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AUSTIN-A one-acre site considered the city’s birthplace is being renovated for its next job–that of green space for a CBD burgeoning with business and residential development. Once the park’s three-phase renovation is completed, Republic Square will link new and established condominiums projects, the Austin Museum of Art and new federal courthouse.

Daniel Woodroffe, principal with TBG of Austin, says the $1-million project will start with the preservation of important oak trees and installation of paths and landscaping to the “Auction Oaks,” the site of an auction in 1839 where 306 lots of the original city were sold. “That was the critical point when Austin technically was born,” Woodroffe says. These days, the land at Fourth and Fifth streets and San Antonio and Guadalupe streets is owned by the state and utilized by the city.

The project’s other two phases will include grading land and upgrading event space. Also on the drawing board are improvements to the park’s perimeter. Woodroffe tells GlobeSt.com that the project’s completion will depend on fund drives since no public money has been earmarked for the upgrades. The first phase will get under way in early 2008, with completion slated by the end of the year.

“This park had seen a number of master plans proposed during the past 25 years and had some significant modifications made during the 1970s,” Woodroffe says. “One of the primarily goals we face now is to redefine the space so we could preserve the history while updating it.”

Woodroffe points out that because Republic Square is a significant gathering place, as well as home to the Farmers Market, TBG sought input from the public and community groups before moving forward. He points out that the site has been great for city events, but the new design will help to improve it. “What we’re trying to do is make this a flexible, functioning space,” he adds. “Theoretically, thousands of people will consider Republic Square their backyard, especially with the number of condos going up adjacent to the project.”

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