The Seaholm Intake is an iconic Art Deco building that once was the pump house for the Seaholm Power Plant, which operated until 1989. In 1996, Austin City Council authorized the decommissioning of the plant and all the associated buildings in preparation for future adaptive reuse.
In the fall of 2016, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and key partners discussed strategies to achieve the greatest public benefit for the Seaholm Intake and surrounding parkland that could best harness the energy and resources of the non-profit and philanthropic sector. A collaborative planning study led by internationally recognized architecture and urbanism firm Studio Gang began in June 2017 and was completed in 2018. The study provides PARD and The Trail Conservancy (TTC) with the programming, phasing, operational, and financial model needed to develop a world-class public facility that protects and celebrates the architectural and historical significance of the Seaholm Intake structure.
The plan, which relies heavily on public input via online platforms, stakeholder meetings, and public open houses, has served as a roadmap for future park improvements and repurposing the decommissioned Seaholm Intake structures for public use and recreation. The plan is ambitious and broken into several phases to bring the entire Seaholm Waterfront site to life incrementally.
In 2018, Austin City Council approved the Seaholm Waterfront concept plan. This plan illustrates the full completion of the project. PARD and TTC are managing their project in phases with the ultimate goal of fulfilling the entire concept.
Ultimately, full access to the Intake will begin upon completion of Phase 2, bringing the facility to life and providing the amenities and maintenance needed for daily operations. The Trail Conservancy launched a $15,000,000 capital campaign in early 2023 to fund Phase 2 and will begin the construction of this phase once the campaign goal has been reached.
Phase 1 was completed in September 2022. Phase 1, funded through Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue and 2018 bond funding, restored the main intake building to a level that allows small groups to visit the site safely with the support of City or TTC guides, but does not yet support large-scale events. The scope of this phase included:
- Cleaning the building’s exterior and removing graffiti
- Restoring the original windows
- Enclosing large openings in the floor by installing new flooring atop a modular steel system
- Reducing interior noise reduction with the installation of acoustic ceiling tiles
- Addition of new interior and exterior lighting
- Improvements made to ADA accessibility
- Adding a new roof
- Updates to the accessory building, providing restrooms and a staging area.
During the project’s current phase, The Trail Conservancy and the City of Austin Parks Department have planned various public programs that will allow safe, limited access to the space and surrounding parkland. These programs include, but are not limited to:
For More Information
All building photos courtesy of Austin Parks & Recreation Department.