Archives for March 2013

Downtown Austin Parking Requirements May Be Eliminated…

Downtown Austin Parking Requirements May Be Eliminated…

…by the City of Austin.

Still, today’s market demands parking, and lenders will continue to require their businesses to deliver a minimum number of parking spaces.

It would be a symbolic and legal step forward though because minimum parking requirements have many negative effects, including:

  • Generate greater automobile usage and reduce use of transit and walking.
  • Increase building construction costs and make units less affordable.
  • Negatively affect the aesthetics of the built environment.
  • Perpetuate the inefficient use of available parking. (Currently many parking spaces in garages downtown sit empty throughout the day and night.)

“The city of Austin currently requires businesses to provide a certain number of parking spaces proportionate to the size of the business’s building. Multiple city commissions have expressed support for changing this requirement.

Colin Pope, editor of the Austin Business Journal, said that eliminating the requirement would be more of a symbolic move because developers would still provide parking to keep tenants happy.” – YNN

Hotel Van Zandt To Begin Construction This Summer #foolmetwice

Hotel Van Zandt To Begin Construction This Summer #foolmetwice

If you’ve been around downtown Austin since 2006, you’ve been hearing about the Hotel Van Zandt.  It was a sister development to the Shore Condos, sharing the northern end of the site.  Hotel Van Zandt was initially planned to be a $100 million, 29-story hotel and condo tower.  The scope has been reduced to 16 stories and will include just the hotel component.

“Greg Clay, chief investment officer for JMI Realty, which is developing the Hotel Van Zandt, said his company has applied for building permits and expects to break ground by June on the 16-story, 327-room hotel. It which will be operated by Kimpton Hotels, a San Francisco company, which specializes in chic boutique hotels.

Though JMI has owned the site at Red River and Davis streets since 2006, the project had been stalled by the recession and other factors, but now it’s back on track.” – Austin Business Journal

I’m eager to see this hotel built.  We’ve heard this story before, though I’ve heard enough scuttlebutt this time to be optimistic we really will see dirt start turning.

-Jude

[above rendering by WDG Architecture]

hotel-van-zandt-site

Remainder of Austonian Block Sold

Remainder of Austonian Block Sold

The remainder of the downtown block surrounding the Austonian has been purchased from the Nalle family by World Class Capital Group.  There are no immediate plans for the site.

“The site that was purchased — about 1.3 acres — is bounded by Congress Avenue and Second, Third and Colorado streets. It includes a surface parking lot along with the land and building that house the Austin Children’s Museum, which will be relocating to the Mueller development in Northeast Austin, and Compass Learning.” – Statesman

WCCG has acquired several premiere downtown sites over the past couple of years, including Katz Deli, Spaghetti Warehouse, and the warehouse at 97 Trinity (across Cesar Chavez from the Convention Center).