In lieu of costly renovations, officials have decided to demolish the closed university-owned Clear Springs Apartments to convert the riverside property into parkland.
The complex closed at the end of September 2013 after it was deemed an “uninhabitable living situation” for it residents, said Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services. Plans are now in motion to turn the property into an “extension” of Sewell Park.
Clear Springs did not meet any of the university’s safety codes, Nance said. The cost to renovate the complex into a livable environment for students was proposed to be around $10 million, and converting the apartments into offices was expected to total an estimated $20 million. The proposed renovations would be too costly, so officials developed a new plan for the space, Nance said.
The apartment complex consists of four buildings sitting along the San Marcos River across the street from Sewell Park and near Saltgrass Steak House. All of the buildings will be demolished, as well as the Hillburn House located on the property, said Juan Guerra, associate vice president of Facilities.
All of the apartments’ foundations will be demolished, and the asphalt of the parking lot will be removed beginning in March. The parking lot behind the Korner Stop convenience store, located next to the complex, will remain, Nance said.
The demolition of Clear Springs and the creation of a grassy recreation and leisure park on the property will cost roughly $600,000, Guerra said, which includes the “abatement of asbestos.”
“The area will be restored with vegetative matter,” Guerra said. “Grass or shrubbery or some kind of green space will be created with a small parking lot left for people who want to park there.”
The area will include landscaping and possibly pavilions and picnic tables, Nance said.
“It will be a nice green space where the concrete used to be, right there at the river, so it should beneficial,” Guerra said.
A protective zone will be created to shelter the river’s endangered Texas wild rice, leaving no access to the water from the edge of the property, Guerra said.
The project is predicted to be finished by fall 2014.