedestrian-oriented streetscapes with seating opportunities, shade and various site furnishings will provide a pleasurable walking experience along West Street, Third Street and Seaholm Drive. A multipurpose pool and terrace area will be provided above the parking structure for use by the residential tower's tenants. This space will include pool decking and gathering spaces, site furnishings, shade structures, seating, and a welcoming landscape.
In addition to being preserved, the plant's five smoke stacks will be complemented with lighting, seating and foliage, and parts of the plant's mechanical substructure that surrounded the boilers will be kept and exposed, providing a dynamic context for the plaza with opportunities for public art and shade structures. The emphasis on preservation and reuse also resulted in repurposing the existing underground intake pipes that supplied water from the adjacent Lady Bird Lake to the plant for cooling. The new design employs that infrastructure for rainwaterharvesting purposes with a capacity exceeding 300,000 gallons. Additional sustainable approaches include recycling plant materials to build trellises and other project elements, along with a landscape comprised of native and adaptive plants.
The overall transformation of the historic Seaholm Power Plant breathes new life into an iconic piece of downtown Austin's built environment by preserving the extraordinary Art Deco structure and its associated components. More exciting, however, is the potential for the site to be a true urban hub of activity, with vibrant live, work and play components that help meet the needs of Austin's rapidly growing population — in an urban design that looks boldly to the future without compromising the site's rich history and character.
The company that is redeveloping the Seaholm Power Plant into a mixed-use project has tapped Stream Realty Partners to handle retail and office leasing.
Stream Realty brokers Matt Frizzell, Brad Philp, Kevin Granger, Bryan Dabbs and Edvin Beasely will join forces with John Rosato and Danny Roth. Rosato and Roth are executives with Southwest Strategies Group, the managing partner of Seaholm Power LLC.
The Stream Realty team was selected in part because of its successful leasing experience at Penn Field, a mixed-use project in South Austin. That development was repurposed from a military facility.
... With large blocks of available office space becoming the rarity in downtown Austin, the repurposed space at Seaholm may be attractive to the growing numbers of technology and media companies landing in the city. The power plant structure alone could provide about 150,000-square-feet of contiguous space for a tenant.
Formal groundbreaking on the Seaholm Power Plant redevelopment is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2013.
... The organization will present its 10th installment of the Samuel Benton Cantey III Lecture & Preservation Awards Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St., in the Cultural District.
The speaker will be John C. Rosato, managing partner of the historic Seaholm Power Plant redevelopment project in downtown Austin.
As a principal of Southwest Strategies Group Inc., Rosato has provided brokerage and development services to Austin for 30 years. He served as general partner and planning consultant for the 230,000-square-foot Penn Field, which was named the Best Mixed-Use Development of 2004 by the Austin Business Journal. Rosato is president of the Heritage Society of Austin and co-chairman of Austin’s Landmark Commission.
Austin City Council members will allow the main Seaholm Power Plant building to be used as office space.
The revision to the original master development agreement – which allowed only retail uses – was requested by developer Seaholm Power LLC.
The developer is in final negotiations with a potential tenant for the 115,000-square-foot space, said John Rosato with Southwest Strategies Group Inc., which is part of the Seaholm redevelopment partnership.
... The amendment still allows for retail and restaurant uses, and Rosato said they are working to allow public use of the building.
The City Council also approved several other changes to the 2008 agreement at its Thursday meeting.
John Rosato, a partner with Southwest Strategies Group, the company redeveloping the decommissioned plant, said that though putting on events in the building would be a possibility, the proposed amendments are currently needed to move what has been an eight-year project into its final stages.
"The two amendments to the MDA are driven by the market, not by us," Rosato told Tovo. "And the amendments don't fundamentally change any of the economics of the MDA. At this point in time, we have a site plan that's close to being released, we've hired a construction company, documents are being completed, we've signed a lease with a major retailer — Trader Joe's — and these actions that we're asking for are essential for moving the project forward and to not losing the momentum and to not losing the tenants we have processed."
When Tovo asked about the possibility of delaying the Council vote on the amendment by a week and holding a briefing and a public hearing on the amendments on Thursday, Rosato expressed in the strongest terms that any delay could "seriously compromise the future of the site."
"We are at a point where we really are in final negotiations, and if we lose this tenant a lot of things will occur," Rosato said. 'I think people understand that the purpose of this is to save this building. ... The future is bright if we get it going, and we can get it going now."
The Austin City Council is slated to approve a new vision for the Seaholm project brought about by current market conditions at its Thursday meeting.
Retail will no longer be the only approved use for the 115,000-square-foot main power plant building if council members approve proposed changes to the 2008 Master Development Agreement with Seaholm Power LLC.
Detailed market studies and potential tenant interviews have led to the conclusion that the main power plant building is not an optimal location for retail due to the lack of visibility and parking, according to the MDA amendment.
The Seaholm project will still include retail tenants — including Trader Joe’s Co. — in other buildings on the site and two outdoor public spaces, but city officials said Tuesday in a work session on the topic that they would also like to keep the main building available to the public.
John Rosato with Southwest Strategies Group Inc., which is part of the Seaholm redevelopment partnership, said they are in final negotiations with a potential tenant for the building and are working on ways to let the public use the building.
Additional changes to the MDA would allow the developer to build apartments instead of condominiums and to make the extension of Third Street through the property a public street instead of private, as originally anticipated.
The city will also decide whether to relocate 315 planned parking spaces from an adjacent property to be included in a garage under the Seaholm project.
An expansive sloping lawn conducive to live performances and a large plaza will flank the former Seaholm Power Plant on its north and south, creating two public spaces that will host activities ranging from concerts to weddings to art shows, according to landscaping plans completed this month for the downtown redevelopment project.
The prominent smoke stacks of the defunct plant will be preserved and accented by seating, foliage and lighting. Portions of the power plant’s mechanical substructure that surrounded the boilers will be preserved and exposed, creating a dramatic backdrop for the plaza that may include public art and shade structures.
The landscaping plans, which were completed this month by Austin-based landscape architecture company TBG, Inc., brings out the developer's wish for public accessibility.
"I've really stressed to TBG that landscaping is what knits the project together. I want people to experience this as a unified development," said John Rosato, partner with Southwest Strategies Group, which is redeveloping the decommissioned power plant and the 7.8 acres beneath it.
... "The plaza is a large rooftop garden in a lot of respects," said Ott, whose company garnered accalim for its work at the state Capitol and Laguna Gloria, a restored 1916 villa on Lake Austin that is listed ont he National Registry of Historic Places.
... "It's a very comlex site with a need to pay homage to the past and to bring a new appeal to an iconic building," Ott said.
The landscaping gives a nod to sustainability with the use of native plants. Underground intake pipes that supplied water from Lady Bird Lake to the plant for cooling will be repurposed for rainwater harvesting with a capacity of more than 300,000 gallons. Materials will be recycled to build trellises and other design features.
"Sophisticated urban bohemians" – shoppers and diners who are "independent thinkers, global nomads and cultural trend-setters" – are the target market for the developers seeking to fill apartments and lease retail and restaurant space int he re-constituted iconic former Seaholm Power Plant development. This is what the developer told CultureMap Austin.
"The demographics are geared toward urban-oriented 25-to-50-year-olds with an appreciation for authentic culture," John Rosato, managing partner of developer Seaholm Power LLC, told CultureMap Austin. "We're looking for strong, local, regional or even distinct national tenants that will add to the unique ambience Seaholm inherently possesses."
And the lead pump-priming tenant has already been signed. California-based grocer Trader Joe's will be the biggest retail tenant. It competes with Whole Foods Market whose flagship store is just a few blocks away.
"Seaholm has a distinct sense of history, architecture and ambience," Rosato continued. "There's a unique vibe that made it an instant cultural hit with everyone from fine arts performers to hip-hop artists that clamored to hold events there. In our minds, that confirmed the need to gear our efforts toward tenants with a deep appreciation for timeless urban culture."
Seaholm Power LLC, the company behind theSeaholm Power Plant project, is looking for tenants that cater to "sophisticated urban bohemian" to help fill up to 50,000-square-feet of retail space, Culture Map Austin reports.
John Rosato, managing partner of Seaholm Power, said retail and restaurant tenants will fill 1,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet each — significantly less than Trader Joe's Co., which will occupy 11,000 square feet — at the 8-acre development at Cesar Chavez and San Antonio streets.
Rosato said the Seaholm project is seeking retail and restaurant tenants that cater to “sophisticated urban bohemians” — shoppers and diners who are “independent thinkers, global nomads and cultural trend-setters.”
... “We’re looking for other strong, local, regional or even distinct national tenants that will add to the unique ambiance Seaholm inherently possesses,” Rosato tells CultureMap Austin. “The demographics are geared toward urban-oriented 25- to 50-year-olds with an appreciation for authentic culture.”
... “That said, Seaholm has a distinct sense of history, architecture and ambiance. There’s a unique vibe that made it an instant cultural hit with everyone from fine arts performers to hip-hop artists that clamored to hold events there. In our minds, that confirmed the need to gear our efforts toward tenants with a deep appreciation for timeless urban culture,” Rosato says.
California-based specialty grocer Trader Joe's is coming to Austin next year with a new store at the Seaholm development downtown, company officials said.
The Austin store's planned site is just blocks from some stiff competition — Whole Foods' flagship store and headquarters at Sixth Street and Lamar Boulevard.
"We are thrilled to be coming to Austin and look forward to being part of this wonderful neighborhood," said Trader Joe's spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki. She declined to give a more specific opening date for the store.
The Austin Trader Joe's store will be part of the proposed mixed-use project at the former Seaholm Power Plant on a 7.8-acre site downtown. Plans for the project, which is scheduled to break ground in July, call for 298 apartments, 130,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of retail space and an acre of outdoor event space.
"Of all the nationally known retailers to land in Austin over the past decade, it's safe to say Trader Joe's is right up there in terms of the degree of enthusiasm in which they're welcomed," said John Rosato, managing partner for Seaholm Power LLC, the company overseeing the redevelopment project.
Austinites woke up this morning to the news, first reported by the Statesman, that Trader Joe's plans to open a location at the soon-to-be-constructed Seaholm Development downtown.
The Monrovia, California-based specialty grocery retailer first revealed its Texas expansion almost a year ago, but announced stores in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, the Woodlands and Plano before saying it would open a store in the city that spawned Whole Foods.
Here are some details on the planned Austin location:
Trader Joe's Co, a natural and organic food grocery chain, plans to open its first store in downtown Austin next year in the Seaholm power plant redevelopment, the Austin American-Statesman reports.
Speculation was circulating in January that the California-based grocer may open a store in Austin. The new 11,500-square-foot downtown store will be located at 211 Seaholm Drive. Officials did not disclose a specific opening date.
Trader Joe’s, the California-based grocery store, will find a home in Austin soon.
The store will be part of a series of renovations and developments set for the Seaholm Power Plant, the historic industrial zone on the edge of Austin’s downtown area, and just blocks away from the Whole Foods flagship store. From Austin-American Statesman:
In Central Texas, Trader Joe's will compete against Whole Foods, which is adding two local stores this summer;
H-E-B's Central Market; and smaller organic grocers such as Sprouts Farmers Market.
The target demographic for Trader Joe's is an "urban high-income resident" who enjoys the company's house brands and specials like $2 bottles of wine, said David Livingston, an analyst at DJL Research, a grocery consulting firm based in Waukesha, Wis.
The stores, which typically have a Hawaiian motif and are "very competitive" on cost, typically have strong followings, he said. But Austin might be a different case because of entrenched chains like Whole Foods and H-E-B. "(Austin) is exactly the kind of market they like, but they're not going to impact the competition too much here," Livingston said. "I don't see anybody at Whole Foods or H-E-B losing any sleep over this."
Trader Joe's had six other Texas locations confirmed to open this year, including Fort Worth, Houston, Plano, Dallas, The Woodlands and San Antonio.
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Trader Joe's, the quirky California-based chain of specialty stores, is planning to open a location as part of the redevelopment of the Seaholm Power Plant site just south of Downtown Austin.
"Of all the nationally-known retailers to land in Austin over the past decade, it's safe to say Trader Joe's is right up there in terms of the degree of enthusiasm in which they're welcomed," said John Rosato, managing partner for Seaholm Power , which is overseeing the redevelopment project.
"Trader Joe's fits right in with our plan to draw tenants that will help create a sense of community and purpose for the southwest segment of downtown," he added.
The Austin location marks the eighth Texas store the company has announced. The others are in the Dallas and Houston areas.
The company said the Austin store, which is expected to open next year, will mix "traditional Trader Joe’s elements such as cedar covered walls and Hawaiian motifs, combined with a local flair that includes art celebrating the neighborhood."
Seaholm is on an 8-acre site bounded by Third Street on the north, the planned central library on the east and Lady Bird Lake on the south. A commuter rail line is planned for the west side of the property.
The redevelopment plan calls for an acre of outdoor event space, nearly 300 apartments, 130,000 square feet of office space and about 40,000 square feet of retail space.
Construction on the site could begin in July. According to Rosato the first part of the development will be a three story underground garage that will service Trader Joe's and the nearby buildings.
Power Moves Savvy Designers Reboot an Iconic Industrial Plant
More than two decades later, the hulking structure near Lady Bird Lake is poised to become one of the busiest hubs in downtown. This July, Seaholm Power Development will begin renovating the historic plant and, by the end of 2013, will have transformed the stark building, adding offices, retail shops and restaurants.
"It's an incredibly good location," says John Rosato with Southwest Strategies Group, which is part of the Seaholm Power Development partnership, adding that the building will be LEED certified and will harvest rainwater in the plant's existing infrastructure components to completely irrigate 75,000 square feet of landscaping.
Austin residents got a chance to see the proposed renderings for the redesign of the Seaholm District on Tuesday night.
The Seaholm District is a former industrial section of southwest downtown Austin that the City wants to transform into a vibrant urban neighborhood
At the core of the district is the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant, which will be redeveloped into a landmark residential and retail destination.
Downtown projects set to start in '!2?
By Shonda Novak
October 19, 2011
Seaholm's lead developer, Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group, plans about 450,000 square feet of development at the 7.8 acre site. The landmark power plant will be renovated to house a special-events center, office, shops and restaurants.
... Condos had been envisioned for the Seaholm site, but the high-rise will now feature "ground-floor retial with approximately 300 apartment units above," said John Rosato, principal with Southwest Strategies. A hotel is no longer planned as part of the Seaholm site, Rosato said.
Construction on the redesign of the Seaholm District in downtown Austin could begin next year.
Plans for the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant include redeveloping the area into an urban neighborhood and retail space.
After years of delays, construction in sight for areas in Seaholm District, official says
By Shonda Novak
October 18, 2011
Two long-awaited projects that developers say will help transform downtown Austin are poised to break ground next year, a city official said Tuesday.
After several years of delays due in part to a recession that dried up financing for development, construction is expected to start on redevelopment projects at the former Seaholm Power Plant and the site of the former Green Water Treatment Plant east of Seaholm, said Fred Evins, the city's project manager overseeing the public-private projects.
"The stars are aligning," Evins said.
The projects will transform the decommissioned plants on downtown's southwestern edge into lively hubs with shops, hotels, condominiums, apartments and other development.
The city hosted an open house for the public on the Seaholm District projects at Austin City Hall on Tuesday.
"I'm thrilled to see it move forward, because this will be a very exciting extension of our downtown into the southwest quadrant," Evins said.
City officials said the projects will put 13 acres of underutilized land back on the tax rolls. The land, along Cesar Chavez Street and stretching from Lamar Boulevard to San Antonio street, is the largest assemblage of city-owned acreage downtown remaining for potential redevelopment.
... Seaholm lead developer, Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group plans about 450,000 square feet of development at the 7.8-acre site. The landmark power plant will be renovated to house a special-events center, offices, shops and restaurants.
... Condos had been envisioned for the Seaholm site, but the high-rise will now feature "ground-floor retail with approximately 300 apartment units above," said John Rosato, principal with Southwest Strategies . A hotel is no longer planned as part of the Seaholm site, Rosato said.
Off The Grid: Recharging Public Art + Design, a full-day symposium hosted by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program, will feature an intimate look at existing and future public art and design in the Seaholm District, a former industrial section of southwest downtown Austin that is undergoing a transformation into a vibrant urban neighborhood.
The symposium will take place from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant located at the terminus of West Street at 3rd Street. Check-in and breakfast begin at 8:30 am.
A uniquely Austin adaptive reuse project, theSeaholmDistrict serves as a model for sustainable urban revitalization nationwide. Panel speakers include Jana McCann, McCann Adams Studio; Greg Kiloh, Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, City of Austin; and John Rosato, Southwest Strategies Group.
The Seaholm power plant redevelopment can proceed now that a major obstacle was removed, said John Rosato, a principal at Southwest Strategies Group and the spinoff it established for the project, Seaholm Power LLC. Now that Union Pacific Corp. agreed to release an easement of less than 1 acre to the city, Rosato's team hopes to complete its site plan with the city of Austin by year's end. The new target date for the 7.8-acre project's construction is mid-2012, he said.
The developers are "in due diligence mode" and "updating our plan," Rosato said, adding that Seaholm's height and scale will not change markedly. The Seaholm project was originally planned to have 80 condominiums, 160 hotel rooms, up to 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 100,000 square feet of office space.
Last March, vanguard musician Ellen Fullman and Austin’s New Music Co-op awed with a captivating concert featuring Fullman’s 100-foot Long String Instrument set up in the decommissioned Art Deco Seaholm Power Plant.
It was a singular event — an unlikely but perfect union between unusual venue and progressive music.
Recorded at Seaholm, “Flowers,” a meditative and rather plaintive piece, opens with the sound of birds chirping thanks to a flock of sparrows that nest inside Seaholm’s cathedral-like cast-concrete space. The chirping continues to filter in and out of the nearly 10 minute composition.
Gliding out over the waters of Town Lake Sunday at dusk, a passenger on one of two Capital Cruises boats making its way west toward the old Power Plant Intake Building on the shore, I had more time than I’d had in a while to simply bask in my surroundings: Austin’s skyline all lit up, the Frost Tower its signature edifice; the sight of a lone swan floating between the boats; the sounds of a freight train rumbling on the bridge tracks over the lake; the feel of gliding over water.
I was here to experience Blue Lapis Light’s “Devotion,” a 45-minute site-specific aerial dance piece being performed by 15 artists under the direction of artistic and executive director Sally Jacques, with the help of an intricate system of harnesses, trapeze equipment and ropes, on the facade of the Power Plant Building.
The Black Angels proved that their Austin Psych Fest could be the All Tomorrow's Parties of the South, a three-day, artist-curated rock & roll drone that proved as singular of mindset as the towering, historic confines of the Seaholm Power Plant where it took place two weeks ago.
Constructed of cast concrete in two phases in 1950 and 1955 and retired four decades later, the art deco-style former municipality was deemed ready for public reuse in January 2006, after a nine-year, $13 million remediation process. Since then, the city-owned facility has become a popular event destination for everything from last November's Hot Rod Revolution to the recent Fusebox Festival.
"It may not be the greatest sound in the world for most music," says prolific local composer and Fusebox performer Graham Reynolds, "but the environment trumps and every event is memorable."
"The inside of it is like an old European cathedral or a Roman Baths," furthers choreographer Sally Jacques, whose site-specific dance company, Blue Lapis Light, hosted Illumination there in October 2007, the first and by far the most legally challenging event in the space. "The sunlight that comes in there and the way that it radiates across the space is just magnificent."
... According to Gloria Aguilera of the Contract and Land Management Department, Seaholm will close at the end of the month for a series of site-intensive infrastructure projects, including the installation of wastewater lines on Cesar Chavez, which will take 18-24 months.
Those improvements will coincide with the redevelopment efforts of Seaholm Power LLC, a development consortium led by Southwest Strategies Group of Austin, whose Master Development Agreement with the city was approved by council in April 2008. The 7.8-acre site overhaul will include a 160-room boutique hotel, condos, an abundance of mixed-use space for retail and restaurants, plus two spaces on the south lawn and in the plaza for outdoor events. The renovation is scheduled to break ground next year and will last an estimated 24-28 months.
"One of the things that struck me about the building is that it's versatile and has a very broad appeal that can encompass even very formal events, " says John C. Rosato, a managing partner at Southwest Strategies Group. "We hope to continue that in the future."
Saturday May 28th 2011
Doors and art show 6pm
Show at 7pm
214 West Avenue Austin, TX 78701
What classic rock music fan hasn't looked up at the smokestacks at Seaholm Power Plant and envisioned a pink pig flying above? The Electric Company could not let the small window of opportunity left for shows at Seaholm go by without bringing that vision to life. This epic Pink Floyd tribute for the ages will recreate the live Pink Floyd experience, completed by an amazing light show from Ilios Lighting, top-flight sound, and special effects.
Over the next decade, the southwest corner of downtown will undergo dramatic change, as a 13-acre area that once was largely city-owned land is reshaped into a dynamic urban neighborhood with residences, shops, restaurants, and entertainment and cultural attractions.
The land is within the larger Seaholm District, bounded by Lamar Boulevard, San Antonio and West Fifth streets and Lady Bird Lake that is named after the landmark former power plant. The 13 acres includes the largest assemblage of city-owned land downtown that remains for potential redevelopment.
Five major projects, including redevelopment of the former Seaholm Power Plant and Green Water Treatment Plant sites, along with recent private projects nearby, will represent about $2 billion in new investment for the district, said Fred Evins, the city's project manager for the Green and Seaholm redevelopment.
N.A.S.A. (an acronym for North America/South America) brings its Brazilian funk sound to Seaholm Power Plant New Year’s Eve for a party that also includes a DJ set from Reuben Wu of Ladytron and other techno acts. Promoters the Electric Company are keeping capacity to 1,200. Tickets start at $75, but can go as high as $250 for entrance to the VIP Skybox Lounge.
The city of Austin has designated the area from Lady Bird Lake to 5th Street and from Lamar to San Antonio as the Seaholm District. Over the next 20 years this former industrial village will complete it’s transformation from a utility zone to Austin’s most revered residential, cultural, and entertainment centers.
In accordance, Seaholm District Music and Arts Fair was put together to create a new festival that is a reflection of this up and coming and vibrant city center. For one night in September we will come together at 3rd and Nueces and celebrate all that makes Austin great. This event was conceived by a group of neighborhood business owners, community leaders, and residents, along with event producers, The Electric Company.
If we didn't get this place, we wouldn't be involved," said Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League.
The place League's talking about is the Seaholm Power Plant, which has become the hot spot for all sorts of events.
Yet, the Alamo may have found one of the most perfect uses for the space.
"We're opening the first Southwest screening of the newly restored print of 'Metropolis,' which many people consider to be the most important film of all time," said League. "The movie centers around an art deco power plant, and here we are at an art deco power plant."
It’s supposed to be a dormant, quiet, old electric plant waiting to be redeveloped in the coming years, but the Seaholm Power Plant has unexpectedly become an in-demand setting for exclusive parties, concerts and black-tie fundraisers.
Despite being stripped of the typical niceties found in hotels or traditional event venues — it doesn’t have electricity, running water or bathrooms — Seaholm has attracted some impressive bookings.
The historic nature of the building has lured MTV, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Rare magazine. Paramount Pictures leased the iconic building for about six weeks this spring to film the remake of “True Grit.”
... Adding to the building’s novelty is that the opportunity to see Seaholm in its raw condition may end this year. According to Southwest Strategies Group, the company chosen by the city to redevelop Seaholm and its surrounding land, the long-awaited project may be turning dirt as early as next year.
Under the agreement with the city, the power plant will stay intact, but Southwest Strategies will turn it into a retail, restaurant and event center. Plans also call for a hotel and residential component, a two-story retail and office building, and an outdoor plaza.
John Rosato of Southwest Strategies said the city is meeting its obligations for environmental cleanup at the site. With the progress the city is making, Rosato believes his company could begin developing the site in 2011.
Rosato said Southwest Strategiess plans to maintain Seaholm's integrity while giving it modern conveniences that would enable it to accommodate events.
The Electric Company is pleased to announce its inaugural event: A 4th of July Celebration that is free to the public and will benefit local nonprofit Anthropos Arts. Set downtown at the Historic Seaholm Power Plant, this will be the most ideal location to view the fireworks while taking in a lineup of some of Austin's most exciting up and coming musicians all while enjoying ice cold beer, libations, BBQ from The Shed, Tex Mex, and more from some of Austin's favorites. Onsite valet parking is available & the show is all ages and family friendly.
Ballet Austin event chairwoman Andrea McWilliams, co-founder of McWilliams & Associates lobbying firm, is planning the 'party of the decade' for Sept. 10.
Dubbed 'Fete to the Power of 10,' the gala will include pricey cocktails, dinner and performances staged by Stephen Mills at the Butler Dance Education Center (tables go for $10,000; individual tickets for $1,000). Tickets for the performance -celebrating Mills - 10 years as artistic director - cost $250.
The party will migrate to the Seaholm Power Plant for an evening-long event (tickets: $95-$125).
Such a deal: MTV gets Seaholm for $500 a day during SXSW
by Michael Corcoran
February 24, 2010
With downtown party space at a premium during South by Southwest, MTV has managed to work out an agreement with the City of Austin to rent the former Seaholm Power Plant for $500 a day over six days. You read that right: no zeroes are missing.
“Wow,” publicist Elaine Garza said, incredulously, at the bargain rate. “Some people are paying $10,000 to rent a club during the day. Seaholm is the hot space. Everybody’s been trying to get it.”
Gloria Aguilera of the City’s Real Estate Services Division said MTV reserved Seaholm, which has 117,000 square feet of space, after doing a few tapings at last year’s SXSW. Aguilera said the price is only $500 a day because there is no electricity or bathrooms in the warehouse-like shell.
Also, the low rental fee adhere’s to city ordinance #20080306-038, an economic growth initiative signed by then-mayor Will Wynn at SXSW 2008, which encourages filming of movies and television programs in Austin.
Several party planners were fighting over Seaholm, Aguilera said, including Rare magazine, which had been contracted by SXSW to put on a couple events, and Perez Hilton, who wanted MTV out at 5 p.m. Saturday so he could host his now-annual SXSW-closing bash. But MTV had already secured the hot spot.
MTV to take over Seaholm during SXSW
by Michael Corcoran
February 23, 2010
The vacant Seaholm Power Plant, which is managed for temporary use by Austin’s Real Estate Services Division, will be occupied during South by Southwest by MTV, the city’s Gloria Aguilera said Monday. “They’ll be filming there all four days,” Aguilera said.
Spelman and Riley competing to cut carbon; plans for artwork at Seaholm
February 17, 2010
Seaholm wall to be public art TheSeaholm Power Plant, which sits on the north side of Lady Bird Lake, is prime real estate, but, its Art Deco lettering aside, not exactly the prettiest thing along the shoreline. On Feb. 25, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a small step toward spiffing up the area.
The city is already planning to redevelop Seaholm and the neighboring Thomas C. Green Water Treatment Plant as a mix of shops, condos and amenities. Part of that plan is shrinking an existing substation to make room for a new library and then turning a wall that will enclose the substation into a work of art.
Exactly what sort of art hasn't been decided. The city has budgeted $750,000 for the wall and would spend an additional $181,200 that is already budgeted for public art. The city's Art in Public Places program would commission the design, engineering and construction.
That's the word for the Live at Seaholm After-Party.
The decommissioned smokestacks lit up like inter-planetary transportation devices.
The concrete ribs of the generating room outlined in blue, recalling urban clubs set up in old industrial sites.
Hundreds — perhaps thousands — gathered around the stage for the three musical acts, culminating in Broken Social Scene.
... Rare Magazine's Taylor Perkins, his partner in production, Jason Hicks, and Voodoo Cowboy's Mark Mueller beamed with pride. (Also expressing pride was Taylor's father, an oilman down from Houston.)
Not everybody can make it out to Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. In fact, a fair number of people don't want to brave the elements for the massive, three-day fest, no matter the weather. That's why promoters invented after-parties, before-parties and during-parties. Ask those folks who have been doing the same during South by Southwest, almost since its inception.
The biggest is a Rare/WOXY production at the defunct Seaholm Power Plant downtown. An outdoor stage will accommodate 4,000 who have gone through the RSVP/ticket process (free at www.liveatseaholm.com)
Big post-ACL Seaholm bash is a dream for producer
by Michael Barnes
Out & About
September 29, 2009
Hicks, teaming up with WOXY Internet Radio and Voodoo Cowboy Entertainment, has secured the iconic Seaholm Power Plant for a two-night bash. Friday, after ACL breaks up across Lady Bird Lake at Zilker Park, Broken Social Scene will headline a free, outdoor concert for up to 4,000 revelers on the Seaholm grounds.
01_Adaptive Reuse Four preservation projects -- a barn, a grain elevator, a nurses' dormitory, and a power plant -- show that repurposing old buildings for new uses needn't sacrifice soul.
The ArchitectsNewspaper http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=3395
April 15, 2009
Ayers Saint Gross
On a prominent site separating a booming downtown residential district from Town Lake, the Seaholm Power Plant, built in the 1950s, is one of Austin’s most distinctive midcentury structures. Its red neon sign, towering stacks, and stark concrete mass are immediately recognizable landmarks. So when it was decommissioned in 1996, and following a nine-year remediation of hazardous materials, the city drafted a redevelopment masterplan and issued an RFQ to develop the site.
... The project, which is seeking a LEED Silver rating, will also take the reinvention of Seaholm’s narrative below grade. In generating electricity, the plant drew water from the lake for cooling purposes. Once the water was used, it was returned to its source, but before that happened its temperature had to be brought back down. This was accomplished via a network of underground pipes, which the architects plan to incorporate into a stormwater retention and irrigation system. “We wanted to identify a way of tying old and new together,” said Powell, “to take the 1950s version of how things worked and make it part of today.”
Travis County commissioners, lured by the prospect of gaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue, voted Tuesday to advise the City of Austin that they're willing to join a taxing district to help redevelop the former Seaholm Power Plant.
Seaholm currently generates no tax money because the property is owned by the city, but officials hope the site on West Cesar Chavez Street will become a $117 million mix of shops, offices and condominiums and will include a boutique hotel and special-events space.
... The city hopes that by sacrificing some tax revenue to aid development, it can turn a dead zone into a vibrant part of downtown.
For nearly 40 years the Seaholm Power Plant on Cesar Chavez provided energy for residents. Now on the verge of a major transformation, the power plant will serve Austin in a completely different capacity.
“It is one of the most interesting spaces I’ve ever been in, and I’m a 69-year-old architect that has traveled the world and seen a lot of spaces,” Black said. “I’ve never seen a space more interesting than the inside of that building; it really is a magnificent thing inside.”
... “We were very intrigued by the power plant and spent a tremendous amount of time there,” lead developer John Rosato said. “That has been the main purpose of our design team — figuring out how we take an industrial site and convert the building into retail and offices while maintaining its character.”
Seaholm renovation may start in late '09
by Shonda Novak
December 16, 2008
The taxing zone will capture new property and sales tax revenue gernerated within the 7.8-acre project over 30 years.
... The focal point of Seaholm will be the preservation of the landmark power plant, a 136,000-square-foot building with more than 110,000 square feet of usable floor space. Once renovated, the building will house an events center, offices, shops and restaurants.
Los Angeles company takes $40M stake in Seaholm CIM Group to foot large part of project's $117M price tag by A.J. Mistretta
Austin Business Journal
April 18, 2008
CIM has entered as an equity partner in the $117 million Seaholm Power Plant project, contributing about $40 million to the redevelopment that will bring a mix of residential, office, retaila nd other uses to the site.
The Austin City Council approved Seaholm's master development agreement earlier this month, pushing the complex public-private initiative that's been in the works for years far closer to reality.
Seaholm redevelopment plan approved Austin Business Journal
April 10, 2008
The Austin City Council approved the master development agreement for the $117.2 million Seaholm mixed-use redevelopment project today.
The agreement says the development group Seaholm Power LLP, led by Southwest Strategies Inc. , will pay $98.6 million or 84 percent of the cost of the project, while the city will pay $18.6 million. The redevelopment plan calls for a 22-story hotel, 60 condo units, 130,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. The 150,000-square-foot decommissioned power plant will be the centerpiece of the 7.8-acre property across Cesar Chavez Street from Lady Bird Lake
... City leaders have said the Seaholm redevelopment, along with the Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment--for which the city is accepting development proposals due later this month--will reinvigorate southwest portions of downtown, provide links from Cesar Chavez to the city's traffic grid, and extend the New Urbanist vision of the city-financed 2nd Street Retail District.
The stage is set to start turning an old downtown power plant into an upscale hub where people can live, work and play.
The City Council Thursday sealed the deal on a multi-million dollar plan to redevelop the Seaholm Power Plant.
This power plant, located right on Lady Bird Lake, has been out of operation for more than a decade. Seaholm started pumping power into the city back in 1954, but the turbines couldn't keep up with technology, and it shut down in 1997.
Today, the concrete-based building is ready for redevelopment. The plan approved Thursday calls for spending $117 million to turn the original plant into an upscale shopping mall of sorts with restaurants and cafes. Next door would sit a 20-story high-rise complex with a world class hotel on the ground floors, and 200 luxury condos above that.
Some hope the plan will add new life to Downtown Austin, while preserving a part of its past.
“It originally provided all of the electrical energy for the city, and it's just a great building that has a great deal of potential to be part of a whole development that will really bring it back to life, and we're very excited about that,” John Rosato with the Southwest Strategies Group said.
The other council approval assures that the Seaholm Power Plant will remain a fixture downtown.
The historic building will receive a makeover, thanks to the council's approval on a $117 million redevelopment plan.
The deal has been in the works for more than two decades and includes plans for a hotel, 60 condo units, restaurants and shops.
The plant's makeover will also preserve more than an acre of open space for visitors.
... Once completed, the development will create about 200 jobs and raise an estimated $2 million a year in tax revenue.
The power plant was built in 1950 and powered Austin for years. The preservation project was sparked in 1984, when the city's historic resources survey targeted Seaholm.
City, developer are near Seaholm deal Proposal calls for Austin to pay 16 percent of $117.2 million mixed-use project downtown by Kate Miller Morton
March 28, 2008
The City of Austin and the local group it chose to redevelop the Seaholm Power Plant and surrounding property three years ago are close to reaching an agreement that would allow the $117.2 million project to move forward.
... Rosato hopes the group will be able to start construction by this time next year. If that happens, construction could be completed in 2011.
Book of Power
Austin Business Journal
January 4-10, 2008
Q: In the last year, someof the pieces of the Seaholm redevelopment began to come together and the partnership is in the process of securing the master development agreement. What do you see ahead for Seaholm in 2008?
A: The coming year will be an exciting one for the Seaholm site. First, a finalized vision for the site will take shape. We will execute our master development agreement with the city of Austin in January, enabling us to move forward in finalizing construction documents marketing condo units and negotiating leases. Construction could begin as early as December 2008.
Seaholm site rezoned for mixed use
Austin Business Journal
December 17, 2007
In the latest step toward paving the way for the Seaholm power plant redevelopment, the city has granted preliminary approval of the site's rezoning to allow greater height on part of the 7-acre tract.
... Southwest Strategies Inc . is the lead developer of the Seaholm redevelopment. The latest plans for the redevelopment call for 130,000 square feet of office space, 60 condo units, a 180-room hotel and 50,000 square feet of retail.
Park Once, Invest Twice City parking garages could fund trails and transit - starting with Seaholm and Green by Katherine Gregor
The Austin Chronicle
November 23, 2007
Kick-starting the initiative would be two major redevelopment projects soon to go live Dowtown. The first is Seaholm: the transformation of the 7.8-acre site of the decommissioned power plant (across Cesar Chavez from Lady Bird Lake) into a mixed-use wonderland of affluence.
might be angels For Blue Lapis Light, dance artists Laura Cannon and Nicole Whiteside become
heavenly creatures The Austin Chronicle
October 5, 2007
... and Illumination, opening this week in the Seaholm Power Plant, these women have become pioneers in a kind of aerial dance work that few others in Austin have ever attempted and only a handful of people in the country are doing.
Where: The Seaholm Power Plant, downtown Austin
(Entrance at 3rd Street & West Ave.)
Dates: October 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28
Blue Lapis Light presents its latest site-specific aerial dance performance, Illumination, at the Seaholm Power Plant in downtown Austin. Artistic Director and recent Austin Arts Hall of Fame inductee Sally Jacques, along with choreographers/dancers Laura Cannon and Nicole Whiteside, will transform the interior of the historic building to create images of beauty and transcendence. The architecture of Seaholm, reminiscent of a cathedral, inspires the vision for Illumination. The dancers, suspended from ropes and cloth, will soar through the space in graceful athleticism. Highlighting the grand architecture, Illumination will feature lighting by Jason Amato and sound design by William Meadows.
The Seaholm power plant will soon be the site of some dazzling performances. Blue Lapis Light made headlines last year when they performed their aerial dance, light and music show at the Intel shell. Next month they'll be showcasing the same concept drawing on the unique architecture of another Austin landmark for inspiration.
Scaffolding in a city park, a North Austin warehouse, the condemned Intel building, the downtown federal office tower: These are just some of the unexpected places where choreographer Sally Jacques has treated Central Texans to dance performance
There is no doubt you have driven by it 10,000 times, but odds are you've never had a peek inside the city's decommissioned-but-still-grand, old, art deco Seaholm Power Plant.
Dancers and their backup crews will give us all the opportunity to slip inside the building and see it for the first time, through our own eyes, yes, but also through the prism of Blue Lapis Light.
"You don't impose on it," Jacques instructs. "You really see the language of the space you're in."
"The building speaks to you; you don't speak to the building," Swift said.
"Absolutely, yes," Jacques replied.
Developer John Rosato is leading the effort to redevelop the Seaholm site into a hotel, condominiums and retail space, but first he jumped at the opportunity to work with Jacques.
"I've always appreciated what Sally does," Rosato said. "I think it's absolutely beautiful and very dramatic."
"After the audience sees our shows, they see a place that's a heavenly realm, of sorts," said dancer Nicole Whiteside. "When the lights are in and the costumes and the music, it'll be transformative, and hopefully, it'll transform people, too, the way that it kind of shapes all of us as we work in it together."
Groundwork being laid for Seaholm District by Laura Mohammad
Austin Business Journal
August 13, 2007
Construction began today in the Seaholm District -- offering many the first tangible evidence of the five-year transformation of the land in and around the old power plant's site into a vibrant mixed-use development.
Improvements started today include the realignment of Sandra Muraida Way and the addition of a roundabout, water and wastewater lines and a water quality biofiltration meadow.
Driskill Hotel chef quits for job with ex-boss by Kitty Crider
March 12, 2007
In his new job, Bull, 32, will oversee food and beverage responsibilities at the St. Anthony hotel in downtown San Antonio. Then he will be involved in the same capacity in the restoration of the now-closed Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas. Afterward, he will oversee the culinary operations for the planned Seaholm Plaza Hotel project in Austin, which Trigger will manage.
pdf of the entire article
The new $100 million project calls for shops, businesses, restaurants and a new 22-story high-end hotel and condominiums.
"You could live there, you could work in the office, shop at the retail, it really could be a full-use facility," said John Rosato, manager partner of Seaholm Power LLC.
City Council members on Thursday got their first look at detailed plans for the almost eight acres of land along West Cesar Chavez across from Town Lake. They said they liked what they saw, but wanted to be sure affordable housing was included in the layout.
Austin to see Seaholm Plans In $100 million project downtown, developers seek to blend new, old buildings Austin American-Statesman
February 1, 2007
Developers are expected to roll out today their vision for a mixed-use project that would transform the former Seaholm Power Plant into shops, offices, a hotel and condominiums by 2009.
... "This is a historic event and an opportunity for saving a slice of Austin's history, " said John Rosato, managing partner of Seaholm Power LLC. "It's the first time that the city has entered into a public-private venture for the sole purpose of saving an iconic building in Austin."
Assistant City Manager Laura Huffman said, "We view this as a pivotal opportunity for revitalizing downtown and realizing a longtime goal for a transit hub at Seaholm."
... Centro would develop the condos. Units could cost from about $450,000 fpr abpit 1,200 square feet to more than $1 million for the largest 3,000-square-foot units, Rosato said.
Jeff Trigger, ex-managing director of the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, would oversee the construction, management and operations of the Seaholm Plaza Hotel, to be built just north of the former power plant, through La Corsha, his newly formed hotel management and consulting firm.
A sense of history Austin Business Journal Book of Power 2007 issue
Dec. 29-Jan. 4, 2007
For more than two decades, Jeff Trigger has been in the business of managing, restoring and renovating hotels. And in that time, Trigger has often been approached often by hotel companies interested in tapping his hospitality expertise.
..."To me, it's neat to be able to preserve history in a sense of place," Trigger says. "Seaholm is a very special project, and that location is screaming for a community-oriented facility. Once completed, the hotel will be downtown Austin's only independent luxury hotel. And there will be plenty of green space. We're hoping it will become the place to be in the downtown neighborhood. And, of course, the icon of the smokestacks is just phenomenal."
Developers, city officials have lofty plans for SW downtown Austin Business Journal
Oct. 6-12, 2006
The Seaholm Power Plant Reuse project's developers are looking to attract empty nesters, young professionals and then some.
... Daniel Roth, a partner with Seaholm Power LLC and with Southwest Strategies Group Inc., envisions a project that will feature an events center and a plaza with shops and cafés, a bus stop, the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a rail stop, a streetcar stop and an Austin-San Antonio commuter rail station.
... Fellow project partner Kent Collins, a partner with Centro Partners, says Seaholm's condos will range from 800 to 3,000 square feet.
Hotel/condo tower to become 1st part of Seaholm makeover Work could begin next summer on 163-room hotel to open in 2009 Austin American-Statesman
September 22, 2006
A 22-story hotel and condominium tower could rise above the smokestacks at the former Seaholm Power Plant by 2009.
The project is the first part of a multimillion dollar plan to transform the Seaholm site into a vibrant district with shops, offices, housing, entertainment and cultural attractions.
... Jeff Trigger, former managing director of the historic Driskill Hotel, will run the 163-room hotel, tentatively called the Seaholm Plaza Hotel.
... Austin-based Centro Partners LLC will develop the 62 condominium units, with prices from about $350,000 to more than $1 million, said Kent Collins, a Centro partner.
... The city last year tapped a group led by Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group, Inc. to redevelop the 7.8-acre Seaholm site, which will include preserving and reusing the power plant and its Art Deco-style facade.
Driskill manager heads to new projects Austin American-Statesman
August 11, 2006
Jeff Trigger, who oversaw restoration of Austin's historic Driskill Hotel in the 1990s, is leaving that hotel to launch a hotel management and consulting company called La Corsha Hospitality Group.
Mixed-use properties provide convenience to residents Austin Business Journal
August 4-10, 2006
Further south, it's anticipated that the redevelopment of the Seaholm Power Plantsite will act as another hub of activity, particularly since mass transit will be a part of the mix.
Austin Inc. Not your ordinary ceremony: Architects honored at Seaholm Austin American-Statesman
March 10, 2006
The awards dinner was at an old power plant, and prizes went to projects that included a parking garage and a water plant expansion.
In other words, this year's local American Institute of Architects awards were a little out of the ordinary.
The Austin chapter held the recent banquet at the closed Seaholm Power Plant, slated to be reborn as a mixed-use project by 2008.
... Finally, Seaholm itself walked away with an honor recognizing its sustainability — it has been around for 50 years and could last 50 more with the pending transformation.
Seaholm's rebirth set for 2008 EPA says ex-plant ready for development; summer start possible Austin American-Statesman
January 18, 2006
The former Seaholm Power Plant overlooking Town Lake could be crackling with new energy by mid-2008.
... A grand opening for at least part of the project is set for July 4, 2008, Rosato said.
... Seaholm is the first facility nationwide to receive a "ready for reuse: designation under the federal Toxic Substance Control Act.
Development on former Seaholm Power Plant site move forward EPA and Texas commission has given site in downtown Austin an environmental
clean bill of health Austin American-Statesman
January 17, 2006
A new chapter unfolded today for the former Seaholm Power Plant as a federal agency cleared the way for work to start on transforming the decommissioned 1950s plant into a mix of housing, shops, restaurants and offices.
The plant is the first nationwide to receive the designation among sites subject to the federally regulated Toxic Substances Control Act. Since 1997, the plant has undergone $13 million of remediation work to clean up PCBs, asbestos, lead-based paint and other contaminants.
City may open prime land Austin American-Statesman
October 26, 2005
Today, Council Member Brewster McCracken will propose shrinking an Austin Energy substation on Cesar Chavez Street to free up 1.4 acres of waterfront land for redevelopment. The substation sits next to the former Seaholm Power Plant, where a massive redevelopment project is under way.
"It obviously limits what can be done there, because you'd have an electrical substation in the middle of a potential redevelopment through the rest of downtown," said John Rosato, a partner in Southwest Strategies Group, which the city chose to redevelop Seaholm.
But Rosato points out it would still be a great place for a mixed-use project, with enough residential spaces springing up downtown to support it. There are 900 living units within six blocks for Seaholm, and another 2,200 in the works, he said.
Guadalupe Gets a Makeover Austin Chronicle
July 22, 2005
Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group, owner and developer of the former Half Price Books site, is known for such projects as South Congress' Penn Field and the recently awarded downtown Seaholm Power Plant revamp. Partner Danny Roth says, "our emphasis is on local businesses still having a home." He says SSG has already inked agreements with three local outfits: Celebration!, a gift shop that's been in Hyde Park for 20 years; Boomerang's Veggie and Meat Pies, a restaurant he calls a "new concept" for Austin; and Gelato's, an ice-cream, coffee and panini shop with two other Austin locations.
Stratus, Southwest Strategies Group win city bids In Fact Weekly
April 25-29, 2005
The City Council approved contracts for two major downtown projects last night, agreeing to the sale of Block 21 to Stratus/Trammell Crow Co. and work with Seaholm Power, LLP to redevelop the dormant Seaholm Power Plant.
John Rosato of Southwest Strategies Group said Seaholm Power, LLC's strength was the team members' experience in the restoration of historic buildings like the art deco Seaholm plant. Rosato said the preservation of Austin's history was a driving force in the team's desire to submit a proposal on the project. "If we had our druthers, we would always be working on historic structures," Rosato said. "It reminds us of our heritae and of our past. With everything new that's happening downtown, it's important to have a way for people to recognize our older buildings and relate them to our history."
The Seaholm project is intended to be a mixed-use project that also will serve as a transit hub for the community.
Four for Seaholm The Austin Chronicle
April 8, 2005
Principal features: "A dynamic 24/7 environment where residents and visitors alike can live, work, and play." The concept includes a cultural entity (in the presentation, the Music Hall of Fame) in Seaholm itself, along with commercial, retail, and exhibition space, and two new buildings — a two story commercial building and new home for KLRU and Austin City Limits, and a 10-story residential tower with ground floor retail. All of these are linked by a "Grand Plaza" that can host outdoor events, along with other open-space amenities and linkages to Town Lake and the rest of Downtown.
Notes: The Seaholm Power concept presumes the relocation of the large Austin Energy substation directly east of Seaholm, although no plans for such a relocation are yet on the table. While architecture firm Design Collective is from Baltimore (where their portfolio includes a redeveloped power plant), the Seaholm Power team includes a number of key figures in Austin's long-running Downtown renewal effort.
Seaholm proposals showcase music Public spaces most important part of most proposals In Fact Weekly
February 18, 2005
The Seaholm PowerGroup proposed turning the 130,000 square foot mian turbine building into a gathering place where major events such as South by Southwest, New Year's Eve, or a Lance Armstrong victory celebration could be held. According to Southwest Strategies' John Rosato, the main building would retain its open-air structure, housing a mixture of cultural, commercial, retail and gallery spaces. Elsewhere on the eight-acre site would be a two story, 60,000 square foot cultural/commercial structure, a ten-story residential tower with ground level retail, and a Grand Plaza designed to host a wide variety of outdoor public events. The north edge of the plaza would contain a transit hub for bus, rail, bike and auto transportation. Two levels of underground parking is planned, with 225 spaces on each level. "It's important to preserve the power of the space of the turbine building," Rosato said. "It is an incredible structure. The main hall presents numerous opportunities for public space, including music venues, restaurants, galleries and other attractions. We want people to come away from it thinking 'City living is cool.'" Partners in the Seaholm PowerGroup include Southwest Strategies Group, Centro Partners , H.C. Beck, and Design Collective.
Seaholm ideas sing Music themes unite competing plans for plant Austin American-Statesman
February 18, 2005
A team led by Southwest Strategies Inc., the developer of Penn Field on South Congress Avenue, would convert the power plant into a mixed-use project with room for "ACL" or another cultural institution, with performance space, plus shops and restaurants.
... A plaza north of the power plant would link all of the elements and could be used for public events.
... Southwest Strategies' plan includes a grand plaza on the north side of the building, connecting Seaholm with other building on the site.
"What distinguishes Seaholm Power and what we are proudest of is the depth of experience and commitment of the local companies on the team to Austin's downtown," said John Rosato with Southwest Strategies Group. "Additionally, our team brings extensive experience with the redevelopment of power plants and with historic preservation."
The Seaholm Power team has the proven ability to create dynamic cultural, retail and housing complex that will not only preserve the icon of the Seaholm Power Plant building but develop the surrounding site as a community destination with visual and experiential triggers that remind us of our history.