UPC Property Vision Introduction

In July 2018, Session commissioned the Bevo Lot Task Force Committee to discern “the highest and best use in the service of Christ at the University of Texas” regarding the paved lots with the Bevo statue at the north end of our property at San Antonio Street & 23rd Street. After three years of investigating a multitude of options, learning about neighborhood ordinances that impact our property value, talking with developers, non-profits, UT, the University Co-op, other area churches, real estate experts and legal experts the committee reported that for this portion of UPC’s property, a student high-rise with a long-term ground lease would be the highest and best use. However, this committee felt that the congregation needed to be informed of this information and educated on all the external factors that were impacting our property, many of which are ever-changing. This time of discernment was amid COVID-19. And as we all know, most things proved to be challenging during this time, especially communications.

As we emerged from Covid, these conversations were put on hold as UPC worked with Carrie Graham from The Church Lab (www.thechurchlab.org) during the Spring of 2022. Carrie worked with committees, Session, staff and various other church groups to ascertain what UPC felt was important to focus on and goals we would like to achieve as we emerged from Covid, began to gather as a community again in our church space and neighborhood, and looked towards our future.

One of the specific goals Session has set forth for our work as a church is to engage in meaningful conversations about our entire property in a season of significant changing neighborhood conditions. To help usher these conversations, the Property Vision Team was created by the Session in October 2022. The team members are Bee Moorhead, Dirk Kestner, Danny Dennis, Stephanie Seidel Holmsten, Martha Ernst, Suzanna Caballero, Josh Hsu, Shelley Kilday, Julie Miller, Sarah Fife Bland, Matt Gaventa and Stephanie Morris as chair.

During the first year, we engaged with members on the following topics in order that we might provide members with an education and understanding of our entire property looking from our past, our present situation and into our future:

  • Your stories of UPC
  • Portions of UPC’s history
  • The University Neighborhood Overlay ordinances and the value of UPC property
  • External factors that impact UPC’s property – both from the City of Austin & private development
  • UPC’s Parking now and into the future
  • Visioning UPC’s future
  • Designs by UT Architect Students

We created an email where you can easily submit questions or thoughts as they occur to you, so that you can always have a way to interact that fits your schedule. UPCpropertyvisionteam@gmail.com

This is a special moment for UPC. We have an important opportunity to explore the possibilities of what we as a congregation in our ever-changing and quickly urbanizing neighborhood can do to serve the mission of UPC, our members and the community now and well into our future. We are embarking on a faith journey. It’s our time to come together to share, and to learn from one another as we listen for God’s voice in this remarkable time.