KEY ISSUES

Environment

Water Quality – Currently, 6.25 acres of the site sheet flows directly into the Barton Creek Greenbelt. In the planned conditions, Brodie will reduce total impervious cover from approximately 84 percent to a maximum impervious cover of 54 percent, a 36 percent reduction, and comply with the Save Our Springs (SOS) Ordinance standards for non-degradation of water quality. The proposal captures rainwater from all rooftops and condensate from air conditioning units for reuse onsite. In addition to conserving potable water, this will enable an alternative stormwater control approach that greatly reduces downstream impacts. The Brodie Water Reuse System and Stormwater Control Measures have been approved by the Council. While the project is meeting the water quality standards from the SOS Ordinance, Brodie is proposing to modify the maximum impervious cover allowed by the SOS Ordinance. The City has issued its finding that this system provides a significant advantage over standard practices, having confirmed the technical merit, compliance with requirements, and resource protection and improvement following their review of detailed water quality modeling submitted for the development. Additionally, City agencies including WPD and AW have recognized the project for setting a new precedent that other developments may pursue under the Water Forward Plan and supporting their own research on the resource protection provided by these systems.

Parks and Open Space – The project will restore and reserve 11.6-acres of the site that is currently developed as surface parking lots and single-story retail and office buildings as City of Austin Parkland. This dedication is equivalent to 31 percent of the site. All parks except the Neighborhood Park will be developed in Phase 1. The project is currently working with local organizations like the Save Barton Creek Association, Austin Parks Foundation, and Hill Country Conservancy to explore how the project can support the construction and ongoing maintenance of a trail connection to the Barton Creek and regional Violet Crown trail systems.

Hill Country Views – Nearly 9.7 acres of open space is located adjacent to the Barton Creek Greenbelt creating a 100′ to 300′ buffer between the existing Barton Creek Greenbelt and the new development, where no buffer exists today. This buffer will restore the best views of the downtown and hill country from Loop 360 as dedicated parkland.  Brodie will blend this new open space into the existing Barton Creek Greenbelt by restoring 6% of the new open space (1-acre) using the Hill Country Revegetation standard. Another 6% (1 acre) will be restored to a native prairie standard. The restoration of these areas will include removal of the existing surface parking and wall and returning the area back to natural grades and revegetating with native and adaptive plants.

Airman’s Cave – Brodie has worked closely with the City of Austin and Balcones Canyonland Preserve to ensure the continued protection of Airman’s Cave which sits approximately 150 feet below the surface.  Brodie has committed to always preserving 20 feet of the existing Del Rio clay layer above Airmen’s Cave. Brodie will also dedicate an access easement for the purpose of monitoring the health of the Cave to the Balcones Canyonland Preserve.

Tree Preservation – Brodie has been thoughtfully designed to preserve(or transplant) 100% of the Heritage Trees on site, and 73% of the Heritage and Protected Trees combined.

Density

A key part of the Brodie vision for a vibrant, active destination is the development of transit-supportive densities. Research shows that a mix of land uses, and higher density of dwelling units and jobs within walking distance to transit stops, promotes more transit use and reduces single-occupancy vehicle trips. Brodie will support ridership on Capital Metro’s existing high-capacity transit route, MetroRapid Route 803. These transit-supportive densities are also an instrumental part of the City’s long-term transit goals as established in its Strategic Mobility Plan, adopted in 2019.

Brodie’s transit-supportive densities will also promote other key goals. The height and density of Brodie’s mixed-use buildings will support the transformation of the current site’s 21.2 acres of surface parking into vibrant streets and places, public art and performance opportunities, and 11.6 acres of parkland connecting to the Barton Creek Greenbelt—enhancing and increasing access to one of Austin’s most treasured open spaces.

Transportation

Brodie will deliver an attractive, walkable, and sustainable development pattern around the existing high-capacity MetroRapid Route 803 transit stop, maximizing ridership and offering Austin residents vibrant housing choices and convenient access to jobs, services, and diverse amenities.

Improvements will include an enhanced bus stop, pedestrian and bicycle connections and enhanced crossings, sidewalk improvements, and wayfinding—that contribute to high-capacity transit near the site. We have implemented many of the recommendations from Capital Metro’s TOD Priority tool to create a Transit Focused Development.

Based on recommendations from a Transportation Impact Analysis conducted in December 2021, a robust Travel Demand Management Plan with a Shared Parking model shall be implemented to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips to the site, mitigate traffic impacts, and promote multimodal transportation solutions. While we are still working with ATD on the exact percent reduction on parking, we are currently evaluating a reduction of 35% from code requirements. This meaningful reduction of parking in tandem with a robust TDM requirement will provide a minimum trip reduction of 25%. The project will also provide a network of up to 6,000 feet of active trails, 10,000 feet of sidewalk, and an intentional trailhead to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and Violet Crown Trail including trail access, wayfinding, and interpretive materials, as well as access to parking and restrooms. It should also be noted that with the adoption of Street Impact Fees by the City Council in December 2020, this project has an estimated Street Impact Fee obligation of over $7M. The project will work with the City of Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation, and Capital Metro on improving external access to the site through a Traffic Impact Analysis process.

Water and Energy

Water – Today, much of the water that falls on the existing Brodie Oaks site drains directly across its surface parking lots, untreated, into the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Brodie, in alignment with the Water Forward plan, will provide building and site solutions that treat water as the valuable resource it is, and aim to reuse 100 percent of the rainwater that touches the buildings and immediate surrounding areas during each rainfall event. The project will capture all rooftop rainwater and condensate collected from the air conditioning systems and reuse this water for cooling towers and traditional landscape irrigation. The building will provide low-flow and efficient fixtures to reduce demand beyond minimum requirements in the Austin Energy Green Building star rating system.

Energy – Brodie will provide a dependable, low-carbon and adaptable energy strategy for the new development. Working closely with Austin Energy, the Brodie team aims to find optimal energy solutions at building-, site- and district-scale. At the building scale, the Brodie design aims to optimize passive design strategies through building orientation and massing and façade design to find the right balance of thermal performance and access to daylight and views. The project will investigate PassiveHaus design for the residential towers. The building will drive efficiency through high-performance systems, aggressively pursuing energy efficiency measures. At site scale, the Brodie team is exploring phased centralized district cooling and heating system, heat recovery chillers and various thermal storage alternatives. Through on-site solar generation with battery backup generation, the project is seeking to deploy distributed energy resources to make the site more resilient. Through collaboration with Austin Energy, the Brodie team is aiming to provide the right power supply, grid-tied distribution, and demand management programs to balance the grid as it adapts to growth in the South Austin area.

As the project moves into building design we will embrace biophilic design principles, connecting occupants and visitors to nature. This is a core concept for Brodie which enhances the physical and mental health and wellness of our community as well as integrating green, natural features into the built space communicating aesthetically, our commitment to embrace our natural systems.

Affordability

Housing – The Austin Strategic Housing Blueprint has recommended creating new and affordable housing choices throughout the city and helping Austinites reduce household costs. As a TOD District, Brodie will dedicate 10 percent of its TOD bonus area square footage as on-site affordable housing, regardless of rental or ownership—exceeding the baseline City requirements of 10 percent for rental and 5 percent for ownership and providing residents with access to existing high-capacity, lower-cost transportation choices like MetroRapid Route 803. This also aligns with goals of the City’s Housing and Community Development Department to ensure 25% of affordable housing is located in close proximity to high-capacity transit.

The Brodie team will work with trusted community partner Foundation Communities to provide approximately 130 family-oriented, affordable units serving those earning between 30% and 60% of median family income in a standalone building on-site and directly adjacent to a new neighborhood park and transit. The remaining commitment to affordable housing will be distributed throughout the project for those earning up to 60% of median family income. The exact number of units will be based on the final construction heights but is anticipated to be approximately 70 units.

Critically, Brodie is proposing to provide all affordable housing units on-site, rather than request fee-in-lieu. This means, rather than opting for a fee-in-lieu request, Brodie will create approximately 200 affordable units serving a broad mix of income levels and comparable in size and number of bedrooms to on-site market-rate units. This commitment represents an integral part of Brodie’s vibrant, mixed-use urban fabric.

Affordable Artist Space and Local Businesses – The Brodie Oaks Redevelopment will commit to 10,000SF of the planned retail space at 60% of market rents for artists. Brodie is committing to work with local businesses for a minimum of 25% of the planned retail space.