Downtown News & Rumor Roundup

Downtown News & Rumor Roundup

Seaholm Intake given new lease on life

This Thursday, City Hall will announce the top three submissions for the Seaholm Intake reuse project, which seeks to breath life into a behemoth concrete building on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake.

The top ten visions were announced just recently and KVUE did a nice job of compiling an in-depth 27-pic slide show of the ideas.

This is a project long simmering that is starting to boil. A big hat tip to Council Member Chris Riley’s office and the City Parks and Rec Department for keeping the heat on.

Look back here Thursday for the Top 3 finalists.

Travis County Courthouse update

Travis County Commissioners Court has decided how it wants to build a proposed new civil and family courthouse, Community Impact reports.

The project is controversial because the county paid a hefty sum for a parking lot, effectively removing one of the last remaining developable blocks for a mega tower in downtown from the tax rolls.

The county is going with the design-build route, which puts the risk on the county but allows it to retain more control of the project. The alternative would have been a public private partnership, which would have deferred risk, but loosened county control.

The county plans to float bonds for the project, and confirmed plans to go to voters for approval at some unknown date.

I’m not going to hold my breath until a new county judge is elected. Either Andy Brown or Sarah Eckhardt could change course if elected, and I’m not entirely sure the public will approve the project to begin with.  If you’ve ever suffered through a Travis County Commissioner’s Court hearing, the court doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Dropbox moving into downtown Austin

Silicon Hills darling Dropbox is following other tech leaders and establishing another office in Austin, rumored to be downtown. Take that, Domain and Williamson County!

Two downtown developments gained site plan approval

When proposing a new project, the site plan approval period is the longest phase of city bureaucracy, laden with risks that can delay or derail a project. Getting the plans approved is a milestone.

Rendering of Capital Studios by Dick Clark Architecture

Rendering of Capital Studios by Dick Clark Architecture

In July, Capital Studios — a smart project adding affordable multifamily to downtown — and a new hotel at at Fifth and San Antonio (Derp: San Jacinto) both received site plan approvals.

The next step, which can happen in relatively short order, is to get a building permit, and break ground.

Here’s to hoping the hotel changed the architectural design a little. You may recall a January post where I poked fun at it for being a carbon copy of another hotel down the street.  You be the judge.

I-35 Cut ‘n’ Cap proposal getting national attention

I haven’t posted on the Reconnect Austin campaign to bury I-35 yet. For the record, I am for it, not the least for how it would open up the Waller Creek district in an unimaginable way.

If you’d like to learn more about the project, the national sustainable transportation advocacy blog recently featured it.

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. The Westin has a new design. It’s on the banner at the construction site. It distinguishes itself from Hyatt Place and is a good looking building.

  2. Fifth and San Antonio as you say above, or Fifth and San Jacinto as you link to in “poking fun of the design” piece?
    The Fifth and San Jacinto lot has been fenced off for a few weeks with a construction crane wandering around and has a Westin sign up, so I’m assuming they already had full approvals?
    Not sure, feeling pretty confused.

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