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ACC Selects Architect for First Highland Mall Renovation

The Austin Community College District Board of Trustees has selected Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects (BGKA) as the architect/engineering team for the renovation of the former J.C. Penney property at Highland Mall.

The J.C. Penney building will be used for instruction, with space dedicated to innovative math learning and accommodating renovations of existing campuses. It is expected to open for the fall 2014 semester.

BGKA and the other finalists made presentations to the board at its January 23 meeting; trustees selected BGKA February 6.

The college expects to complete programming the use of space in the former J.C. Penney store by the end of February. This process identifies all of the individual spaces needed for the facility and will be used by BGKA to develop the architectural plan. The college is finalizing the selection of the site’s advisory committee, which will include community members.

“Community input is extremely important on all our projects, and ACC looks forward to continuing to work with the Highland neighborhood groups throughout this process,” says Ben Ferrell, executive vice president of finance and administration.

ACC also owns the former Macy’s and Dillard’s women’s stores at Highland Mall and is assessing future uses for those properties as part of the college’s Master Plan. In addition, ACC owns the land under the core of the mall. Buildings on that land are subject to a ground lease through 2070 with the company operating the mall; existing mall businesses will continue operations according to the terms of their subleases with the ground tenant.

The college is working with RedLeaf Properties in collaboration with the City of Austin’s Airport Boulevard initiative to further explore the opportunities presented by the entire Highland site as the remaining portions of the property become available for redevelopment over the long term.

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