Archives for May 2009

Four Seasons Residences Topped Out

ABJ is reporting, and I can look out my window to confirm, that downtown Austin’s Four Seasons residences have topped out their construction on the 32nd floor. Construction is scheduled to wrap up in Q1 2010.

link

iBidCondo.com

iBidCondo in action…

The first iBidCondo auction was held last night.  The result was a high bid for the right to purchase a condo originally priced at $690,000 at the Star Riverside – located on I35 and Riverside Dr and planned to be complete in 18 months – for $87,000.

Watching the video above, the process is just too anonymous for me to get comfortable with.  At the recent Brazos Place auction there were hundreds of real people in attendance. You had an existing building.  You could see the person that won each auction. The market clearing price for Brazos Place’s 19 downtown Austin condos was $282 per foot. The auction company was not affiliated with the developer.

From the iBidCondo FAQ:

“A selection of the properties listed on iBidcondo are being developed by Constellation Property Group. Constellation Property Group is an affiliate of iBidcondo.”

Constellation Property Group is the developer of Star Riverside condos. Constellation Property Group is also listed as the registrant contact for the domain iBidCondo.com. It appears CPG is more than just an affiliate.

Was this a real auction? Or, was this was a cunning loss-leader for Constellation Property Group?

I suspect there will be a couple of people that will “win” these “auctions” and have the right to close on the units for highest bid once the building is complete. In my opinion, the risk of Constellation not completing construction is real and iBidCondo only serves to further that concern. Constellation wouldn’t sell every unit like this and still expect a return on investment of construction dollars.

Hmmm…

Paul D’arcy has an interesting write up at Austin Towers and DAB will continue with updates as I learn more.

-Jude

South Austinite On Downtown

Proving once and for all that it’s OK (really) to live in South Austin and embrace downtown Austin urbanism… Michael Barnes, the Statesman’s social columnist, relays some quick math on the downtown Austin great streets program.

“Imagine all the shade trees, smooth, wide walkways and space for sidewalk businesses, especially cafes”

Link to Statesman

Thanks to DANA’s Greg Anderson for the heads up!

Bridge Jumping in Downtown Austin

Bridge Jumping on Lady Bird Lake

Bridge Jumping on Lady Bird Lake

APD and PARD are cracking down on bridge jumpers, according to KXAN.

More bridge jumping photos can be found at Living Off The Air blog.

-Jude

Sprawling From Grace; Driven To Madness

I discovered this documentary, Sprawlling From Grace; Driven To Madness, about the adverse effects of sprawl.  Have any Downtown Austin Blog readers seen this?  The blog has great photos of old Texas towns.

In Austin, sprawl has encroached on the Backyard, Hamilton Pool, and just about every green belt in the form of horizontal development and black-top parking lots.  Simultaneously, Austin has seen the benefits of urbanism.  The most salient display of this trend is the surge in density in downtown Austin over the past 10 years.   In an ideal world urbanism would provide attainable housing, replace automobile reliance with mass-transit, and reduce the development impact on our hill country.

Austin is finding its way and the discussion is passionate.  Our city has vocal advocates for protecting views of the Lady Bird Lake and the Capitol building.  A worthy endeavor indeed, but does this result in bolstering already expensive land values in the urban core neighborhoods and thereby inhibiting the development of more attainable housing?  How should the city prioritize its goals?

From the website:

“Wrestling with these emerging realities, state and city governments are finding that they can no longer encourage these patterns of growth by further investing in highway and utility infrastructures. They are now forced to find viable alternatives by investing in public transit in the form of BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), commuter rail, and light rail to serve their community’s transportation needs. Through this process they are gaining an historical understanding of the relationship between land use and transportation.”