TOWERS: Austin’s Seaholm Intake Building Hasn’t Looked This Clean in Decades

by James Rambin, TOWERS - Austin

April 29, 2022

The long-awaited rehabilitation of the Seaholm Power Plant’s former intake structure on the shores of Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin should complete its first phase early this summer, and if you’ve spent any time around the lake in the last few weeks you might have already noticed that this 1950s Art Deco landmark has received a heck of a good scrubbing — with decades of grime and a generation of competing graffiti tags blasted away from its concrete exterior, there’s a good chance the building hasn’t looked this fresh since long before the power plant stopped running back in 1989.

The project, which kicked off roughly six months ago in October 2021, plans to eventually adapt the building and its surrounding parkland over several phases into a signature indoor-outdoor park and public space we’re calling the Seaholm Waterfront, originally dreamed up in a 2018 vision plan by Chicago architecture firm Studio Gang after more than a few false starts and unused designs.

Over the course of adding fire sprinklers, safety railings, modified windows, extra ventilation, more lighting, various ADA access accommodations, a new roof, and all the other minor features that make it harder for you to die, the folks at the project’s contractors Balfour Beatty Construction Group discovered unforeseen leaks in one of the 10 wells inside the core of the building providing pump access to the lake.

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