Friday, October 23, 2015

Real Estate Council of Austin Opposing Courthouse

"There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it."
Proverbs 21:20

MAJOR news from the Austin Business Journal:
The Real Estate Council of Austin aims to deal a fatal blow to the $287 million Travis County courthouse bond proposal that will go before voters next month.

The 1,750-member nonprofit trade organization issued a statement Thursday opposing the measure to build a new facility near Third and Guadalupe streets — a thriving area with the redevelopment of the former Seaholm Power Plant and the Green Water Treatment Plant along with other office and residential projects in the pipeline.

"The proposed courthouse is the right idea but in the wrong location," said RECA President Ward Tisdale in a written statement. "The proposed location is the last undeveloped and unrestricted block in downtown Austin, and this would not be the best use of the land."

Tisdale also cited the cost to taxpayers. He noted that the city is in the midst of an affordability crisis with rising housing costs, and that additional taxes to pay for the bonds would be an unnecessary burden to residents.

Tisdale said the Travis County Commissioners Court and staff should take a more thorough look at alternatives.

"There are other options available to the county that likely have the infrastructure and ample space for new courthouse facilities," Tisdale said. "They should, at the very least, look into those and report back to the community."

RECA's board of directors includes some of Austin's most influential real estate leaders — and some of those represented companies could have a big stake in what happens at that location. It's unknown if the resolution opposing the courthouse bonds was unanimously supported among RECA's leadership.
Read the whole thing here.

Bottom Line: The Real Estate Council of Austin is as insider of an organization as they come.  They even supported last year's rail bond.  For the Real Estate Council of Austin to engage in this type of CYA move means the Courthouse bond is even more unpopular than we'd thought.

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