New Hyatt House Hotel Proposed in Downtown Austin

New Hyatt House Hotel Proposed in Downtown Austin

hyatt-house-pittsburgh

Hyatt House line of extended stay hotels (not to be confused with the  relatively new Hyatt Place across the street from The Whitley) has announced plans to build at 9th and Neches.

Being catty-corner from the Mohawk, steps aways from the music district on Red River, it makes sense that they would want to put something like a hotel in this particular lot, rather than something like condos.  However, it just seems crazy to see even MORE hotels coming up when you have so many other hotel projects happening. I mean, the same company is building 2 hotels (300 rooms) literally right across 9th street at 805 Neches.

Admittedly, it’s going to be an improvement of what’s currently there:

901 Neches

screenshot from Google Maps, Feb 2014

Hyatt House has an existing Austin location in the Arboretum.  Here’s what we know about what’s proposed for the downtown Hyatt House:

  • 901 Neches Street
  • .41 Acres of land
  • ~17k sf of building
  • 189 Rooms
  • 139 parking spaces
  • 10 stories

Hyatt-House-Downtown-Austin

I’m a bit surprised by the amount of parking they are contemplating: 139 spaces, for 189 rooms. Since it’s an extended stay style of hotel, I suppose they see a demand for parking, and are investing accordingly.  It’s just a bit strange because White Lodging, the owner of Hyatt, recently proposed Aloft on Congress Avenue – a larger hotel just four blocks away, without any parking!

The site plan for Hyatt House has been filed with the city, and a decision regarding the application will be made before 10/20/2014.

Looks like the current owner, Journeyman Austin Holdings, bought the land in April of this year.





Downtown Austin Voting Guide

Downtown Austin Voting Guide

us-flag

We know you’ve heard this a bajillion-million times, but this year’s election on November 4, 2014,  is VERY important. Particularly for Downtown Austin, as the new 10-1 district system has the potential to really adversely affect policies that support a vibrant and growing downtown.

First things first – when, where, and how to vote:

When

The actual election is November 4, 2014, but EARLY VOTING starts Monday, October 20, 2014, (prompting some discussion between Jude and I as to what the real difference is between early voting and just regular voting).  Early voting runs through Halloween this year.

Where

Early Voting Locations: Oddly, there are no stations officially defined as “Early Voting” stations in downtown proper (weird, huh?) – but there are some MOBILE Voting locations downtown for Early Voting (sheesh – confusing, I know) – here are a few:

  • Mon 10/20/14 THROUGH Fri 10/31/14, 8am-7pm: Mobile Voting Station at ACC Rio Grande (1212 Rio Grande) – no voting station on Sun 10/26, and hours are 9am-6pm on Sat 10/25
  • Tues 10/21/14, 1pm-3pm: Mobile Voting station at Lakeside Senior Center (85 Trinity)
  • Mon 10/27/14 THROUGH Fri 10/31/14, 7am-7pm: Mobile Voting station at Austin City Hall (301 W 2nd)
  • Tues 10/28/14, 8am-5pm: Mobile Voting station at Travis County Commissioner’s Court (700 Lavaca)
  • Wed, 10/29/14 & Thurs 10/30/14, 8am-5pm: Mobile Voting station at HM Sweatt Travis County Courthouse (1000 Guadalupe)
  • Fri, 10/31/14, 8am-5pm: Mobile Voting station at the Sam Houston Building (201 E 14th St)

early-voting-austin-election

On November 4th:

  • Austin City Hall (301 W 2nd) – 7am-7pm
  • ACC Rio Grande (1212 Rio Grande) – 7am-7pm

Here’s a LIST of all the mobile voting locations, sorted by date. For a comprehensive map of ALL Early Voting, Mobile Voting, and Election Day Voting locations – click here.

How

Now, as to the ballot itself – we won’t go into every race, in the interest of everyone’s sanity, but, we will give an overview to  a couple of the downtown-related / pertinent issues:

There’s the General Gubernatorial ballot which has things like US Representatives, State Representatives, Judges, and County offices….

Then, there’s the CITY Ballot which will have some very important races for Downtown on it:

  • For District 9 (the district which includes downtown Austin), we personally support Chris Riley.  The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association also supports this candidate.
  • For Proposition 1 (the “rail bond”), while there is quite a bit of debate about this bond, we think it’s important to note that the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association has given $4,000 in funds to the Let’s Go Austin political action committee, who has campaigned to support the bond. The Downtown Austin Alliance and the Austin American Statesman also support Prop 1.

Also, here’s a handy dandy tool you can use to remind your friends to Go Vote!

-Amber

 





Eyebrow Threading in Downtown Austin

Eyebrow Threading in Downtown Austin

wink-eyebrow-threading-austin-outdoor

Warning:  This post is VERY girly!  If you aren’t into finding convenient beauty solutions in downtown Austin – stop reading now!

But if you are, let’s get REAL girly together, starting now:

pink-girlie

Squeee!!! Fluffy pink unicorns and rainbows and bubbles!

I am a pale, pale lady.  And along with my fair skin comes quite a bit of sensitivity. So, I’m not real big on getting my eyebrows waxed, which seems to be the common way most of my other lady friends keep their eyebrows looking spectacular.

So, for a long time, I just managed my eyebrows myself, which – you know – is not fun.  And then, in the early 2000’s, I was living in Atlanta and I found a GLORIOUS alternative to waxing or tweezing [Read more...]





Seaholm Condos Move From Reservations To Contracts

Seaholm Condos Move From Reservations To Contracts

Seaholm condos at 222 West Ave, rendering by STG Design

According to a press release sent to Downtown Austin Blog, 80% of the reservations for the under-construction Seaholm condos have become full contracts.

Last October nearly all 280 residences at the Seaholm condos were snapped up in a matter of days of the project being announced.  The resulting frenzy of buyers trying to reserve units became a bit of a cluster, leaving subsequent people interested with the singular option of joining a wait list.  Now, I expect, many of those existing Seaholm “wait-listers” will very happily absorb the remaining 20% (56 units) prior to the building’s opening next year.

Seaholm was the first downtown Austin condo project announced post-recession.

When announced last year there were precisely zero competing high-rise condo proposals, no remaining inventory from the last building cycle, nor were there many downtown resales to whet buyers’ appetites.  Combined with below market rate pricing [relative to the newer downtown towers], the swell of interest in Seaholm was not at all surprising.  Seaholm’s rapid absorption reflects superb timing.

Trader Joe’s, the national grocery chain anchoring the development, should be open by the time the residences begin to receive their certificates of occupancy next year.  We’re stoked to see that the Seaholm “district” will be immediately active with retail and residents upon the building’s opening.  The entire development will be a solid addition to the increasingly pedestrian fabric of downtown Austin.

Interestingly, Seaholm could be getting a neighboring tower within a couple of years, too. Earlier this month Constructive Ventures announced a revitalized proposal for a 50+ story tower caddy-corner to Seaholm.

-Jude

Renderings courtesy of STG Design

Seaholm condos – Northwest elevation.  Renderings courtesy of STG Design

 

 

 





50+ Story Downtown Austin Tower Envisioned By Constructive Ventures

50+ Story Downtown Austin Tower Envisioned By Constructive Ventures

constructive-ventures-austin-energy

The Statesman is reporting some exciting news for the Austin Energy Control Center site.

Back in 2010, Constructive Ventures entered into a “Master Development Agreement” with the City of Austin for an agreed upon “transfer price” of $14,500,000.  Now that the economy is starting to show signs of strength, the developers think the next couple of years could be the right moment to deliver a 50+ story condo and office tower.

Constructive Ventures has a strong track record of development in Austin, including: Spring Condos, Barton Place, Pedernales Lofts, and Este.

The 1.7 acre site is located immediately north of the Seaholm condos, which is under construction, and west of 360 condos.  The site is one of the last missing pieces for developing the southwest district of downtown Austin.

While still a vision, if built, this would be an impressive addition to the downtown Austin skyline.  More important is this development would further improve the street-level experience for pedestrians.

Summary of what we know:

– 400 residences (condos for sale)
– 50+ stories
- 120,000 square feet of office space
– 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurants

The design has shifted from a two-tower plan to a single tower, and the architect of record is Brett Rhode, who also designed 7rio, Aspen Heights, and The Catherine (née Aquaterra).

Construction could begin as early as Q4 of 2015. Expect capital market conditions to dictate exactly when it could happen. Whenever it begins, expect 2.5 years to complete construction.

Just for fun, in the image you see above, we’ve overlaid a building massing onto the site in order to show [very crudely!] how a 50+ story tower fits into the skyline.  From the Statesman article, [architect] “Brett Rhode said the tower will be a mostly glass, with landscaped areas on different levels that will break down the scale of the building and enhance its visual appeal.”

-Jude

constructive-ventures-austin-energy





DANA to Host Transportation Forum Monday, July 28

DANA to Host Transportation Forum Monday, July 28

urban-rail

The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association will be hosting a Transportation Forum THIS upcoming Monday, July 28, at Malverde – a lush, swanky private event space downtown located right above La Condesa.

The focus of the forum will be the proposed Urban Rail alignment from Project Connect, which DANA has publicly supported.  The current rail alignment would cut right through downtown through Trinity Street.  The current plan would also cause the less than 2-year old Waller Creek Boathouse (which is the location of one of my favorite little coffee shops, Alta’s) to be demolished to make way for the bridge over lady bird lake – which has caused a good amount of grumbling.

The program for the presentation will be as follows:

6:00pm – Doors Open
6:15-6:30pm – Presentation by Project Connect
6:30-6:35pm – Response
6:35-6:50pm – Presentation by AURA
6:50-6:55pm – Response
7:00-7:30pm – Q&A

So, as you can see, this will be more of a dialogue or debate rather than just a stiff ol’ presentation. AURA believes that the proposed urban rail route is actually worse than doing nothing.  I’m expecting things to get a little heated, for sure – which means this should be pretty darn interesting. Is it bad that I’m excited?

release-the-hounds

“Release the hounds!”

The event is free, but priority entry will be given to DANA Members, and RSVP is required.  Seating is limited.  Malverde will be offering 1/2 priced drinks and DANA is footing the bill for some light appetizers.

You can RSVP to the event directly from DAB:





Why It’s Bull****: The Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet Is Too Tall

Why It’s Bull****: The Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet Is Too Tall

waller-creek-tunnel-height

Had the weekend to catch up on some old news, and this issue of the Waller Creek Tunnel inlet being too tall smelled foolish from the first I heard about it.

Kudos to the Statesman’s Sarah Coppola for the revealing a potential $45mm fix to reduce the height of the Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet would be wasted money since the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is already blocking the view.

Say what?! That’s right. “Fixing” the inlet structure to be fully compliant with the CVC will not regain any view! An existing government building is blocking the view already.

The Waller Creek Tunnel Inlet is under construction in Waterloo Park. This is the business end of the tunnel construction which was on target for completion in mid-2015.

It was almost two years when the tunnel’s under ground dig was passing beneath the Sabine.

I remain optimistic that elected officials at the local and state level will apply reason, rather than force the taxpayers to pay to bring the inlet into CVC “compliance.”





Where to Watch the World Cup – Downtown Austin Sports Bars

Where to Watch the World Cup – Downtown Austin Sports Bars

Liberty-Tavern-Bar

I’m not real into soccer.  Matter of fact, first soccer game I ever watched was Sunday’s World Cup Match between the USA and Portugal.  What an exciting game, though!  I literally stood up and cheered when the US made that second goal, and then I moaned and beseeched the soccer gods when Portugal scored to tie.

It was enough to get me excited about the upcoming match against zee Germans, happening this Thursday at 11am (tomorrow!).  But, where to watch this epic game in downtown Austin?  I have a couple of  suggestions.

1. Liberty Tavern, in the Hilton Downtown: 500 E 4th

Liberty-Tavern-Bar

photo by Diana Nogueira

Remodeled in 2012, with 11 big screens, and an airy and spacious atmosphere. Great local beers, and ample breakfast / lunch food. Extremely convenient for those living in the 5 Fifty-Five Condos or Sabine Condos in downtown Austin.

liberty-tavern-interior

For the World Cup, they’ve also added a 16’x9′ Jumbo HD screen!

liberty-tavern-big-screen

photo by Diana Nogueira

And drink specials galore, including $2 Lonestars!

liberty-tavern-world-cup-specials

2. Takoba (downtown adjacent), 1411 E. 7th

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  • 112″ indoor projector screen
  • 75″ TV outside
  • covered outdoor seating / misters
  • $15 buckets a beer

Need I say more?

3. The Mohawk, 912 Red River

The Mohawk has multiple screens, including an indoor screen with surround sound, along with beers and bubbles, and noshes by Frank.  Nice dark and cool atmosphere for the big screen area, too!

Don’t like any of my suggestions?  Check out a more comprehensive list from Austin Culture Map, which includes my top three, plus other downtown venues like Russian House, Holy Mountain, Fado, and Bar 96, plus places in other parts of the city.





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 10/21/14 6:11 AM 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.

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