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JE Dunn, HOK, Square One Lead Expansion of Iconic Texas Complex

Wed June 28, 2023 - West Edition #14

Phase II of construction on the Texas Capitol Complex project is under way, marking two new state office buildings and one additional block of the pedestrian Capitol Mall along North Congress Avenue.
Phase II of construction on the Texas Capitol Complex project is under way, marking two new state office buildings and one additional block of the pedestrian Capitol Mall along North Congress Avenue.
Phase II of construction on the Texas Capitol Complex project is under way, marking two new state office buildings and one additional block of the pedestrian Capitol Mall along North Congress Avenue. The project team includes JE Dunn, HOK, Square One and more than 100 consultants, subcontractors and trade partners. The new state office buildings will include a five-story, 165,000-sq.-ft. building at 1500 Congress Ave., to be occupied by the Texas Department of Safety and other state agencies; and a second office building at 1501 Lavaca St., which will be eight-stories-tall, 360,000-sq.-ft. and will provide state-owned office space.  The project is slated to be complete in late 2026 and ready for tenant occupancy in early 2027. Phase 2 of the project also includes the extension of the Capitol Mall from 16th Street to 15th Street facing the north entrance to the Texas Capitol Building, completing the four-block pedestrian mall.

The second phase of the Texas Capitol Complex project is under way as a groundbreaking ceremony was recently conducted by the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC).

Phase II of the Capitol Complex Project in downtown Austin will commence construction of two new state office buildings and extend the pedestrian mall by one additional block along North Congress Avenue.

The project team responsible for building this massive undertaking has a local flavor and consists of general contractor JE Dunn; design, architecture, engineering and planning firm HOK; and Square One Consultants. Each firm has offices based out of Austin.

The design plan features two additional state office buildings at 1501 Lavaca St., City Block 39; and 1500 Congress Ave. on City Block 46. The first building will be eight-stories tall and 360,000 sq. ft. The second office building will be five-stories tall and 165,000 sq. ft. The extension of the final city block of the Texas Capitol Mall and the construction of an underground parking garage also are part of this construction package. The parking garage will be large enough to house more than 2,500 vehicles.


The project team is targeting completion of both buildings in late 2026, with occupancy in early 2027.

Excavation for the building being constructed at 1501 Lavaca St. has begun and is expected to be completed by January 2024. The foundation will be set that same month. Excavation activities for the second building at 1500 Congress Ave. are expected to begin in November 2023 and will be completed by April 2024. The foundation will be set that same month as well. Crews will begin excavating the footprint of the underground parking garage in January 2024. Excavation of the garage is expected to wrap in July 2024.

"It is an honor for the Texas Facilities Commission to lead the construction of the next phase of the iconic Capitol Complex," said Mike Novak, executive director of the Texas Facilities Commission. "We reconfirm our commitment to developing efficient workspaces for state government and public spaces encapsulating the spirit of the great State of Texas."

TFC has a mandate from the state Legislature to eliminate the reliance on commercial lease space and consolidate dispersed state agencies into a state-owned workspace. The state currently spends more than $37 million annually to house more than 7,500 employees in commercial lease space throughout metro Austin.

"This is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity," said Francoise Luca, Texas Facilities Commission spokesperson. "There are few projects that will have such a meaningful impact on the urban landscape and the future of Austin as this one."

"The [completion of Phase 1] and construction of Phase Two will create the required state-owned office space for state employees," TFC said in a statement. "This project will transform the Texas Capitol Complex into a new pedestrian-friendly mall, with new buildings and a modern government business complex. It will become a destination for all citizens of Texas."

As the gateway into the Capitol Complex, the pedestrian mall will include lush landscaping and green space for public gatherings, tourists, community festivals and events. The design of the buildings and pedestrian mall will complement the neighboring historically significant buildings and civic spaces, according to the design team.

"We are excited to see this project break ground," said Vanessa Rabe, practice leader of HOK's Austin studio. "Phase 2 will add new vibrancy to central Austin by drawing employees across the region to downtown while providing visitors and residents with improved pedestrian access to our beautiful Capitol Complex."

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Capitol Complex Project was completed in 2022 with the new construction of the George H.W. Bush State Office Building at 18th Street and Congress, the Barbara Jordan State Office Building at 16th Street and Congress and three blocks of the Texas Capitol Mall and underground parking garage. The Texas Capitol Mall is located on Congress Avenue between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and serves as the northern gateway to the Capitol Complex with public green space for tourism, events and festivals.

Phase I also included a new central utility plant that supplies chilled water to all Capitol Complex buildings north of 15th Street.

About Capitol Complex Project

The Capitol Complex Project is transforming the Capitol Complex as a destination that celebrates the Capitol with grand civic spaces, shaded pedestrian-friendly streets and connections to the surrounding community.

The Capitol Complex Project centralizes all state agencies previously located in leased spaces throughout Austin.

"Consolidating all state agencies within the Capitol Complex creates the potential to maximize operational efficiencies between and within the agencies, offers visitors easier access to agency offices, and eliminates the cost of leased space for these offices," TFC said in statement.

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