The following are Steven Zettner’s  [Email address: szettner #AT# - replace #AT# with @ ]notes from a meeting held tonight with County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt and area neighborhood representatives regarding the future of the Farmers market property along Burnet Rd.

Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt
has tentatively scheduled a public meeting on Wednesday, March 21 to present four
competing plans for redevelopment of the
Farmer’s Market property to area residents. Each
developer will have half an hour to present their plan. Confirmation of the date, time and place
will follow in the next few days.

Eckhardt said the county
had received numerous offers from developers
to purchase the property, and had narrowed the
list down to four. “Three of these are
standard vertical mixed use, with commercial
on the ground floor, residential above that, some green space
and pedestrian areas. The fourth plan is
kind of an outlier,” Eckhardt said in a
private meeting with representatives from Brentwood,
Crestview and Allandale neighborhood associations.
The outlier would be a retail-only development anchored
by an Indian restaurant, acousticmusicvenue and a gallery featuring the
owner’s personal crystals collection.

The competing developers
all have Austin roots and include
Chartwell Interests Inc/Pioneer Development,
Paz Paramdeep Dhody, Southwest Strategies Group, and Colina West. An earlier
firm mentioned in an Austin American Statesman
article from last June, 6601 Partners, is not
on the list.

Eckhardt expected
the county would want to make an offer to one
of the four developers before the start of budget season in July. That leaves several months for the county
to receive feedback
from neighborhoods that the four developers can
use in modifying their plans, and that the county
can use to make an offer for sale of the
property. “We expect some give and take –
they’ll adjust their plans based on the feedback
they get back,” Eckhardt
said. She compared
the approach to that used in other situations
where a government entity has sold land to private interests, like Mueller
Airportor The Triangle.

“In many respects we
probably can’t go wrong with any of these
plans,” Eckhardt said. “Flip a coin
– that’s why we’re trying to get you to help us.”

The county has rules for
how it must use its land holdings, Eckhardt
said. It doesn’t have a great history as
a land manager. Since there were no plans for county
use of the Farmer’s Market property, selling it made the most sense.

Details of the developer finalists for Farmer’s Market:

Chartwell Interests: Current project is “The View at Lamar,”
an upscale, mixed use facility
featuring 64 spacious condominiums
with retail units on first floor. Tim Merriweather is a principal
in the firm and has extensive experience in
multi-family development.

Paz Dhody: a self-made multimillionaire and entrepreneur,
owns a medical staffing company,
lived and worked in many notable cities in
Europe, Asia and the US before moving to Austin.

Southwest Strategies Group – undertaking the Seaholm
redevelopment project in southwest Austin
that will turn an old power plant into a mixed use development. The principals
are Daniel Roth and John Rosato.

Colina West – led by
David Kahn, a resident of Austin since 1983,
an entrepreneur who has been involved in numerous in-fill development projects
in San Antonio, Austin
and Dallas. He owns the Hannig Row
office block
at 200-212 E 6th Street and
the Colina West complex on north Capital of
Texas Highway.

Possible Areas for Community Feedback,
as prepared by Eckhardt staff:

Will the site be pedestrian and bicycle

How will the development use Public/Open

How will parking be arranged, what access
points will be provided?

What is the anticipated
development schedule?

Does the developer have a concept
plan, and what does it include?