About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR-Principal of REATX 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 serves on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.

Hard Hat Tour Photos of Seven Apartments (née 7 Rio), Scheduled To Open This Winter

Hard Hat Tour Photos of Seven Apartments (née 7 Rio), Scheduled To Open This Winter

seven_apartments_austin_highrise_southern_view

Admittedly, I was one of the disappointed spectators when the original concept, proposed as “7Rio”, was reduced to 23 stories.

Still, for the past 18 months, or so, many of us have been eagerly watching the construction site at the corner of 7th @ Rio Grande.  Earlier this year I speculated that Seven could even “go condo,” but it appears that multi-family development continues to have legs.

Now that downtown Austin’s Seven Apartments is approaching completion, and will be delivering residences this winter, we were invited to take a hard-hat tour of the tower.  This would be a great opportunity to get some insight into a new community that’s about to open in our neighborhood.  I could also start to compare how Seven will compete with existing downtown Austin apartments for rent.

I love taking hard-hat tours.  There’s no better opportunity to see the guts of a building.  For me [and definitely NOT Amber!] riding up the bone-jarring ear-splitting construction elevator adds to the excitement.  Peeking through the elevator’s diamond perforated sheet metal, accepting your fate as it creeps higher, you get a unique sense for how each additional floor impacts your perspective of what’s around you.

Here’s what we know about Seven:
Average Residence Size = 924 sf
Average Price per SqFt = $3.05 per month
Number of floors = 23
Number of residences = 220 (172 1bds, 48 2bds)

Seven-Apartments-Austin-Rio-Grande-7rio- - 12

More pictures from the tour after the jump!

[Read more...]





Seaholm Condos Move From Reservations To Contracts

Seaholm Condos Move From Reservations To Contracts

Seaholm condos at 222 West Ave, rendering by STG Design

According to a press release sent to Downtown Austin Blog, 80% of the reservations for the under-construction Seaholm condos have become full contracts.

Last October nearly all 280 residences at the Seaholm condos were snapped up in a matter of days of the project being announced.  The resulting frenzy of buyers trying to reserve units became a bit of a cluster, leaving subsequent people interested with the singular option of joining a wait list.  Now, I expect, many of those existing Seaholm “wait-listers” will very happily absorb the remaining 20% (56 units) prior to the building’s opening next year.

Seaholm was the first downtown Austin condo project announced post-recession.

When announced last year there were precisely zero competing high-rise condo proposals, no remaining inventory from the last building cycle, nor were there many downtown resales to whet buyers’ appetites.  Combined with below market rate pricing [relative to the newer downtown towers], the swell of interest in Seaholm was not at all surprising.  Seaholm’s rapid absorption reflects superb timing.

Trader Joe’s, the national grocery chain anchoring the development, should be open by the time the residences begin to receive their certificates of occupancy next year.  We’re stoked to see that the Seaholm “district” will be immediately active with retail and residents upon the building’s opening.  The entire development will be a solid addition to the increasingly pedestrian fabric of downtown Austin.

Interestingly, Seaholm could be getting a neighboring tower within a couple of years, too. Earlier this month Constructive Ventures announced a revitalized proposal for a 50+ story tower caddy-corner to Seaholm.

-Jude

Renderings courtesy of STG Design

Seaholm condos – Northwest elevation.  Renderings courtesy of STG Design

 

 

 





50+ Story Downtown Austin Tower Envisioned By Constructive Ventures

50+ Story Downtown Austin Tower Envisioned By Constructive Ventures

constructive-ventures-austin-energy

The Statesman is reporting some exciting news for the Austin Energy Control Center site.

Back in 2010, Constructive Ventures entered into a “Master Development Agreement” with the City of Austin for an agreed upon “transfer price” of $14,500,000.  Now that the economy is starting to show signs of strength, the developers think the next couple of years could be the right moment to deliver a 50+ story condo and office tower.

Constructive Ventures has a strong track record of development in Austin, including: Spring Condos, Barton Place, Pedernales Lofts, and Este.

The 1.7 acre site is located immediately north of the Seaholm condos, which is under construction, and west of 360 condos.  The site is one of the last missing pieces for developing the southwest district of downtown Austin.

While still a vision, if built, this would be an impressive addition to the downtown Austin skyline.  More important is this development would further improve the street-level experience for pedestrians.

Summary of what we know:

- 400 residences (condos for sale)
- 50+ stories
- 120,000 square feet of office space
- 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurants

The design has shifted from a two-tower plan to a single tower, and the architect of record is Brett Rhode, who also designed 7rio, Aspen Heights, and The Catherine (née Aquaterra).

Construction could begin as early as Q4 of 2015. Expect capital market conditions to dictate exactly when it could happen. Whenever it begins, expect 2.5 years to complete construction.

Just for fun, in the image you see above, we’ve overlaid a building massing onto the site in order to show [very crudely!] how a 50+ story tower fits into the skyline.  From the Statesman article, [architect] “Brett Rhode said the tower will be a mostly glass, with landscaped areas on different levels that will break down the scale of the building and enhance its visual appeal.”

-Jude

constructive-ventures-austin-energy





Why It’s Bull****: The Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet Is Too Tall

Why It’s Bull****: The Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet Is Too Tall

waller-creek-tunnel-height

Had the weekend to catch up on some old news, and this issue of the Waller Creek Tunnel inlet being too tall smelled foolish from the first I heard about it.

Kudos to the Statesman’s Sarah Coppola for the revealing a potential $45mm fix to reduce the height of the Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet would be wasted money since the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is already blocking the view.

Say what?! That’s right. “Fixing” the inlet structure to be fully compliant with the CVC will not regain any view! An existing government building is blocking the view already.

The Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet is under construction in Waterloo Park. This is the business end of the tunnel construction which was on target for completion in mid-2015.

It was almost two years when the tunnel’s under ground dig was passing beneath the Sabine.

I remain optimistic that elected officials at the local and state level will apply reason, rather than force the taxpayers to pay to bring the inlet into CVC “compliance.”





Forgotten About Downtown Austin Retail Space Available

Forgotten About Downtown Austin Retail Space Available

601e5thretailaustin

Many of you have passed by the Convention Center parking garage, and could be forgiven for not noticing the vacant retail space that wraps the ground level of the garage.  For the better part of 10 years the City and Harry Whittington were entrenched in lawsuits.

The space is finally available and the City is looking to get it leased up quickly.  The location at 601 e 5th Street is one block from the Metro station, Convention Center, Moonshine, and 6th Street.

I think if the City gets a synergistic mix of tenants this could be the beginning of a downtown retail hub, anchored by Waller Creek and the Metro station.  The location is excellent and is only made better with obvious access to parking above.

convention-center-garage-retail

Within a half-mile you’ll find 7,365 hotel rooms, ~6mm feet of office, 69 retail stores, 84 restaurants.  The City had an appraisal completed pegging the anticipated rent rate of $15.00-$18.00 NNN per year, which seems pretty conservative, even for the shell condition of the space.

There are three retail spaces available along Red River, ranging from 3,580 ft for the smallest space to the total contiguous 14,890 ft.

If you’ve got a good idea, the City is accepting lease proposals.

-Jude

p.s.  If you want to check out the building, the Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) recently relocated its visitors center to one of the prominent spaces along 4th Street (much better digs than their old 6th Street spot, IMO, and includes curated murals from local artists).

601_E_5th_Street_-_Attachment_A





Downtown Austin Aloft & Element Hotel Proposal for Congress Ave

Downtown Austin Aloft & Element Hotel Proposal for Congress Ave

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftElementHotelrender3

At last night’s Downtown Commission meeting, we heard from White Lodging on their proposed 33 story, 353 foot, 410 key, dual-branded Aloft/Element hotel at 7th & Congress Ave.

They paid more attention to engaging Congress Ave this time, compared to what they did originally with the JW.  The rhythm of the columns, al fresco dining, and dramatic doorway from Congress are hat tips to connecting with the street scape.

The development is seeking a zoning variance related to step-backs and loading docks, which the DC voted to recommend to City Council provided that: 1) accommodation be made to the adjacent Hideout Theatre, which shares a party wall with the proposed development, 2) keeping the shared alley and sidewalks clear, 3) The South facing wall has no windows since the adjacent property could eventually be developed. There is a light well, but additional architectural consideration should be paid to this wall since this will be the most visible face of the building.

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftElementHotelrender1

One interesting feature of this proposal is there will be zero parking spaces (excluding ADA requirements) and only three valet spots.  This isn’t the first Congress Ave hotel concept to propose no onsite parking.

I’m a believer in reducing parking to increase demand for public transit and reduce reliance upon cars.  It’s a rip-the-band-aid-off and get through the pain approach.  But, only three valet spots for such a large building?  Haha, lets watch this play out!  White Lodging knows a thing or two about operating successful hotels and how to park them.  The free market will determine the wisdom of this decision.   If they make it work it will be a huge signal to other developers about what is possible.

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftHotel4

Overall, I’m impressed with the proposal. It’s reflective of a city that’s grown up (not growing up) and it’s important that we support projects that bring density to narrow lots.

Tall and slender, if built, this would be the first new skyscraper on Congress Ave since … well… White Lodging’s other hotel currently under construction, the 1000 room JW Marriott.

-Jude

7thandCongressWhiteLodgingAloftElementHotelrender2





Downtown Austin Round Up: Fairmont, Waller, Trinity, Oh my

Downtown Austin Round Up: Fairmont, Waller, Trinity, Oh my

downtown-austin-news-roundup

Have you experienced the phenomena that BIG things seem to happen when you’re on vacation?  This past week, while we attempted to cruise, there were multiple status report updates about three tall projects in downtown Austin.

99 Trinity Tower Announces $100mm, 39 Story Apartment Highrise

99trinityaustinapartmentBack in November, DAB broke the news about Trinity Tower.  Located just east of the Four Seasons Residences, and north of Lakeside apartments.  This will become a very dense intersection.  We have big expectations that this highrise will fill the perceptive gap between the Rainey Street neighborhood and the rest of downtown Austin.  We’re thrilled that they are aiming high with a 39 story tower, which would be the tallest apartment building in Austin.  Demolition of the warehouse should commence soon.  (Statesman)

Waller Park Place Closes On Land

waller_center_austin_Rainey_perspectiveThe Sutton Company closed on their deal to buy Perry Lorenz’s incredible 3-acre assemblage along Waller Creek.  What Sutton is proposing is nothing short of the largest private development in the history of downtown Austin.  Three towers in the Rainey Street district, including significant Waller Creek enhancements, stretching from Cesar Chavez to Davis Street.  (Statesman)

Fairmont Selects Builder

fairmont-austin

fairmont-birdseye (1)

This was significant because half of the people I talk with have begun to think this project is vapor-ware.  The project was planned to break  ground a while back.  The Fairmont website is showing delivery in “2016+”, and the sign pictured above says “Opening Fall 2017″.  We hope this is a reliable signal that the project will break ground soon. (Statesman)

-Jude

 





New CBD Office Tower Proposed For 5th & Colorado

New CBD Office Tower Proposed For 5th & Colorado

5thatColorado

Some of you will remember 2010 when a Starwood backed “1 Hotel” was proposed for the corner of W. 5th & Colorado Streets (201 W 5th Street).  At the time, the low-rise-circa-1980s structure was demolished (<– check out the old pics and hotel rendering), creating the current surface parking lot and food trailer court that exists today.

A site plan application filed by Bury with the City shows a 20 story building surpassing 344ft. The elevation actually starting with 100 ft at grade, thus putting the above ground height, including mechanical, at ~269ft (thanks to Kevin Lehnhardt for the insight!).  Last year, Dallas-based Lincoln properties planned a 16 story tower, so it’s grown a bit since then.

The valuable CBD development site is not encumbered by a Capital View Corridor, and is an entry point to the Warehouse District.  Once they break ground, this will be the second major office tower under construction along Colorado Street.  Combined with the construction-soon-to-commence Gables/Hotel ZaZa at 4th & Guadalupe, the new density bodes well for more daytime retail and restaurant offerings in downtown Austin.

5th & Colorado rendering from last year.

Rendering from last year by HKS.

Ground floor, drawing by Bury

Drawing by Bury, ground floor showing restaurant along W. 5th Street





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 9/18/14 7:34 AM PDT. Neither the Board nor ACTRIS guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. All data is provided “AS IS” and with all faults. Data maintained by the Board or ACTRIS may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.

Information being provided is for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2014.