Revitalization

Downtown Density Dreams

By Jason Leach
Published January 03, 2006

How refreshing to hear a city council operating with some common sense. If done properly, the results will be remarkable. I wish I could say the same for us:

The 30th floor of the Frost Bank Tower is vacant; a chilly, unfinished expanse of concrete, ductwork, and glass. Tons of glass: The floor-to-ceiling windows wrap entirely around the building, providing a glorious view of the city below. It's a patchwork of high-rises, squat historic properties, and parking lots. Lots and lots of parking lots.

It was at this locale on Thursday that politicos including Mayor Will Wynn, Council Member Brewster McCracken, and House Transportation Committee Chair Mike Krusee announced a City Council resolution to hire consultants to develop a Downtown Austin Plan aimed at turning those parking lots, and other underutilized space, into a more people-friendly, mass transit-navigable, and revenue-generating vertical topography. "When this is done, we'll have one of the best downtowns in the country," McCracken said.

Read on to learn how Austin is trying to recover its downtown.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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