By CASSIE MCKEE
Four Points News
Two months after 3M first announced it is selling its 156-acre campus in Four Points, 3M spokesperson Lori Anderson says the company is still in the early stages as far as finding a buyer and a new site to relocate.
“This process will take time and we are in the early stages,” Anderson said.
As plans for the sale move forward, officials with the Leander Independent School District are hoping to work with 3M on securing an easement through a portion of the property to build a secondary access road to Vandegrift High School and Four Points Middle School.
“In the past, 3M has verbally agreed to work with LISD in constructing the road through a small section of 3M’s property to access the BCCP infrastructure corridor and then Vandegrift and Four Points campuses,” said Jimmy Disler, senior executive director of facilities and operations for LISD.
The additional road to Vandegrift is a proposed, approximate 1-mile road to be built along an existing infrastructure corridor that borders the canyonlands and it would sit on a portion of the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan.
It would provide an essential second access point for thousands of students and parents each day, according to LISD Board of Trustee Pam Waggoner. Waggoner is also the founder of the Four Points Traffic Committee.
As 3M looks for potential buyers, however, its verbal agreement with the school district is now seeming more tentative, according to Disler.
“They are not wanting to put an easement on their property at this time as it could potentially jeopardize their efforts to sell the property,” Disler said.
He said there have not been any formal meetings set up between 3M and the school district; so far there has just been a phone call.
“In speaking with 3M, they know LISD has submitted our application to Fish and Wildlife to acquire a 10A permit,” Disler said. “This permit would allow us to construct the access road from the intersection of River Place Boulevard and Four Points Drive to the VHS/FPMS campuses.”
He said plans outlined in the application do utilize a small part of the 3M property to construct the access road.
“LISD can not force 3M to disclose this to potential buyers but LISD would hope they would disclose it in good faith to potential buyers,” Disler said. “In our application to Fish and Wildlife, it does state that LISD does have the power of eminent domain in the event we are not able to successfully work with landowners. But LISD’s first choice is to work with our neighbors and not to have to use eminent domain to acquire access to construct our road to the VHS/FPMS campuses should our permit get approved with Fish and Wildlife.”
3M Austin Center, located at 6801 River Place Boulevard, was established in 1988. The site features 1 million square feet of office and laboratory space and employs approximately 800 workers, mostly in the company’s electronics and energy group. The company’s manufacturing facility in Northwest Austin is not included in the sale.
“As 3M looks toward the future of growing global business center for 3M in Austin, the company is seeking a new workspace that further fosters innovation and collaboration,” Anderson said. “Our current Austin Center site has served us well for many years, and as we asses new workspace options in the Austin, Texas area, we will explore opportunities for buyers of the current Austin site.”
Anderson did not comment on plans for the access road.
In a September social media post, Waggoner said she and other supporters have been making calls and seeing what opportunities there might be for the road; however, she said 3M did not seem open to dividing up its property.
“We have asked 3M if (they are) interested in selling the portion we need for the road or any other part we might could use (and) they are not interested in breaking up the property at all,” Waggoner wrote in the post. “What we are discussing is if 3M needs to disclose to the new buyers that we have eminent domain and we need a road. We need some agreements and LISD has real needs we are going to have to address one way or another.”