Central Health Reveals Fate of UMC Brackenridge

AUSTIN, Texas — After nearly 50 years, University Medical Center Brackenridge will soon be no more.

"We'll see the main tower come down. We looked really seriously at repurposing the building but we found that when you bring the building up to code and we have to add parking, the cost per square foot will be equal or exceeds the cost of building something new," said Juan Garza of Central Health vice president of finance and development.

Thursday, Central Health revealed its plans for Brackenridge's campus.

Once it has been demolished, they plan to divide the lot into six blocks and then turn it into a mixed-use complex.

It will house medical offices, residences and even a public market.

"We want those uses to be really inviting. We don't want this to just be buildings downtown, we want it to be a live, work, play kind of space,” said Patricia Young Brown, a Central Health CEO.

"The coolest part of the plan is this gathering area right in the heart of it. It'll be a public market, a park overseeing Waterloo park. That's the result of a lot of input from the entire community," said Garza.

It took Central Health 18 months to come up with the master plan after consulting with the medical school, the new hospital and the public.

"We could see the uses in our property to be compatible with the medical school,  with the teaching hospital because we're really trying to build an environment, an ecosystem, of health related activities."

An ecosystem that will be a part of the Capital City Innovation Zone, which covers the area between Martin Luther King Boulevard and Lady Bird Lake.

Once the multi-use complex goes up, it could bring up to a billion dollars to the city's economy along with thousands of jobs.

"I like it because we see it as a give back to the community with the community coming in to enjoy and actually do some business in as well,” said Garza.

While this institution will no longer be a part of Austin's gateway, it opens an avenue to new possibilities.