I never turn down a free lunch. So when Alex, the GM for Slake Cafe in downtown Austin at 7th and Brazos (where Bakerman’s Bakery used to be) sent me a note inviting me to come in for just that, how could I say no?
The weather was beautiful, so I walked from the office to Slake at around noon the other day. There were several patrons in line already, and the tiny little front area of the cafe (apparently, the entire Slake space is about 3,400 sf, but it’s mostly kitchen) had a bit of a chaotic, but not bad, feel (there were people in line, people milling about waiting for their order, couple of folks eating at the sparse interior tables, 4 or 5 folks behind the counter – kind of a lot going on in not a lot of square footage). They are about to [Read more...]
I recently wrote a little blurb on The People’s Gallery, a project that’s part of the Art in Public Places program by the City of Austin’s Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services department. I’m a fan of the program, and think these types of City projects and programs help to make our city great!
That’s why I’d like to continue, from time to time, highlighting these little gems of public works in Downtown Austin. Today’s piece, I’m embarrassed to say, just came into my purview, even though I’m an almost daily runner of Lady Bird Lake’s 3 mile loop.
I happened to notice it the other day, and thought I’d share some shots of the work, particularly since they highlight some history of the lake and Austin. The piece is done by Deborah Mersky and is called [Read more...]
Sometimes when I’m chatting with a peer of mine about where they’d like to live, I ask them if they would consider downtown. A common response to that question is “Well, I have (or want to have) kids….so….” as though that’s the consideration keeping them from a condo. I guess when people think of the demographic of downtown Austin (and, I guess, downtowns in general), they think that high-rises are for singles, young couples, or empty nesters – most folks don’t feel like condo buildings are places where families do or should dwell.
Well, believe it or not, there are lots of families living in downtown Austin that are bucking the stereotype. I’ve had the chance of over the last several months to interview a few families living in downtown Austin [Read more...]
It’s been a long time coming for the $500MM Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment, situated along Cesar Chavez, bounded to the west by Shoal Creek, and to the east by Silicon Labs. We’ve stumbled upon good reason to be excited that development could begin soon.
Back in May, when a site plan application was submitted to the city, we shared with you that the first phase of the new Green Water development – a residential highrise known simply as Block 1 – was moving from possibility to reality.
But I, along with nearly everyone else, was kind of confused about what exactly was being planned and how close the Green Water vision was going to match the original vision after a tree preservation snafu at City Council. This has been resolved and the plan is to incorporate the trees into the design.
Updated elevation drawings were submitted to the city which show a building that steps back from Cesar Chavez.
We can expect that the first phase will be a 38
40-story mixed use building with a total of 446 units. Majority one-bedroom, but included efficiencies, two-bedrooms and three-bedrooms, ranging from about 450 square feet to 2,000. It is anticipated these will be apartments (for rent).
At street level, we should see 14,000 square feet of retail, 15,000 square feet of restaurant space, and another 23,000 of office space.
The project is being developed by Trammell Crow and designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), an award winning architecture, interior design and planning firm with offices in Chicago and San Francisco, who has some very classy buildings all over the world.
If you spend some time perusing SCB’s design portfolio, I think you can start to feel some excited anticipation for this on the Austin skyline. No doubt, numerous tourists and passers by of what has become a fenced off lawn have wondered just what is going there.
While we can now see the profile the development, we eagerly anticipate some updated renderings.
The data supports what we all see – demand exceeds supply for downtown condos, especially dwellings priced under $500,000. May was the first month ever that both the average and median price per foot for a downtown resale was over $400/ft.
At the extremes, asking prices for new construction high-luxury condos are approaching $1000 per foot, and there are several recently recorded transactions between $700-$800 per square foot.
Downtown condo inventory as of 6/7/2013
1) total resales available = 49
2) total new construction available = 77 est.
As of this post, there are only 13 units for sale under $500,000, and built within the past 15 years, in all of downtown Austin. This leaves us with just over one month of inventory available for the largest segment of condo buyers in downtown’s core.
The lack of new product in the market is putting significant upward pricing pressure on resales. With no new condo development planned in downtown, as interest rates remain low, resale prices will continue to rise to meet the demand.
You’ll recall that back in January, for the first time, the average sales price of a new construction downtown condo exceeded, $1,000,000. There were 14 closings in May for new construction condos: the Austonian, W Hotel, and Four Seasons Residences. Spring is sold out. [UPDATE: The Four Seasons is sold out, with contracts pending.] The W
and Four Seasons could officially be sold out after another couple months of sales and pending contracts close. The Austonian has a pretty good inventory remaining, but soon lacking any competition sales could accelerate quickly.
May 2013 Resale Statistics
- Total sales volume (resales only) = $12,717,900 - # of resale transactions = 22 - avg price per foot = $453 - median price per foot = $424 - avg sales price = $578,086 - avg sales price to list price (SP/LP) = 97% - avg condo size = 1275 sq. ft. - avg price per bedroom = $343,727 - avg days on market (DOM) = 43 days
May 2013 New Construction Statistics
- # of new construction transactions = 14 - avg price per foot = $700-$800/ft est. - Total new construction sales volume = not reported
Downtown Austin New Construction Closings - Through June 7th, 2013
|# of |
# of Days
|Trending Completion Date (estimated)|
|Four Seasons Residences||May 7, 2010||140||148||95%||8||8||July 2013|
|W Hotel Residences||January 10, 2011||140||159||88%||19||6||September 2013|
|The Austonian||June 10, 2010||113||163||69%||50||10||June 2014|
Move over, Seaholm! The other massive redevelopment on Cesar Chavez, the Green Water Treatment Plant Redevelopment, is rumbling to life!
Adding to the seemingly endless list of construction occurring downtown, it looks the Green Water Treatment Plant construction could be getting underway very soon.
A site plan for a high-rise apartment on “Block 1” (110 San Antonio) – possibly climbing 38 stories – has been turned into City Hall for the lot just west of the Silicon Labs building. It’s another exciting moment for downtown Austin, and the culmination of years of “wait and see” from guys like me, who watched these project move at a glacial pace after the economy tanked in 2009.
It was way back in 2008 that Trammel Crow won the bidding process to redevelop the site, and another five years before it hammered out a deal with the city.
On May 25, 2012 the Austin City Council approved an agreement with a development team led by the Trammell Crow Company to redevelop the site with several buildings up to 30 stories tall. The project will have 1.75 million square feet of development, including 826 apartments, 456,000 sq. ft. of office space, a 200 room hotel and 82,000 sq. ft. of retail (most along an extension of the 2nd Street District).
The project hit another, unexpected, snag when a dust-up occurred over seven heritage trees that are on the site. There were some concerns that the city was applying double standards by not making the developer follow the Heritage Tree ordinance, which the city council enacted in 2010 after Trammel Crow had its plans, but before it inked a deal with the city.
In the end, Trammel Crow agreed to save the trees, but would have to sacrifice about 67,000 square feet of leasable area, and the city agreed to hand over $1.7 million to compensate them, according to the Austin Business Journal. [h/t Chris Bradford, see comments]
We have yet to see clearly how a reduction of almost 70,000 square feet will impact the scope of the development.
Back in 2012, the per block details were posted on the SkyscraperPage forum:
Block 23 Office
566,074 gross square feet
524,143 usable square feet
Block 1 Residential (SITE PLAN FILED)
682,120 gross square feet
531,700 usable square feet
Block 185 Residential
436,975 gross square feet
336,600 usable square feet
Block 188 Hotel
245,643 square feet