Archives for April 2009

Historic Brazos Lofts

Historic Austin - Brazos Lofts

Historic Austin - Brazos Lofts (orig. Capitol Chevrolet)

The Brazos Lofts embody the definition of downtown loft perhaps more than any other Austin property.  From both the inside and outside it feels authentic.   Originally constructed in 1925, the Sutton Company completed the downtown Austin conversion in early 1999.  Each loft space is separated by a brick wall.  Most of the units have original narrow-plank hardwood floors.  True to its character, the Brazos Lofts is only three stories (two stories in most of the building) and is home to only 39 condos.

Josh and Marie McJilton are residents at the Brazos Lofts.  They’ve decided it’s time to step into more space, and below they share what they love about the building.

“We have lived in our downtown loft for 4 1/2 years and have loved every minute of it.  We love our building and our home for many reasons.  It has so much character and history.  It is truly a one of kind building.  The utilitarian past is preserved in the original structure.  This combines with the modern design and floor plan to create a feeling of history and the contemporary all at once.  The open floor plan creates an awesome sense of space that makes the unit feel much bigger than it’s 1111 sqft.

Outside the walls of the loft, the location of the building is unbeatable.  Being one block from the epicenter of downtown Austin, 6th and Congress, puts you within walking distance of everything downtown has to offer.  Parking the car on Friday afternoon and not seeing it again until Monday morning is one of our favorite ways to spend the weekend.  We love taking walks in our ‘front yard’: the grounds of our beautiful Texas State Capitol building.  We ride bikes in our ‘back yard’, the Lake Ladybird Trail and Barton Creek Greenbelt, as often as we can.  And, being one block from 6th Street and two blocks from the Warehouse district, we’re never far from a great meal or good time.”

Along the ground level of East 5th Street are a row of spaces that are, in addition to being livable, zoned for light office, gallery, and salon space.   Other notable Austinites that have chosen to dwell at the Brazos Lofts include urban planner Cid Galindo and Austin Chronicle writer Marc Savlov.  The best barbershop in Austin IMHO, the Good Life Barbershop run by Debbie and Ryan Videtto, is located in the coolest subterranean space in downtown!

-Jude

p.s. More photos can be found here.

Travis House

Travis House

Travis House formerly Hotel Guadalupe and YWCA

Travis House formerly Hotel Guadalupe and YWCA

Austinist is reporting that Travis House could be replaced soon.   I haven’t seen plans for what could replace it, but the owners believe it needs to be razed to do whatever it is they might do.   Eric Van Hyfte of BOKA Powell architects appealed to the Historic Landmark Commission last night (detail pdf).

The structure currently known as Travis House is sort of downtown Austin obscurity.  The building has been vacant for years and was victim of a fire in January.  In past this building has served as a YWCA and also the Guadalupe Hotel.  Before 1946 the site was the location of a Southwestern Bell garage.  I recall while at UT, the building was a halfway house.

Interestingly, directly across the street at the burned out Guadalupe Arts Center, 1705 Guadalupe and 1715 Guadalupe have jointly obtained entitlements for 350 foot height and a 12:1 FAR which translates into a 30 story tower.

It’s my understanding that historic landmarks do nothing to preserve the ‘history’ of a building, only to prevent it from being torn down.   If anyone has more information please email me or share in the comments.

-Jude

image links to pdf

Thanks to DANA’s Roger Cauvin for the heads up on this Daily Texan article!

Downtown Austin Blog Featured On News 8 Austin

Heidi Zhou at News 8 Austin interviews Jude Galligan of Downtown Austin Blog regarding the fees and expectations of the Brazos Place condo auction. It’s a pretty short clip.

Bodies In Urban Spaces

Bodies In Urban Spaces (Philadelphia)

Bodies In Urban Spaces (Philadelphia)

I drove by this group of people dressed in fluorescent colored sweat-gear practicing [something] outside the downtown Austin post office, yesterday.   I learn today that this is the Bodies in Urban Spaces dancers.  Cool!  From the website:

“…Bodies in Urban Spaces, besides being a wonder of organization and stamina, was a model of public art: free, fun, and transformative.” – Lisa Kraus Philadelphia Inquirer, 06.09.2008

Thanks to Austin Texas Daily Photo who also tells us you can catch the dancers today at 11AM in Republic Park.

-Jude

Downtown Austin: Useful Data For Protesting Your Property Taxes

If you plan to protest the latest property tax assessments, you can maximize your effectiveness by arming yourself with the right tools: sales comps.   Property tax assessments are based on the previous year’s values.  Your most immediate comps will be in your building, then your neighboring buildings, then greater downtown, etc.  To get you started, we are going to focus on fourth quarter 2008 transactions.  You can download the data set below.

21 = number of downtown Austin sales in Q4-2008
$311 = average sale price per foot
$263 = average sale price per foot of properties built pre-2000
$322 = average sale price per foot of properties East of Congress Ave
**this data does not include developer sales**

Not sure of your property’s value assessment?  Visit Traviscad.org and search by your address.  Print a copy of the protest form and submit by May 31st.  BTW, the County’s value assessment has little to do with the amount you can sell your property for – so fight on!

pdf list of Q4 sales.
xls for the quants 🙂

-Jude