New delay possible for Austin F1 complex. It’s all about water

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There is a handful of issues that continues to be of concern for everyone who is anxious to head down to Austin in June 2012. The main issue is whether the promoters can complete the planned Herman Tilke-designed track in time.

Add another bump in the road: water.

According to the Austin Business Journal, city officials are deliberating the permit and expiring agreement for water to be provided to Winding Creek. It all comes down to whether the change in planning for the site from a housing developing to a track complex will require the developer to resubmit plans through the city’s approval process. That could delay things from two to six months.

And don’t be surprised if it is even longer.

Here’s a bit from the journal:

The city is sending mixed messages about a tax-funded contract to bring water to the proposed site for a Formula One racetrack.

The confusion has left local infrastructure builder Lewis Contractors Inc. in limbo about the $2.6 million deal, while the company’s owner is ready to “get legal people involved.”

On July 27, the city certified Lewis Contractors as the lowest bidder to install a water pipeline to the Wandering Creek site. That was also the day F1 race organizers named Wandering Creek as the primary pick for a research park and racetrack.

City officials, however, said the water is approved for a stalled housing development there and that any change to that site’s use would require the developer, Wandering Creek Investments LP, to resubmit plans for approval: a two- to six-month process. That would require the project to be rebid, voiding Lewis Contractors’ successful bid.

Now, these types of permitting issues tend to be resolved by one of two things: money and relationships. Track developer Tavo Hellmund seems to have both, and this might be the first local test of those key assets. I fear if he can’t quickly address this, it doesn’t bode well for future hiccups he and the track development might encounter.

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