By now you've seen the news. UT says Frank Erwin is old, and taxpayers should build the university a new event center (I assume UT will still collect the ticket sales. They somehow skipped right over that tiny detail).I think that's absurd. We have a housing shortage. What Austin needs is density, not event centers. We have a unique opportunity to get rid of a useless waste of space and create some much needed student housing.
We need to treat UT like any other property owner. The goal of Imagine Austin is to create a compact and connected city. UT needs to realize it's 2014, not 1974. We don't need another anti-growth property owner insisting on some silly, outdated use of their property that does nothing to create a denser, more compact and connected Austin.
Lets do the right thing. Lets tear this thing down and build apartments--affordable apartments. And that means we need a Frank Erwin PUD (planned unit development)! A PUD is a tool that allows a developer to do their own thing on the property, while removing zoning requirements.
We also need to take a page from City Council and toss out the requirement that a developer needs to meet Tier 1 and Tier 2 requirements to alleviate the tax burden of the PUD. Look at City staff's recommendations on the current Austin Oaks PUD--they have not only tossed out the Tier 1 and 2 requirements, they are also getting rid of the unneccessary Heritage trees and other tree cover on the property.