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Museum district poised for expansion
by Macy Hurwitz
June 22, 2012

Planetarium project first envisioned in 2003 gets development partner

Central Austin’s museum district could grow even larger if the Austin Planetarium organization and development partner KUD International LLC are awarded the lease they requested from the Texas Land Commission on property across the street from the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum of Art.

Austin Planetarium announced plans May 26 for the $240 million, 806,000-square-foot development proposed to occupy the southeastern block at MLK Boulevard and Congress Avenue. The project would fulfill the state’s written goals for mixed-use development with a planetarium, science and technology museum, museum gift shops, a 47-story residential tower, retail space and restaurants.

Moving forward

Austin Planetarium Executive Director Torvald Hessel said he is hopeful that the process with the Texas Land Commission could be complete within a year, and KUD Executive Vice President Tom Winter said the project should take between three and four years to build, meaning it could be complete in 2016 at the earliest. Winter said he is excited about the potential cultural impact the project could have.
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