Craft Cocktail Bar in Downtown Austin: CU-29

Craft Cocktail Bar in Downtown Austin: CU-29

bar

Named after the touches of Copper decorating the interior of the bar, CU-29 is the latest craft cocktail bar to hit the downtown Austin scene.  Located near Brazos Place Condos and across the street from the Omni, this little gem is a great place to order a fancy cocktail after a long day at work. Prices run from about $10 (and up) per drink AND people who live or work downtown ALWAYS get 20% off!

[Read more…]





Royal Blue Grocery Announces Next Location @ The Whitley

Royal Blue Grocery Announces Next Location @ The Whitley

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Big news for those living and working on the east side of Congress Ave.  Royal Blue proprietor, George Scariano, confirms with DAB that the lease is officially signed with The Whitley!

This will be the locally loved grocer’s fourth location.  The 2300 ft store will anchor the Railyard District, and we can expect an opening in July.

The store will be a full blown coffee shop, offering beer & wine, with an on-site kitchen serving baja-style seafood tacos, tacos al pastor, and flattop burgers.

We can’t wait!





Brass House to Open in Downtown Austin Convention Center District This Friday

Brass House to Open in Downtown Austin Convention Center District This Friday

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The little 100 block of San Jacinto has seen a little turn-over recently.  Hank’s Garage, which had been vacant for some time, was recently taken over by a concept called El Ceviche Grill, and the bar that was Skinny’s Ballroom – which closed not too long ago (and we here at DAB were pretty sad, we had been rooting for them) – has a new concept coming in called Brass House (website looks to be in progress).

I’ve been surprised at the lack of success at some of the places in the general area, considering the hotel & convention traffic coupled with nearby high-rises such as The Four Season’s Residences, The Austonian, and the Rainey Trio of The Shore Condos, The Milago, and Towers of Town Lake.  Perhaps sky-high rent and massive competition have been too much for many of these small operators.

Either way, I’m intrigued by Brass House.  Describing itself on its Facebook page as a Jazz House, Wine Bar, and Gastropub concept, the finish-out looks in keeping with catering to a higher-end clientele and they are touting that food such as “Dolmas, hummus, pickles, paninis, salads, charcuterie boards” will be “All made from scratch in house or bought from a local family owned source….”.

Here’s a picture of some of the decor that captures the general vibe of the place.

Brass House is supposed to open this Friday, February 8, at 4pm.  I’ll likely walk by to check it out and I’ll be sure to update this post with my thoughts!





The Highest And Best Use of Congress Ave Retail Store Frontage Is Not CapMetro

The Highest And Best Use of Congress Ave Retail Store Frontage Is Not CapMetro

capmetro-austin-congress-ave

One of the things that always seemed curious to me is how and why Capital Metro (@CapMetroATX) occupied prime square footage on a heavily trafficked part of Congress Avenue, next to Annie’s. For many years, Cap Metro occupied the first and third floor of this three-story building.

Well its lease expires this coming April, and it seems the landlord is raising the rent. As a result, Capital Metro is moving into 209 W 9th Street (southwest corner of Colorado and 9th), which is owned by Harry Whittington.  There, the transit agency is signing a 5-year $3.3 million lease on 18,800 square feet.  This will allow the consolidation of two call centers – one currently housed at the 323 Congress Ave.

For years, the good energy of clear windows (“fenestration” for my fellow wonks) and ambience of Annie’s seemed to kind of get sucked way by the dark, looming, uninviting storefront of Capital Metro next door.

So what’s next for 323 Congress?

The entire building is 21,900 square feet, and  features open floor layouts, ample lighting and excellent visibility to Congress Ave.  According to this undated flyer from Weitzman, it appears to be listed for sale “between $2.5 million and $7.3 million.”  Or, it could be for lease $24-36/ft/yr by Cielo Realty Partners, as it’s shown on Loopnet.

I’ll be surprised if this languishes too long.  Office vacancies downtown have recently fallen below 12%, according to this Dec. 11 Austin Tenant Advisors press release, which compares well to other major cities such as Atlanta which reports a 24% vacancy rate. Average lease rates for all classes are averaging around $30/square in the downtown area while landlords of Class A office properties are quoting $38/square foot, or higher.

This, in part, is being driven by a number of web/computing-based companies setting up shop downtown, which is about as a good of a thing as a city could ever hope would happen to its downtown office space.  We can expect a higher and better use of our ground level retail, however.

FYI urban transit commuter: The transit store, where folks pick up passes, pocket maps and the lost & found, is also moving to the new location on 9th Street.





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

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

2nd St Holiday Window 2012 - Believin

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.





87 Rainey Street Downtown Austin Update: NO VA (not NOVA) to Open End of 2012 (Hopefully).

87 Rainey Street Downtown Austin Update: NO VA (not NOVA) to Open End of 2012 (Hopefully).

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UPDATE 8/31/2013: No Va is OPEN for Business!  Check out pics and my review HERE.

UPDATE 7/1/2013: Just got a note from Brad Sorenson with an update on what is going on with NO VA

Things are getting really close now. Construction is pretty close to complete with inspections taking place and little odds and ends being finished. I have started hiring for the kitchen and we should be training with in a couple weeks. I don’t want to make a guess on when an opening date will be until we have set it in stone on our end.

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Remember that mega post I did on what’s happening on Rainey Street?  In the post, I talked about 87 Rainey Street located in the Rainey Street District of Downtown Austin, and how I had not heard any updates on just what exactly was going on in that space.  Well, that must have hit Brad Sorenson‘s (the head chef of the new concept, perhaps more widely known for his stint on The Next Food Network’s Star) Google Alerts, because he promptly posted a comment on the Blog saying things were still a go for the restaurant concept.

Which was great, but I wanted more info – so I emailed him and asked if we could meet.  I was actually very surprised when he said okay.

So we met.  Last week.  And, let me just say this – the guy OOZES affability. He’s also real, real tall.

I was absolutely charmed, I will admit – but not only by him as a person, but also by what he told me about NO VA.

First off, NO VA is the name (there’s a space in between “O” and “V”, 2 words), not NOVA, as it’s previously been reported.  There’s actually a cute little story behind the name, too, Brad tells me.  “No va” is what the owner of the business said when he looked at the house at 87 Rainey Street when he initially purchased it, in late 2009.  He said “No va”, because, at the time, [Read more…]





The Rainey Street Rundown: A MEGA Post of (Almost) Everything That’s Happening in the Rainey District

The Rainey Street Rundown: A MEGA Post of (Almost) Everything That’s Happening in the Rainey District

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The Rainey Street District in downtown Austin has been a hotbed of activity lately, from new apartment high rises, to an influx of new bars – things are really happening in Rainey.  So, we thought it helpful to put together a property-by-property guide about all that’s going on.  Everything we know about Rainey Street to date [mostly] in one place – this post!

This picture of the Rainey Street has each lot numbered with its numerical address. Look below to the corresponding number to see the skinny on the lot.

51 Rainey Street, Austin (address not shown on map, across from the Milago Condos), Austin Skyhouse apartments

The ABJ reported on the imminent ground-breaking of the Austin Skyhouse Apartments last month.  Being built by Novare-Andrews Urban, the same group behind the successful 360 condos, the 20,000 feet of ground floor retail is rumored to include a Royal Blue Grocery.

[Read more…]





G’Raj Mahal Cafe Will Expand Onto Rainey Street Proper

G’Raj Mahal Cafe Will Expand Onto Rainey Street Proper

73-Rainey-Graj-Mahal-Austin

One of our favorite Rainey Street restaurants, G’Raj Mahal, yesterday publicly announced plans that they would be setting up a second location at 73 Rainey Street.

From their Facebook Page (link) announcement:

The Graj is sooo excited to announce a second site in progress. The trailer remains but we have long out-grown our kitchen demands and plan to expand just down the street on Rainey. It’ll mean faster service!!! and we will get to finally cook up some new things, too!

Below is a picture of the property they are expanding into.  It’s on the east side of Rainey Street, next to the leaning house, two doors north of Javalina.

We’re wondering if they are going to end up moving all of their operations to 73 Rainey, and if the existing 91 Red River (at Davis Street) will be assembled into a larger development. That’s just us speculating. Most importantly, I would love to see the Austin Bike Zoo remain part of the vibe.

We asked Sidney Roberts, owner of G’raj Mahal, if they were going to rehab the house at 73 Rainey and if they were going to use an interior kitchen.  She responded, and also gave some insight into how service will work at the new location:

the house on 73 will be adapted so we are actually going to have a built-in trailer of sorts facing the interior of the house but “parked” in the graj…that meets city standards for restaurants…the majority of seating will remain outdoor though with improved cooling and heating capacity and we will have a small amount of indoor seating, a wine/beer bar, and indoor bathrooms…byob will still remain at the current space and we can cater parties that wish to to that…the trailer will have a simplified menu and will operate as a more standard trailer…walk-up service, but the seating and other accommodations will be there

Sidney also said that, depending upon city approvals and funding, they hope to have the new location up and running by the new year.

For a detailed review of the original location, including more pictures, the menu, and other important information about eating at G’Raj Mahal, be sure to checkout DAB’s review of G’Raj Mahal in Austin.





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 11/23/14 9:56 AM PST. 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.