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Highland Redevelopment Plan - Questions & Answers

What is ACC Highland?

ACC Highland is Austin Community College’s planned redevelopment of Highland Mall into a center for innovative learning. The ACC Highland project, which includes the ACC Campus opening in fall, will serve as an anchor for the larger redevelopment of the Highland area into a vibrant, walkable, and sustainable mixed-use district.

RedLeaf Properties is overseeing the mixed-use aspect of the project, with options for development on portions of the site not used by the college.

ACC’s role in the project is its mission of providing access to higher education.

ACC bought a mall?

That’s right. ACC’s Highland Campus is located at Highland Mall, one of the area’s first suburban shopping malls. The campus will bring new energy to this landmark property, and the mall site provides ample space to create a state-of-the-art learning environment.

ACC is proud to be part of Highland Mall’s revitalization. It's a great investment in the future of the college and community.

What are ACC’s specific plans for Highland?

The Highland Campus represents the first phase of the ACC Highland redevelopment project.

The new campus encompasses 200,000 square feet and feature modern instruction space, science labs, tutoring space, library, student commons, faculty offices, and ACCelerator – a high-tech learning lab that will enhance student success. 

Voters approved Phase II of the Highland Campus project in November 2014. Phase II will create a regional workforce innovation center that will train students for the jobs that are driving the Central Texas economy. Phase II features include:

  • Creative Digital Media Center
  • Health Sciences/STEM Regional Simulation Center
  • Culinary Arts & Hospitalit Management Center
  • Continuing Education
  • Regional Workforce Center

The 44-year-old Highland Mall closed to the public in April 2015 for pre-construction and abatement work.

Follow our progress as we transform the former Highland Mall into an advanced center for workforce training and lifelong learning at the ACC Bond Construction Projects website.

Does ACC plan to close any of its other campuses?

There are no plans to close any ACC campus. In fact, plans are in development for expansion and renovation of existing campuses. Highland Campus will provide additional instructional space to accommodate those renovations in addition to housing new facilities.

Why did ACC choose this location?

A key benefit of Highland Campus is its location in the heart of Central Texas, on the I‐35 corridor with easy access from Highway 290, Highway 183, and RM 2222.

Other factors are:

  • Proximity to public transit, including Capital Metro bus service and MetroRail.
  • Ample parking.
  • Its location next to ACC's Highland Business Center, which houses college administration.

How did ACC pay for the Highland property, and how will the college fund renovations to the site?

ACC paid for the Highland Mall properties and the first phase of redevelopment through revenue bonds. The ACC Board of Trustees is considering a potential bond election to help fund further renovations. See austincc.edu/bond for more information.

What does ACC own at the mall?

ACC owns all of the buildings as well as the mall land (more than a million square feet of space and approximately 80.8 acres). The college began purchasing property at Highland Mall in 2010 and acquired the final mall component in 2012.

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