The City of Austin and Travis County conducted a Market Study for the Travis County Expo Center. The study recommended potential future facility improvements and uses of the Expo Center to meet community needs and regional demand.  

Background

The City of Austin owns 1,872 acres of parkland known as Walter E Long Metro Park. The park is designated as a Metro Park and serves the entire city. The park is managed by the City. The Travis County Expo Center is a multi-purpose facility on 128 acres of this parkland, and is managed by Travis County under a 50-year lease that expires in December 2033.

History

Walter E Long Park

The City acquired the parkland in 1965. A master plan was completed in 1966 (updated in 1978). Components of the master plan that have been implemented include boat ramps, fishing piers and picnic areas. The Southwest portion of the park adjacent to the Expo Center has never been developed. 

Expo Center

The Expo Center was built in 1983 to host livestock exhibitions, equestrian shows, rodeos, and other recreational, education, cultural, and historic events. The Expo Center is the current home of the Austin Rodeo, as well as a wide variety of community events and trade shows.

Purpose of the Study

To determine potential future facility improvements and uses of the Expo Center to meet community needs and regional demand. Study scope included:

  • Review the site location, regional context and long-range plans for this area
  • Conduct stakeholder meetings and gather input
  • Conduct market analysis including industry trends, comparable facilities, and market demand
  • Make facility recommendations
  • Analyze capital construction costs
  • Provide financial performance projections and a financial needs analysis
  • Provide an economic impact analysis 

Key points about the study

  • Process to potentially redevelop the Expo Center is at a VERY early stage
  • Current activities are exploratory and focus on data gathering and analysis
  • The purpose of the study is to provide market data and feasible options to help determine a desired long-term vision

Market and Feasibility Study Final Report

Executive Summary

Full Study Report

 

Process and Timeline for Study

  • Request for proposals for a consultant was released in July, 2014 with proposals due in Sept, 2014
  • Consultant contract recommendation presented to:
    • Parks & Recreation Board - Jan 27, 2015
    • Austin City Council - Feb 12, 2015
  • Consultant contract executed - Mar, 2015
  • Study Kick-Off - May, 2015
  • Study findings and draft report presented to Parks Board, City Council and County Commissioners - March/April, 2016
  • Final report completed - July, 2016

Public Input Opportunities

  • April, 2014 - City staff provided an update and gathered feedback at the Colony Park Sustainable Community Initiative
  • August, 2014 - The City and Travis County hosted a public meeting to provide info and gather input from a wide range of stakeholders
  • January, 2015 - Open house to provide an update to stakeholders
  • May, 2015 - Public meeting during study kick-off for stakeholders to meet the consultant team and provide input to be considered during the study
  • October, 2015 - Stakeholder meeting for consultant to provide an update on the preliminary findings and for stakeholders to provide feedback to be considered as the study is finalized
  • March/April, 2016 - Study findings and draft report presented at Travis County Commissioners Court, Parks and Recreation Board, Austin City Council Open Space and Environment and Economic Opportunity Committees. 

Community Meeting Notes

April, 2014 - Colony Park Sustainable Community Initiative Meeting

August, 2014 - Community Outreach Meeting

October, 2015 - Stakeholder Update Meeting