Archives for September 2009

Round Up

Round Up

It's Better To Build Vertical Than Horizontal

It's Better To Build Vertical Than Horizontal

As we’re traveling this week, below is what’s happening in downtown Austin.

1) ROMA’s density bonus proposal (a must read pdf) is getting lots of attention, especially the conversation surrounding the Warehouse District.  Thanks to Miggy, M1EK, and Roger for the informed commentary.

Update: I encourage DAB readers take few minutes to familiarize themselves with ROMA’s proposal.  Page 21 highlights gradually sloping height limits from neighborhood to core.  The Warehouse District recommendations are a small component of a larger thought process.  Equal attention could be paid to the 3:1 FAR recommendation for the Market District along Lamar.  Philosophically, the entire proposal is still a “tax” on density in downtown Austin, which seems backwards to me.

2) The Austonian tops out.   Did you know that you can now see the Austonian from four counties?

3) J Blacks’ menu gets some respect from Maggie’s Austin.

4) ThunderCloud will soon serve subs below 360.

Downtown Austin Blog Is Growing

Downtown Austin Blog Is Growing

DAB reaches 100,000 hits

DAB reaches 100,000 page views!

I learned a new phrase a couple of weeks ago – “hyper-localized”.  That’s a fitting description of the Downtown Austin Blog, which surpassed 100,000 hits over Labor Day weekend.  Small potatoes for some websites, but this is a fun milestone for a local real estate centric blog like DAB.  We’ve been averaging 14,000 page views per month and growing.  August was our best month with over 18,000 page views!

Downtown Austin Blog is written by myself, Amber Gugino, an occasional guest contributor, and regular readers who contribute to the discussion – without many of whom the entire Austin blogosphere would be a lot less interesting.  The positive feedback (and constructive criticism) we’ve received from our readers is appreciated more than you imagine.

One day we might decide to shift everything to, but for now please continue to encourage your friends and colleagues to “just google ‘Downtown Austin Blog'”.



p.s. Have you subscribed to the RSS or email feed?

What's Going To Happen To Little City?

Whats going to happen to Little City?

What's going to happen to Little City?

According to and the ABJ, the Texas Public Policy Foundation is under contract to purchase the building located at 916 Congress Ave, aka. Little City Cafe!!!

Little City is a long-established favorite of Congress Ave’s retail/cafe offerings.  It’s loss would be frustrating news to those working to revitalize Congress Avenue [back] into a retail destination.

Hey TPPF, there are three empty buildings across the street – 907,909,911 Congress Ave – that are available.


For Real This Time: The I-35 Makeover Is Happening

For Real This Time: The I-35 Makeover Is Happening

I-35 Makeover, Day Perspective

I-35 Makeover, Day Perspective

In 2006, neighborhood associations on both sides of the interstate were empowered to develop a concept to enhance East-West pedestrian movement beneath I-35.  The vision was to take what is the most trafficked overpass in Austin, and create a landscape that is lighter and smaller in scale than the one currently dominated by the car.

The downtown Austin segment of I-35 was constructed in 1962 and served to physically reinforce the racial divide that East Avenue had historically represented.

Now, the City of Austin leases from the State the land below the I-35 freeway.  The area is uninviting to say the least.  As part of the makeover, that area will remain parking, while the perimeter and sidewalks connecting East Side to downtown will get something closer to the “Great Streets” treatment including trees, wider sidewalks, and benches.

From Cotera+Reed Architects:

“Fourteen curved and tapered galvanized steel poles will be supported under the freeway deck, and area lighting is attached along the undersides. Individually, the shape of the poles resembles a suspension bridge – re-associating the spot with connecting. Connecting land masses, across an interruption of the landscape, proposing the idea of separation and connecting at the same time. It is intended to be a gesture – a handshake under the freeway.”

Construction is scheduled to begin as early as February 2010.


I-35, night perspective

I-35 Makeover, Night Perspective

CITYSIT – An Interactive Urban Art Experience

As I walked into my office this morning, I noticed in the retail shell space below the Monarch parking garage were several massive chunks of ice surrounding a circle of chairs.  There were intermittent jars of water and candles sitting on the long stretch of windows.

As it turned out, this was an installation by CITYSIT.

You go in and sit for 20 minutes.  No talking, just absorbing the sounds.  Sitting still and shutting my brain off is not something that comes easily, but this was a very cool experience.  You can check it out for yourself tonight at 7pm.