Six developers seek right to use slice of UT land

By Shonda Novak
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Six developers want to get their hands on one of the last large available tracts in the area of the Arboretum in North Austin.

Owned by the University of Texas, the 45.8 acres at the southeast corner of MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and Braker Lane is just east of the Arboretum and Gateway shopping centers and south of a tract where Endeavor Real Estate Group plans to develop a regional mall.

UT wants to lease the land, and the University of Texas System's Real Estate Office issued a call for proposals on May 1. A mix of local and national retail developers had responded by Monday's deadline.

Alan Prickett, UT's senior real estate officer, declined to identify the developers. State open records law carves out exceptions for government entities to protect their interests in situations such as competitive bidding and requests for proposals.

UT leases part of the land to a golf driving range. Although it's unclear what would happen to the driving range, UT has an option to terminate that lease, which will expire in May, if the land is redeveloped, Prickett said.

The rest is part of the J.J. Pickle Research Campus. UT wants to lease the land for up to 50 years until the university needs it for other purposes.

The UT Board of Regents will be briefed July 7. Prickett said a decision is expected no later than July 9, although it could take several months to finalize a lease.

"We'll start our review and hopefully there will be some good proposals in there," Prickett said.

snovak@statesman.com; 445-3856