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Lawmakers Sign Off On P3 Guidelines For Capitol Complex

Texas Mall

A state oversight committee has signed off on the public-private partnership policy for the Capitol Complex Master Plan.

The master plan, which will roll out in three phases, will consolidate most state agencies within the 50-block Capitol Complex area. A first phase, priced out at $581M, will add about 1M SF of office space, a five-level underground parking garage and a grassy open-air mall on Congress Avenue between the north steps of the Texas Capitol and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Texas Facilities Commission officials assured the Partnership Advisory Commission on Monday that any joint project — be it with a private company or a public entity — will be vetted early and thoroughly through both city and state channels, based on a "value-for-money proposition." A developer would have to deliver a project that can be done better or more economically than the state, a bar that lawmakers intend to keep high.

Revisions to the preliminary P3 policy, which are published on the Texas Facilities Commission website, will include pre-procurement analysis for project selection, a mandatory "public purpose" requirement and evaluation criteria that will include monetary savings, community impact and past performance of the proposed bidder.

Phase 1 — Capitol Complex

The first phase of the Capitol Complex Master Plan is making its way through the city commission process, including a presentation at the Downtown Commission last week.

At that meeting, Texas Facilities Commission Deputy Executive Commissioner Peter Maass outlined the two new office buildings in the project: a 14-story office tower with 600K SF of office space at 1801 Congress and a 12-story, 400K SF office building at 1601 Congress Ave.

Congress Avenue will be vacated between 15th Street and MLK Boulevard. The plan envisions a broad grassy public plaza area between 1801 Congress and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

The Texas Lottery Commission will move from Sixth Street to the ground floor of 1801 Congress, where daily drawings can be seen from the mall. The tower at 1601 Congress will incorporate a new chilling unit for the Downtown complex, and the state's child care facility will be moved on-site.

The Texas Facilities Commission should have a better idea of the construction timeline in March, Maass told the commission Monday.