Archives for January 2011

I’ve Got a Nice Little Sunday Planned….(New Royal Blue Grocery – PICTURES, Zach Scott, IF + D)…

I’ve Got a Nice Little Sunday Planned….(New Royal Blue Grocery – PICTURES, Zach Scott, IF + D)…

Actually we’ve got a nice little Sunday planned. We’re going to Home Depot to pick out some wallpaper, then maybe we’ll hit Bed Bath and Beyond… I don’t know! I don’t know if we’ll have enough time….

That’s what you say if you’re Frank “The Tank” Picard and you live in the ‘burbs.

But, if you’re lucky enough to live in downtown Austin, your Sunday probably looks quite a bit different.  I know mine usually does.

Take today, for example.  This afternoon, I “trekked” over to Zach Scott Theatre to do a little volunteering, and was then actually lucky enough to be able to see the show that’s currently running on the Kleberg Stage – “Red Hot Patriot,” a play about the revered Texas icon, Molly Ivins (played by Barbara Chisholm).  Good show. And, with the 2011 Legislature now in session, this play seems particularly appropriate to see.   AND, for the antsy among us, it’s the perfect run time – ~78 minutes, no intermission, and they sell booze at the concession stand before the show.  The fast and easy way to get in a little culture!

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Larry Speck Discusses Downtown Living

Larry Speck. That’s an important name in downtown Austin.  Architect and Professor, Larry Speck is a principal with PageSoutherlandPage and a teaches at the University of Texas at Austin.  Larry is the design force behind the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens, Austin Convention Center, AMLI on Second, and the Austin City Lofts, amongst dozens of other significant projects.  Also notably, Speck was pivotal in the design of Downtown Houston’s Discovery Green … an effort that Austin could look to as inspiration for bringing together a public park with underground parking that serves park activities and the surrounding area [MACC or Palm Park, please!].

Austin City Council recently presented Speck with a much deserved proclamation for all of his efforts in the City as well as at the University of Texas.  The American Institute of Architects recently awarded Larry the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education – the highest honor for an AIA educator.

DAB got a note from Roy Gatling at Austin-Architecture.com alerting us to some new video interviews of Larry on the topic of Downtown Austin.  Thanks, Roy!

Should The City Allow New Surface Parking On Rainey Street?

Should The City Allow New Surface Parking On Rainey Street?

It was the Downtown Austin Convention Center Overlay combined with a down market and CBD zoning that created a perfect environment for the bungalow-to-bar renovation boom on Rainey Street.  Now, to spur new infrastructure and a better mix of retail uses, allowing surface level parking in Rainey Street neighborhood is worthy of reexamination.

Some of my highly informed friends in downtown Austin, whose opinions I greatly respect, will disagree with me.  And, in general, I would discourage new downtown surface level parking in most circumstances.   Short of incentives to develop structured shared parking [underground!], we need to take a pragmatic look at how to deal with the Rainey Street neighborhood in the short-run.

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Violet Crown Cinema To Open In April

Violet Crown Cinema To Open In April

The 2nd Street District in downtown Austin is known for being a chic shopping and dining district in the city center.  Populated with trendy wine bars, boutique dress shops, upscale furniture stores, and fashionable residential apartments and condos, 2nd street’s motto “Shop. Live. Dine.” seems to encompass your options pretty completely.

Well, not after April 2011. The 2nd street district’s motto will most likely have to change to add the word “See.” As in, see indie art films. The Violet Crown Cinema is slated to open in late April of this year. [Read more…]

Car2Go Partners With Whole Foods HQ

Car2Go Partners With Whole Foods HQ

Need a car to get your groceries home?  Now you can hop in one of the dedicated Car2Go smart cars parked in the Whole Foods garage, according to today’s press release.  You’ll find them on the “P1” level of the garage.

Living on Rainey Street I sometimes have the impulse to walk to Whole Foods via a leisurely stroll on the trail.  Only to come to my senses a split second later about how I’m going to get groceries home.  So, I end up driving my car.  This is a practical solution that could change that.