Skyhouse Apartments on Rainey

Skyhouse Apartments on Rainey

If you are looking for a new downtown apartment to rent come late November 2013, Skyhouse Apartments on Rainey Street across from the Milago Condos may be a viable option.

They’ve been on our radar lately, most notably because of the recent announcement confirming that Royal Blue Grocery will be occupying a large part of the ground floor frontage, which will be a HUGE add to the Rainey Street District (we’re excited about the Salvage Pizza, too!).

I personally also think this is an interesting apartment development because Novare and Batson-Cook are building / have built, for all intents and purposes, the EXACT same building (the footprints of the units are a little smaller in the Austin iteration) in two other major southern cities that I’ve lived in – Houston and Atlanta.

Prices for the Skyhouse Austin [Read more…]

DAB EXCLUSIVE: First Look at Broadstone On The Lake (former RunTex store)

DAB EXCLUSIVE: First Look at Broadstone On The Lake (former RunTex store)

Cities evolve.  Few quite as visibly as Austin over the past couple of decades.

We’ve got the first look at what’s coming to the site of the former RunTex store at S. 1st and Riverside Drive.  Demo permits were approved last month, and fencing has been erected around the site.

In its place, a six-story cousin (some might say “clone”) of The Crescent apartments – just down the street – is planned, called “Broadstone on the Lake.” It will feature 119 affordable units and 207 market rate ones, for a grand total of 326 apartments, according to city records.

The building is being designed by Kelly Grossman Architects, who designed the Hill Country Galleria, The Crescent and 404 Rio Grande.

Broadstone on the Lake rendering3

Broadstone on the Lake, Elevation Drawings

I’m not going to lie. While I’m thrilled about packing in some more density into the core, I’m pretty “meh” about the whole faux-urban motif of the design.  Some might say that level of design is better suited for a series of outlet malls in San Marcos.  But, let’s remember that the Broadstone apartment housing brand, much like the Millennium apartment housing brand coming to Rainey Street, is a national chain of apartment complexes, and it is what it is.

Thankfully, The Catherine – a 19-story, $68 million, 300-unit residential tower beginning to be constructed next door – has some design panache.  Formerly nick-named “StreetLights at Barton Springs” that building is next iteration of the Aquaterra condominium project, which fell victim to the lending withdraw of the 2008 recession.

(Also, also… the Hyatt Town Lake is removing a substantial amount of surface parking, and building a seven-story parking garage and ballroom behind the Sherry Matthews building. Austin Towers profiled the development there this past February.)

A note about RunTex

Although RunTex was a tenant and was going to get booted anyway, the poetic tragedy of the demolition coinciding with the apparent troubles of the RunTex business and brand is too dramatic to not mention here.

RunTex was founded 25 years ago, and as a fellow entrepreneur who knows about blood and sweat in pursuit of a dream, I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness for all the people whose lives are intertwined with the bricks and pavement about to be wiped from the earth there.

It is important, though, to note that I used the word “evolve” in the first sentence of this post.  Change isn’t easy, but the development of the site is a natural and healthy evolution for downtown Austin.

9th Annual Downtown Living Tour – May 19th, 2013 – Reserve Your Tickets

9th Annual Downtown Living Tour – May 19th, 2013 – Reserve Your Tickets

The 9th Annual Downtown Living Tour is a couple of weeks away.  Produced by the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association (DANA), the tour is a great way to tour downtown living, at your own pace, all in one day!

[standout-css3-button cssclass=”button-tangerine” href=”https://dana.ticketbud.com/2013-downtown-living-tour-shuttles-and-champagne”]Get your DLT tickets now[/standout-css3-button]

This year, although the tour will still be self-guided, the tour will also have shuttle service to facilitate access to each tour stop (nice!), and will showcase the following buildings:

  1. The Whitley Apartments
  2. The Shore Condos
  3. Park West Residences
  4. 360 Condos
  5. Avenue Lofts (one of the few Art Deco buildings downtown)
  6. The Four Seasons Residences -RECEPTION – (VIP only, and only open from 4pm-5pm)
  7. Brazos Lofts (check out the history, formerly Capital Chevrolet)
  8. Towers of Town Lake (Penthouse, VIP only, only open from 1-4pm)
  9. Capital Studios (to-be-built Foundations Communities project designed by Dick Clark Architecture)
  10. LBJ’s apartment at JJ Pickle Building (VIP only, only open from 1-4pm)
  11. More stops to be announced!

There are some stops of particular note, primarily the official office suite of President Lyndon Baines Johnson at the JJ Pickle Building, an office suite he used during his presidency and the site of such landmark meetings as the Cold War discussions on December 6, 1966, which culminated in the first agreement with the Soviet Union to limit nuclear weapons, known as the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT).

The JJ Pickle building itself is part of a two-block complex of Federal Buildings in downtown Austin, and was designed by Texas Firms  Page-Southerland-Page and Brooks & Barr, and is textbook 1960s high-rise design.

Here are a few exclusive pictures of the interior of the office suite, which is remarkably intact.

The LBJ Suite is only open to VIP ticket holders, and there a very limited amount of VIP tickets – so we would recommend…

[standout-css3-button cssclass=”button-tangerine” href=”https://dana.ticketbud.com/2013-downtown-living-tour-shuttles-and-champagne”]Get your DLT tickets now[/standout-css3-button]

 

UT student housing, not condos, coming to 17 & Guadalupe

UT student housing, not condos, coming to 17 & Guadalupe

About a month ago, the Downtown Austin Blog had a post hinting at the redevelopment of the abandoned, sad-looking Arby’s at 17th and Guadalupe, received with some skepticism.

Guess what? It’s going to be developed into an 80-unit student housing apartment complex and they want to do it fast.

About a quarter of the block at 1715 Guadalupe has been an abandoned fast food restaurant with its onsite parking use for contract parking. Recently, it has been sold to a developer for mid-rise student housing, with below grade parking.

Here’s the catch: The construction schedule requires work to begin by March 15, in order for the project to be ready for UT student move-in this August. The entire project area will have underground parking, which will required about two months of demolition, excavation and grading work.

It will be interesting to see if this still becomes student housing if the project deadlines cannot be met. Initially, this lot was going to be redeveloped into downtown mixed-use and someone literally scratched out “condos and retail” on the site plan application and wrote “apartments”.

UT had record freshman enrollment this past year, and if the market said lending was easier for that use, then that’s how the chips fall.

There’s likely to be universal consensus that a mid-rise student complex will be great for adding some life back into that part of town, and be especially good for the adjacent Dive Bar and Arturo’s coffee shop.

But, like cutting into an overcooked, yet still tasty steak, the current plan leaves bit sadness about what could have been.

Street-level retail and condo owners, which would have been vested in the community, would have been much juicier than student housing. Not to mention: the site is zoned for DMU-CURE and not in the Capitol View Corridor, which means density could have been packed in there.

We’ll also not that unlike other apartment projects percolating around the core, this one – because it is student housing – is unlikely to be converted into condos at a later date.

On the other hand, having student housing bleeding into downtown does it’s own unique part to keep the core vibrant, and really adds a level of affordability and youthfulness to downtown, which a luxury high-rise condo tower would not.

More Downtown Austin Apartment & Condo Projects Emerging

More Downtown Austin Apartment & Condo Projects Emerging

It seems like almost every direction we look around downtown Austin, construction cranes are deployed, helping concrete and steel skeletons reach to the sky.  Notably the JW Marriott hotel, across from the Austonian, has three cranes in place and will soon take shape.  But that’s just the newly visible construction: in and around downtown Austin there’s upwards of 8 million square feet of construction planned or underway.

Sometimes we forget to look outside of the downtown core.  Still, there on the far wings of downtown Austin, even more construction is (literally) on the horizon and DAB is here to give you a first look.

North Shore Lofts
More Rainey Street District development is on the way, joining the Sutton Towers, Austin Skyhouse and the (perpetually-stalled) Hotel Van Zandt. Not much is known at this point, but a new multifamily development is planned on a vacant plot of land on the north shore, next to the Holiday Inn right by I-35.

If built, the views of Lady Bird Lake would be incredible (and protected).

This site, addressed 16 North I-35, was rezoned from downtown mixed-use (DMU) to central business district (CBD) in 2005, and at the time was owned by Tom Calhoon, of Calhoon Properties.

Coming Soon: "North Shore Lofts"

Coming Soon: “North Shore Lofts”

West Campus Apartments
Don’t be fooled by the name, this project, at 17th and Guadalupe is not actually in “West Campus“, and is also planned to have condos.  Since as long as I can remember, this area near the Dog and Duck Pub, is one of the most run-down areas remaining in downtown, with a lot of properties sitting idly in disrepair.

Last time this site was anything productive it was an Arby’s.

Hopefully, this project will spur additional redevelopment of the low-density legacy buildings all around here. A few blocks north, the UT School of Business is building a new center next to the Player’s Club, which will also expand the AT&T Conference center, which might help energize the area, too.

-Jude

1715 gdlp current

Coming Soon: “West Campus Apartments”