Archives for February 2013

More Downtown Austin Apartment & Condo Projects Emerging

More Downtown Austin Apartment & Condo Projects Emerging

It seems like almost every direction we look around downtown Austin, construction cranes are deployed, helping concrete and steel skeletons reach to the sky.  Notably the JW Marriott hotel, across from the Austonian, has three cranes in place and will soon take shape.  But that’s just the newly visible construction: in and around downtown Austin there’s upwards of 8 million square feet of construction planned or underway.

Sometimes we forget to look outside of the downtown core.  Still, there on the far wings of downtown Austin, even more construction is (literally) on the horizon and DAB is here to give you a first look.

North Shore Lofts
More Rainey Street District development is on the way, joining the Sutton Towers, Austin Skyhouse and the (perpetually-stalled) Hotel Van Zandt. Not much is known at this point, but a new multifamily development is planned on a vacant plot of land on the north shore, next to the Holiday Inn right by I-35.

If built, the views of Lady Bird Lake would be incredible (and protected).

This site, addressed 16 North I-35, was rezoned from downtown mixed-use (DMU) to central business district (CBD) in 2005, and at the time was owned by Tom Calhoon, of Calhoon Properties.

Coming Soon: "North Shore Lofts"

Coming Soon: “North Shore Lofts”

West Campus Apartments
Don’t be fooled by the name, this project, at 17th and Guadalupe is not actually in “West Campus“, and is also planned to have condos.  Since as long as I can remember, this area near the Dog and Duck Pub, is one of the most run-down areas remaining in downtown, with a lot of properties sitting idly in disrepair.

Last time this site was anything productive it was an Arby’s.

Hopefully, this project will spur additional redevelopment of the low-density legacy buildings all around here. A few blocks north, the UT School of Business is building a new center next to the Player’s Club, which will also expand the AT&T Conference center, which might help energize the area, too.


1715 gdlp current

Coming Soon: “West Campus Apartments”

FLOR coming to Downtown Austin’s 2nd Street District March 7, 2013.

FLOR coming to Downtown Austin’s 2nd Street District March 7, 2013.

Looks like FLOR will be opening in downtown Austin’s 2nd Street District (209 W 2nd to be exact, where Mercury Design Studio was – they’ve now moved 2 doors down).

They’ll be opening a day before SXSW 2013 starts, just in time for the crazy crowds.  We suspect they’ll do well in the area with DWR and Mercury Design Studio nearby – as well as several high-end downtown austin condos and apartment buildings, and look forward to doing a little shopping there ourselves.



Event Details for 2013 SXSW Emerging

Event Details for 2013 SXSW Emerging

[plug: TOWERS Realty has helped dozens of companies secure a downtown venue during SXSW.]

It’s coming up to the time of year again when tech, film and music fans descend on Austin for SXSW.

With every year, SXSW seems to grow bigger and more unpredictable, but bits of information are starting to trickle in about what will be happening and where.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we know is in the works so far:

  • This year, Sixth Street blocks, from Brazos to I-35, will be closed to traffic for more than a week, from March 8 to March 17.
  • Filter Magazine has Bar 96 and Lustre Pearl for Interactive, and the Rainey Street district will be subject to police emergency closure from March 8 to March 17. (It’s rumored that Google Village will return somewhere)
  • East Fifth street, on the east side of I-35, will be closed from March 13 to March 17.
  • Pandora is setting up shop in Antones (former) space at Lavaca and Fifth again. In 2012, Pandora founder Tim Westergren kicked off a “Pandora Discovery Den” there.
  • VICE is back again, setting up for mayhem off the beaten path on the west side of 3rd and I-35, where a current Crossfit gym is.
  • Spotify is hosting an event at Cenote Coffee, which is on the east side of I-35 on Cesar Chavez.
  • The Carmelo’s parking lot, at Red River and Fifth, is being converted into a mega music stage for title sponsor Doritos.
  • Skype is planning something in the lot at 7th @ Trinity Street.
  • Red Bull has the parking lot fronting I-35 @ 6th Street

The Statesman also just posted a preview of what to expect from the Interactive fest, which it notes was “once a modest offshoot in the ’90s focused on multimedia” and as we all know, later gave birth to Twitter.

Twitter was buzzing with complaints from attendees last year about the clogged roads, resulting in people missing many of the panels and events they came to town for. It’s said that’s what led to the decision to divert some of that programming to Las Vegas, this August. We’ll see how it impacts this year’s events.

Traffic aside, it’s inevitable that this year’s SXSW will continue to beg the question about how much capacity there is in downtown Austin for increasingly large events, particularly amid the non-stop construction. The City recently released data that said special events, such as SXSW and the Formula One Fan Fest, grew from 108 in FY10/11 to 136 FY11/12, up 26%.

Admittedly, it is a “good” problem to have and certainly one of the perks of living in Austin, as well as a huge financial contributor on almost every level of the social ladder.

For us downtowners, this is a blessing and a curse as it impedes many of our habits and routines. But it is certainly undeniable that there is an electric charge in the air when SXSW starts rolling into town every year. It’s a combination of the perfect weather season in Austin, followed by an abundance of creative energy that reminds us why we chose to make Austin our home to begin with.

To me, that’s worth celebrating.



Brass House to Open in Downtown Austin Convention Center District This Friday

Brass House to Open in Downtown Austin Convention Center District This Friday

The little 100 block of San Jacinto has seen a little turn-over recently.  Hank’s Garage, which had been vacant for some time, was recently taken over by a concept called El Ceviche Grill, and the bar that was Skinny’s Ballroom – which closed not too long ago (and we here at DAB were pretty sad, we had been rooting for them) – has a new concept coming in called Brass House (website looks to be in progress).

I’ve been surprised at the lack of success at some of the places in the general area, considering the hotel & convention traffic coupled with nearby high-rises such as The Four Season’s Residences, The Austonian, and the Rainey Trio of The Shore Condos, The Milago, and Towers of Town Lake.  Perhaps sky-high rent and massive competition have been too much for many of these small operators.

Either way, I’m intrigued by Brass House.  Describing itself on its Facebook page as a Jazz House, Wine Bar, and Gastropub concept, the finish-out looks in keeping with catering to a higher-end clientele and they are touting that food such as “Dolmas, hummus, pickles, paninis, salads, charcuterie boards” will be “All made from scratch in house or bought from a local family owned source….”.

Here’s a picture of some of the decor that captures the general vibe of the place.

Brass House is supposed to open this Friday, February 8, at 4pm.  I’ll likely walk by to check it out and I’ll be sure to update this post with my thoughts!