Work will commence immediately on the Seaholm Power Plant project as soon as the developers complete the real estate transactions with the city.
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The long wait for the Seaholm Power Plant project to begin construction appears to be over. Developer Southwest Strategies Group Inc. â€” which formed Seaholm Power Development LLC to oversee the office-residential-retail project â€” confirmed Thursday afternoon that the associated real estate transactions with the city of Austin will close Friday or Monday at the latest.
General contractor FlintCo LLC is on site â€” the power plant is in the southwest portion of downtown near Cesar Chavez Street and North Lamar Boulevard â€” and prepared to start work immediately, saidJohn Rosato, managing partner of Seaholm Power Development.
â€œItâ€™s more gratifying than you know,â€ Rosato said of finally closing the deal. â€œIt took much longer than anybody expected.â€
The vision to transform the decommissioned power plant into a mixed-use developmentÂ dates more than a decade, but much of the progress toward that end was derailed by the recession.
â€œWe started things in earnest again in October 2011,â€ Rosato said.
Itâ€™s taken this long to work out the details of the master development agreement with the city and to arrange financing.
â€œTo finance a mixed-use project in todayâ€™s market is still extremely challenging,â€ Rosato said. â€œIt was much easier to finance before" the recession.
Rosato did not disclose financial specifics of the real estate transactions with the city. The project as a whole is valued at more than $100 million.
There are three transactions with the city: a 99-year lease for the power plant, an outright sale of an adjacent parcel and a ground lease for a third parcel, which will be converted into a fee-simple transaction later.
Most of the 117,000-square-foot power plant will be leased to one office tenant. Rosato did not reveal who is planning to take the space but said the negotiations are concluding. Work will begin quickly to retrofit that space from a utility plant to office space.
Probably the most obvious construction work will be done as crews excavate a deep hole, which will become an underground parking garage for a low-rise building. That structure will house retail uses, including Trader Joeâ€™s,Â which has an agreement to take part of that space.
â€œTrader Joeâ€™s will move in there the fall of 2014,â€ Rosato said.
The popular West Coast-based specialty grocerÂ is taking existing space for two other stores, which will open soon in the metro area.
The final component of the Seaholm project will be a 30-story apartment tower, which will be delivered in mid-2015, Rosato said.Commercial and residential real estate, construction and architecture