Archives for November 2009

Qua Dance Club Now Admits Toddlers

Well, at least on the first Saturday of every month from 1pm – 4pm…..

Qua No Longer Just for the Butabi Brothers

I read this article in the Statesman over the holiday weekend, and I must admit, I was a little intrigued.  Apparently, a group of parents (The Little Lounge Lizards) have organized a monthly family-friendly dance party at downtown Austin dance club Qua (213 West Fourth) on the first Saturday of every month (skipping January 2010) from 1pm to 4pm.

I tend to applaud the daytime use element, and, although I’m not sure I had daytime clubbing for little ones in mind, the Statesman article makes it appear to be harmless enough and to be something that seems engaging….

Qua is probably best known as the dance club at the center of quite a bit of controversy (since 2007) about the shark “exhibit” that doubles as its dance floor, a controversy that has sparked PETA‘s interest and has also unified many Austinites against the club’s use/treatment of marine life.

Per their website, Qua offers daytime student field-trips to the shark tank, in addition to The Lounge Lizards’ dance parties.  It seems like, for whatever reason (the pursuit of profit, most likely), the club is trying to extend its money-making hours and demographic reach by incorporating daytime/family-friendly uses.

The Statesman article says that The Little Lounge Lizards group is negotiating with Qua to extend the monthly parties in 2010, however, negotiations aren’t finalized and the venue may soon change.  The next dance party will be December 5th from 1 pm – 4pm.

Source: “Kids – and parents too – can get their disco on”

Will The MACC Build A Tower In The Rainey Street District?

Will The MACC Build A Tower In The Rainey Street District?

It’s called Nahua Tower, and it’s a mixed-use tower design by Bercy Chen Studio.  “Bold” is an appropriate adjective to describe this design. Perhaps this is simply a conceptual exercise. But, if this or something like it were to ever get built, I believe it could be a showpiece for the city. Click the image and you’ll be taken to the Bercy Chen website where you can watch video of virtual ‘fly overs’ of the rendered building.

Nahua Tower Design By Bercy Chen Studio, Background Rendering by Mopacs @ SkyscraperPage

The Nahua Tower is being designed in collaboration with the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in Austin Texas. The tower will be built as an annex to the existing cultural center and provide an extension to the MACC’s existing facilities as well as residential condominiums. The base of the tower contains event, retail, and restaurant spaces, while the upper 28 floors are primarily residential condominiums.

The project takes inspiration from pre-colombian pyramidal architecture and incorporates these vernacular precedents into a modern tower using many traditional materials such as copper, onyx, and pit-house style bermed construction.

Thanks to KevinFromTexas for the heads up – the Nahua Tower concept/vision has been on the books for a while now.

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11 Reasons I'm Thankful to Live in Downtown Austin

11 Reasons I'm Thankful to Live in Downtown Austin

I’m thankful for many things in my life.  I have a wonderful family, great friends, and I am in good health.  But this blog is about living in Downtown Austin, so I’m not going to bore you with all that mushy stuff; I’m going to talk about Downtown Austin and my top eleven (everybody does top 10, which is soooo Letterman, if you ask me) reasons I’m thankful for living here as opposed to other places.

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The Driskill Hotel, 604 Brazos St

11.  I am thankful for our historic buildings, which give our city character and roots.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Cobb

10. I am thankful for people watching and the fact that downtown Austin is a place where people want to be.

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My Yard Before I Moved Downtown. Just Kidding.

9. I am thankful for the lack of yard work, because I suck at it and I hate it.

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8. I am thankful for the feeling of neighborhood and comradery. Downtown Austin has a small town atmosphere, where people know each other. I run into several people I know throughout the course of my day, and it’s always a pick-me-up to share a wave or have a quick chat with a neighbor.

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7. I am thankful for cool boutiques, where I can buy things like glow-in-the-dark jellyfish.

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6. I am thankful for the availability of unique living spaces with high ceilings and huge windows.

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5. I am thankful for relative carless convenience.

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4. I am thankful for The Ritz, and being able to order a vodka tonic while doing a Michael Jackson sing-a-long with 10 of my closest girlfriends.

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3. I am thankful for Town Lake/Ladybird Lake.

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2. I am thankful for a reserved parking spot, which means I don’t have to find (or pay for) parking during South by Southwest.

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1.  I am thankful for the nearby concentration and variety of services like restaurants, theaters, art galleries, coffee houses, bakeries, neighborhood stores, the library, and art museums. (To search a neighborhood directory click here.)

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Happy Turkey Day, everybody!

The December Discount

The December Discount

I’m sympathetic with contrarian investing practices.  You’ve likely heard that, in the real estate market, spring and summer are the “buying” seasons.  If that’s true, then there is an economic case for improving your purchasing power during the non-buying seasons.

Taking a two mile radius from downtown Austin, we show the average-discount-from-list-price ratio of sale price to list price (subtract from 1 to get the discount) for real estate sold in June and December. The data is obtained from the MLS and goes back to 2004.  On average, since 2005, you can buy central Austin property for less in December than you can in June.  Last year if you purchased in December then you saved an additional 3% from asking price.

I call it the “December Discount”.

This chart affirms, at least in part, that in recent years buyers purchasing in the “off season” are getting slightly better deals than buyers in spring and summer.  Since 2005 you can see the December Discount increasing with each year.  With the FHA loans currently filling a void in the credit markets, and a tax incentive bringing more buyers to the table, this year we might not see a continued divergence beyond 3%.

Green Water Treatment Plan: Pics Of Water Tower

Green Water Treatment Plan: Pics Of Water Tower

Thanks to DANA’s Greg Anderson for these great photos of the the falling water tower at GWTP.  SkyscaperPage’s KevinFromTexas has some great pics, too.