About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, Broker-Owner of REATX 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.

Downtown Austin Aloft & Element Hotel Proposal for Congress Ave

Downtown Austin Aloft & Element Hotel Proposal for Congress Ave

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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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





Rainey Street Gets Bike Share

Rainey Street Gets Bike Share

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The latest bike share hub being installed this morning at Davis & Rainey Street.  Just in time for SXSW, this is a good choice of location in the neighborhood.  Across the street Hotel Van Zandt is under construction.





Development Team Closes On Block 1

Development Team Closes On Block 1

Rendering by SCB from August 2013.  SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw

According to a City of Austin release, representatives with the City’s Economic Development and the project development team closed on the GWTP property (aka “Block 1) on January 31st.  The development team is Trammell Crow, the Hanover Company, and Pacific Life Insurance.

Block 1 is a pivotal downtown waterfront development.  It will improve connectivity with Second Street through to Nueces Street, the new Central Library, and the Seaholm District.

Orientation of Block 1

Orientation of Block 1

Summary of what we know about Block 1:

  • Located at Cesar Chavez and San Antonio Street.
  • Total project size is approximately 1.7 million square feet of mixed use development.
  • Block 1 totals 1.776 acres of land
  • 38 floor three-tiered mixed-use tower
  • expect 440 apartments, including 50 affordable units
  • 40,000 square feet of office and retail space.

The residential component is still being referred to as apartments for rent, and given Hanover’s participation we’ll take that at face value.  (Hanover developed the Ashton).  We should see site work commence in February with public streets and utility work, including the extension of Second Street.

Back in August we caught a glimpse of what Block 1 tower could look like.  According to today’s release, the development team continues to signal it will be a 38 story building with a three-tier design, which is consistent with the rendering and elevations we’ve seen.

If you look at the downtown skyline from the south (78704), you’ll notice there’s a giant gap in the skyline between the AMLI on 2nd to the east and 360 Condos to the west.  This project should fill that gap nicely.

More importantly, the walkable connectivity this project brings cannot be understated.  It’s literally creating more “grid” and that’s perhaps the greatest upside this project can deliver to city-dwellers. 

-Jude

South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

Rendering by SCB from August 2013.  SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw

Rendering by SCB from August 2013. SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw





Storage Wars: Top Three Options For Condo Dwellers

Storage Wars: Top Three Options For Condo Dwellers

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I recently helped a couple downsize from a 3,000sf suburban home into a 1,000sf condo.  Getting this empty-nester couple to move would not have been possible without storage.  They purged a lot, but still ended up using all three of the options below.

Where space is scarce, storage is costly.  Prices for storage units have gone up in recent years.  A few times each year we see a storage unit come up for sale at the Shore Condos.  The last one was ~$7500.  Recently, I observed at 360 condos a storage unit trade for $15,000.  Storage units at the Austonian will trade for ~$20,000, on average.

Storage units in building
Cost: varies, $2,800 – 20,000 (rent $75 – 200+/month)

image-8Storage closets/units/lockers come in many shapes and sizes.  Most high-rise condos do not convey with a storage closet (some do, for example Bridges On The Park and Brazos Place). The ones that do don’t always have enough storage to meet demand.  Sometimes it’s just a fenced cage, other times it’s an actual closet with lockable door and electricity.

Unless a storage unit conveyed with the sale of the condo (a buyer can amortize the cost of the storage unit over the term of their mortgage) most transactions for building storage units are handled in cash.   The cash-only aftermarket can put storage units out of reach for some owners.  As you can see below there is a wide range of pricing.

Recent transactions:  (sizes are ballpark based on owner input)
*5 Fifty Five – 4′w x 7′d x 7′h = $2,800-4,000.
*Milago = $3,750

*The Shore – 4′w x 7′d x 8′h = $7,500
*360 Condos – 5′w x 7′d x 9′h = $15,000.

Public Storage
Cost: varies, ~$100+ per month

publicstorageMany downtown condo dwellers forget there is a Public Storage close by on W. 6th Street.  As of this post, these rentable storage lockers start at $122 per month, plus a $75 move in fee, for a 5′w x 10′d.

I try to avoid renting whenever possible – it’s a sunk cost, and you need to drive to get there.  However, when you’re downsizing and about to start moving, you just want an easy place to put stuff.  This is where Public Storage is really helpful.  Later you can transition into more permanent storage options once settled into your new digs.

USU “Urban Storage Unit”
Cost: fixed, $2000

USU

The USU is sturdy box that sits in front/above your parking space.  It maximizes space you are underutilizing.  Amber and I have two of these and they are perfect for golf clubs, ski/snowboard equipment, holiday stuff, tools, and generally bulky items we want convenient access to from our door.

We needed to persuade our HOA board to let us install the USU, but now more buildings and HOAs are approving them based on the convenience and value these bring to their residents.  You can see USUs in use at the Four Seasons, Spring Condos, W Hotel Residences, and the Shore Condos.

Hopefully, this will help those of you longing for some extra space. If you’ve seen more creative storage solutions, please make sure to share in the comments!

-Jude

[UPDATED:  Though we've not used SpareFoot, we wanted to give them shoutout.  SpareFoot is an online self-storage marketplace that allows storage seekers to search by price and area.  So, you can price shop storage facilities across Austin.  They are based in downtown Austin, too!]





Waller Park Place Submits Site Plan for 3 Towers

Waller Park Place Submits Site Plan for 3 Towers

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At  ~1,400,000 square feet Waller Park Place, a three tower mixed-use plan is the largest private development ever proposed in downtown Austin (correct me in the comments if I’m wrong).  It’s the vision of the Sutton Company, who formally filed their site plan approval application with the City of Austin last week.

Back in September, Downtown Austin Blog first revealed the concept  for the 3 acre tract stretching from Cesar Chavez to Davis Street, hugging Waller Creek.  Then it was being called Waller Center and seemed really to be just a conceptual vision.

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Birds eye view shows planned orientation of three towers along Waller Creek

Below is what we know (note these numbers have gone up since Waller Center was announced in September and could still change)

  • Tower A – Office, 25+ stories, on the corner of Red River and Cesar Chavez
  • Tower B – Apartments, 50+ stories, internal on the site
  • Tower C – Hotel/Condo, 40+ stories, at Red River & Davis
  • Target FAR is 10:1
  • The architect is the IBI Group
  • No phasing is contemplated – all three towers built simultaneously
  • The site is part of the Waller Creek TIF district

With Block 1 (tbd) anticipated, and Trinity Tower (tbd) being conceptualized, Waller Park Place would be the last opportunity in downtown Austin for waterfront development with protected lake views.

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Our own crude drawings showing how the new towers could fit into the skyline

Above and below are a couple of crude massing-drawings I made for each tower to help view the relative dimensions and heights of the three towers, and to help us see how these buildings will fit into the skyline.

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Looking south – our own crude drawings showing how the new towers could fit into the skyline





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 4/23/14 7:03 PM 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.

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