About Fred Schmidt

Fred Schmidt is co-owner, with wife and business partner, Shelley Meyer, of three Downtown Austin retail shops: Wild About Music Art & Gift Gallery on East 6th St, and Toy Joy and Austin Rocks, both in the 2nd Street District. Concurrently he is also Director of International at Capital Factory, Austin's premier incubator/accelerator facility for startups, already located in the proposed new Innovation District. He serves as a board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA), the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA), and is a past Vice Chair of 6ixth Street Austin. He thinks this is one of the best places in the world to live, work and play! Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not reflect the positions of any affiliated organizations.

Downtown Austin Goes For The Goal – and the Gold!

Downtown Austin Goes For The Goal – and the Gold!

If you haven’t yet read this week’s edition of The Austin Chronicle – and seen the amazing front page photo/rendering – please check it out at once here! Stupendous reporting by Senior News Editor, Michael King, of breaking news regarding a multi-billion dollar plan to build a Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium in the middle of Lady Bird Lake, coupled with the new Light Rail line running straight through the center of the stadium as the train crosses the river.

[Read more…]

List of Google Fiber Proposed “Community Connection” Sites Released

List of Google Fiber Proposed “Community Connection” Sites Released

In an update to the story below… Austin City Council elected to postpone adoption of the List of 100 Community Connection Sites until its Dec. 12th meeting saying they wanted to review and tweak the list some more with Google.  KUT has more on Council activity here.

Also floating around out there in the Fibersphere is this post from Google Fiber Chief, Mark Strama, that discusses how the construction process is being envisioned as it makes its way around the city starting sometime mid 2014.

ORIGINAL STORY – Here is a link to the PDFs of the LIST & Council RESOLUTION of Proposed Google Fiber Community Connection Sites coming before City Council tomorrow, November 21st.

And here are those sites neatly MAPPED courtesy of KUT.

After spending only about five minutes reviewing the list, some inexplicable glaring omissions would include:

  • University of Texas – the 40 acres and other facilities like the Pickle research campus, ATI, IC2, etc.
  • Austin Community College – all of their campuses and, in particular, the new Highland Center that will be a major central city magnet for the tech and creative industries over the next 5+ years.
  • Austin Studios – film and production facilities on East 51st St
  • Hospitals in our emerging health care services growth cluster
  • …and no doubt much more!

How is this possible? These are all mega bandwidth users and fit the criteria for inclusion in the Community Connectedness program of public service locations intended for free Fiber service.  St. Edward’s, Huston-Tillotson, Concordia are all on there – appropriately – but not UT or ACC.  Seriously?

Fairy Tale Themes Come to Life in 2nd Street Shop Windows

Fairy Tale Themes Come to Life in 2nd Street Shop Windows

One more unique and wonderful thing to do with friends and family this holiday season…
Head on over to the 2nd Street District for another edition of the Holiday Window Walk! Twenty retail windows have been done up by design and fine arts students from our area colleges in beautiful themes on classic fairy tales. It all kicks off tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 8th and will be up through New Year’s. Come by and join the festivities!
Here’s a nice little story on Amanda Ivarra’s blog, Miss A, that tells how this all came to be.

Big New Capitol Tree Lighting Tonight!

Big New Capitol Tree Lighting Tonight!

Tonight’s the night! The big new musical tree will have it’s full debut – thousands of LED lights programmed in time with the holiday music of 10 different Austin and Texas artists! Plus lovely new tree lights up and down Congress Ave…performers: Marcia Ball, Christine Albert and Sarah Elizabeth Campbell …kid’s activities…yummy treats…and photos with Santa at the State Theater!
Festivities kick off at 6:00pm with the KUT Sing-Along at the Capitol steps, followed by the tree lighting at 7:00, and continuing with the Congress Avenue Stroll and activities all along the avenue until 9pm.
Bring family and friends. It’s going to be a lovely evening. See you there!

More info here.

Neighborhood List Servs Ablaze About Helicopter Flights

Neighborhood List Servs Ablaze About Helicopter Flights

[image courtesy of AustinHelicopterTours.com]

As could be predicted, neighborhoods surrounding Downtown are in high gear with folks excitedly complaining about the new sound of choppers overhead today. In my Travis Heights community in SoCo, our South River City Citizens (SRCC) list serv (and, therefore, my inbox) is filling up with unhappy chatter. I just checked in with the ABIA Aviation “Noise & Emissions Office” (never knew there was such a thing) and the phone lines are on fire.

So I finally couldn’t take it any more and posted the following on our SRCC site. Maybe those of you who agree can share similar thoughts with others.

“My two cents: How about everybody reposition your thinking to something like this…

“Wow! Isn’t it great to have this amazing new event in Austin… positively showcasing our wonderful city to the world… providing jobs to thousands of Austinites, supporting our local businesses, and pouring tens of millions of dollars into our local economy?

“I think it’s all a matter of perspective. I am hearing the choppers too, right along with y’all. But what I hear are the motors of economic prosperity, not ‘noise’. I am perfectly willing to put up with a few days of new Austin Weirdness to receive the benefits of all the good things that come along with it!

“In my mind’s eye, I am picturing every passing helicopter overhead to be carrying a giant bucket of cash — kinda like you see when the choppers are dousing a forest fire with water — and they are over here dumping it all over our city. Kachinggggggg!

“And when you need a break from these new sounds, my guaranteed recommended solution is: a pair of headphones, a soothing classical music playlist on Spotify (or whatever your musical indulgence may be), and a nice hot cup of zen tea.

“We can survive this neighbors, we really can!”

Cheers mates,
–Fernando of the Hood