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.
Have you experienced the phenomena that BIG things seem to happen when you’re on vacation? This past week, while we attempted to cruise, there were multiple status report updates about three tall projects in downtown Austin.
99 Trinity Tower Announces $100mm, 39 Story Apartment Highrise
Back in November, DAB broke the news about Trinity Tower. Located just east of the Four Seasons Residences, and north of Lakeside apartments. This will become a very dense intersection. We have big expectations that this highrise will fill the perceptive gap between the Rainey Street neighborhood and the rest of downtown Austin. We’re thrilled that they are aiming high with a 39 story tower, which would be the tallest apartment building in Austin. Demolition of the warehouse should commence soon. (Statesman)
Waller Park Place Closes On Land
The Sutton Company closed on their deal to buy Perry Lorenz’s incredible 3-acre assemblage along Waller Creek. What Sutton is proposing is nothing short of the largest private development in the history of downtown Austin. Three towers in the Rainey Street district, including significant Waller Creek enhancements, stretching from Cesar Chavez to Davis Street. (Statesman)
Fairmont Selects Builder
This was significant because half of the people I talk with have begun to think this project is vapor-ware. The project was planned to break ground a while back. The Fairmont website is showing delivery in “2016+”, and the sign pictured above says “Opening Fall 2017″. We hope this is a reliable signal that the project will break ground soon. (Statesman)
Back in 2012, Jude bought out the entirety of Austin Java when he learned about Mike Johnston aka “Truth”, and throughout 2013 we admired the work at The People’s Gallery showcase at Austin City Hall.
Last month, the REATX office acquired a very special work that had been showcased next to the City Hall elevators for the past year. It’s called Different Strokes for Different Folks, and is the concept of up-and-coming artist Hallie Rae Ward.
Different Strokes for Different Folks was one of two pieces Hallie had featured in the 2013 People’s Gallery. Hallie will be showcasing more of her work at this year’s West Austin Studio Tour - so, please check it out!
I never thought I’d say this, but if you want to check out a really cool new restaurant, you should hit up The Radisson at Congress and Cesar Chavez.
The Radisson is now the home of the simply hip and delicious new restaurant, Chavez, owned by Parkside’s (and Backspace’s) own Shawn Cirkiel.
I recently helped a couple downsize from a 3,000sf suburban home into a 1,000sf condo. Getting this empty-nester couple to move would not have been possible without storage. They purged a lot, but still ended up using all three of the options below.
Where space is scarce, storage is costly. Prices for storage units have gone up in recent years. A few times each year we see a storage unit come up for sale at the Shore Condos. The last one was ~$7500. Recently, I observed at 360 condos a storage unit trade for $15,000. Storage units at the Austonian will trade for ~$20,000, on average.
Storage units in building
Cost: varies, $2,800 – 20,000 (rent $75 – 200+/month)
Storage closets/units/lockers come in many shapes and sizes. Most high-rise condos do not convey with a storage closet (some do, for example Bridges On The Park and Brazos Place). The ones that do don’t always have enough storage to meet demand. Sometimes it’s just a fenced cage, other times it’s an actual closet with lockable door and electricity.
Unless a storage unit conveyed with the sale of the condo (a buyer can amortize the cost of the storage unit over the term of their mortgage) most transactions for building storage units are handled in cash. The cash-only aftermarket can put storage units out of reach for some owners. As you can see below there is a wide range of pricing.
Recent transactions: (sizes are ballpark based on owner input)
*5 Fifty Five – 4′w x 7′d x 7′h = $2,800-4,000.
*Milago = $3,750
*The Shore – 4′w x 7′d x 8′h = $7,500
*360 Condos – 5′w x 7′d x 9′h = $15,000.
Cost: varies, ~$100+ per month
Many downtown condo dwellers forget there is a Public Storage close by on W. 6th Street. As of this post, these rentable storage lockers start at $122 per month, plus a $75 move in fee, for a 5′w x 10′d.
I try to avoid renting whenever possible – it’s a sunk cost, and you need to drive to get there. However, when you’re downsizing and about to start moving, you just want an easy place to put stuff. This is where Public Storage is really helpful. Later you can transition into more permanent storage options once settled into your new digs.
USU “Urban Storage Unit”
Cost: fixed, $2000
The USU is sturdy box that sits in front/above your parking space. It maximizes space you are underutilizing. Amber and I have two of these and they are perfect for golf clubs, ski/snowboard equipment, holiday stuff, tools, and generally bulky items we want convenient access to from our door.
We needed to persuade our HOA board to let us install the USU, but now more buildings and HOAs are approving them based on the convenience and value these bring to their residents. You can see USUs in use at the Four Seasons, Spring Condos, W Hotel Residences, and the Shore Condos.
Hopefully, this will help those of you longing for some extra space. If you’ve seen more creative storage solutions, please make sure to share in the comments!
[UPDATED: Though we've not used SpareFoot, we wanted to give them shoutout. SpareFoot is an online self-storage marketplace that allows storage seekers to search by price and area. So, you can price shop storage facilities across Austin. They are based in downtown Austin, too!]
At ~1,400,000 square feet Waller Park Place, a three tower mixed-use plan is the largest private development ever proposed in downtown Austin (correct me in the comments if I’m wrong). It’s the vision of the Sutton Company, who formally filed their site plan approval application with the City of Austin last week.
Back in September, Downtown Austin Blog first revealed the concept for the 3 acre tract stretching from Cesar Chavez to Davis Street, hugging Waller Creek. Then it was being called Waller Center and seemed really to be just a conceptual vision.
Below is what we know (note these numbers have gone up since Waller Center was announced in September and could still change)
- Tower A – Office, 25+ stories, on the corner of Red River and Cesar Chavez
- Tower B – Apartments, 50+ stories, internal on the site
- Tower C – Hotel/Condo, 40+ stories, at Red River & Davis
- Target FAR is 10:1
- The architect is the IBI Group
- No phasing is contemplated – all three towers built simultaneously
- The site is part of the Waller Creek TIF district
Above and below are a couple of crude massing-drawings I made for each tower to help view the relative dimensions and heights of the three towers, and to help us see how these buildings will fit into the skyline.
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?
It has been a long time coming, but the the first 11 bike share locations in Austin, opening next month, were announced last week.
As expected the bike locations are all located in and around downtown, with nothing north of 11th St.
B-Cycle, the bike provider, has launched an official website — austin.bcycle.com — touting the official launch as Dec. 21. The website also has an interactive Google-hybrid map of the bike share locations.
I have no bone to pick with any of the install choices, but do lament that they will not have kiosks planned in the initial phase at parking-challenged Barton Springs Pool and the Rainey Street District. (*cough* Put one at the MACC. *cough*).
The website says that the entire 40 station system, which is still in the planning stage, will be completely online and available for bike check out by March 1, 2014. In the near term, buildings with the closest access to the bike kiosks are the Spring Condos, W Hotel Residences, 5 Fifty Five, and the Plaza Lofts.