AUSTIN-Austin City Council has agreed to rezone a five-acre, downtown site for a proposed world headquarters for Vignette Corp. plus kick in $25 million in incentives for the project.

To get the incentives, Vignette must agree to a short list of improvements for the building project. The $25-million package calls for reimbursement of the first $20.4 million in property taxes plus a waiver of $4.5 million in development fees. The package is a means to keep Vignette from heading to west Austin or the suburbs, where a comparable project would cost $75 million less. In exchange, Vignette must clean up an overgrown creek that runs through the property and widen Cesar Chavez and Red River streets, which access the site. Vignette expects the improvements will cost as much as $7 million.

Vignette now offices its 1,000-plus workforce on Mopac Boulevard. The five-year-old company has experienced a ten-fold growth in the last several years and desperately needs more space.

Last night, the property’s zoning had been changed from commercial and multifamily so the site will have CBD status, allowing for higher density and greater height in the area, says Greg Guernsey, a principal planner with Austin, told

Vignette plans two to three, 25- to 30-story office buildings, retail and a parking garage on the site. The first phase of the project includes one building totaling nearly 750,000 sf. Vignette has yet to select a project architect.

“Now we’ll begin working with the city planners and look at a go-ahead strategy,” says a Vignette source. He says the company expects to break ground in about six months and complete the project within two years.

The city’s next step will be approval of a site plan, which is an administrative step and not subject to council approval, says Guernsey.Council had unanimously approved the rezoning while the incentive package had passed on a 6-1 vote, with councilwoman Beverly Griffith abstaining.

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