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!

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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…

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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”

BREAKING: Sales Of New Downtown Austin Condos Average More Than $1,000,000

BREAKING: Sales Of New Downtown Austin Condos Average More Than $1,000,000

For the first time, the average sales price of a new condo in downtown Austin is more than $1,000,000.

It’s not news that residences cost more than $1,000,000.  It is news when we’re talking about averages!  To be clear, we are focusing on new construction only, not resales (which have also had a banner year, and we’ll cover that in a future post.)

In 2012, the Austonian, Four Seasons Residences, W Hotel Residences, and Spring Condos (which in 2012 closed out their sales), accounted for 124 sales.

According to builder reports assembled by Capitol Market Research for new construction condos sold during the past 12 months:

  • average price = $1,061,682
  • average size = 1,701 ft.
  • number new condos sold = 124

The data is provided to us monthly as an aggregate of the above four buildings.  Anonymizing individual building sales was the only way to convince the developers to share their sales data.  To qualify the average price, we can approximate a median price using the 12 monthly aggregate records we have.

  • median monthly average price = $1,044,181 (min $777,813 to max $1,687,857)

The refrain which began in 2010 continues: there are no new downtown Austin condos being built.  Nor have we seen any new site plans for downtown condos.  Inventories continue to decrease (by 124 units in 2012) and residences are selling quickly at prices close to the asking price.  An ancillary effect of this shrinking inventory is rising prices for resales.

By my estimation, when compared against TCAD records, only 115 new construction units remain.  If interest rates remain low, the downtown Austin real estate market is on a trajectory to complete sales of new construction condos in 2013.

I’ll continue to provide detailed analysis of 2012 results over the coming weeks, including resales and analysis of building-by-building performance.

-Jude

Marathon Planning Effort Pays Off: 7 Rio Site Plan Permitted, Awaiting Construction

Marathon Planning Effort Pays Off: 7 Rio Site Plan Permitted, Awaiting Construction

An Englishman once said: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find you get what you need.”

And so it was for the folks behind a tower planned at Seventh & Rio Grande, named 7 Rio, who this month saw the City of Austin approve a site plan, allowing construction to move forward.

It was exactly one year ago that DAB posted that the 7 Rio apartments still had legs.

The project was one of a handful of [for sale] condo projects that took a back seat when lenders got squeamish in the midst of the Great Recession. In 2008, on the eve of the housing-crisis fallout, the builders projected a 3Q08 groundbreaking on a 34-story luxury residential 158-unit “point-tower” building.

That vision has been scaled back, and what is coming is a shorter building, with 24-stories, but packing in about 70 more apartments [for rent].

7rio-austin-site-rendering

original rendering of 7rio has since been scaled back

Part of the site is in the Capitol View Corridor, but a point-tower over podium design could have gone up as high as 50 stories. Given that demand remains so high for units in the urban core, this feels like a bit of a missed opportunity for CWS Capital Partners – the Orange County, California based developer – to create something striking, and the Austin community to reap some additional property tax and density.

One other observations is that the current site plan application says only “residential & parking,” while the initial proposal included 7,300 square feet of retail space.

Site vs. CVC

I’m just hoping CWS doesn’t sacrifice developing an inviting, pedestrian/shopper friendly building, for something barren of storefronts.

It is nice to see a project developed by a great local architect Brett Rhode getting off the ground, and we’ll all accept that the client calls the shots. (Note: Rhode: Partners portfolio still shows specs for the first design.)

 

What’s Missing? Clues To Downtown Austin’s Next Apartment Tower

What’s Missing? Clues To Downtown Austin’s Next Apartment Tower

What’s missing is a clue to what might become downtown Austin’s next apartment high-rise.

Back in August we discovered the old warehouse on the corner of Trinity and Cesar Chavez had been acquired by World Class Capital Group, and quickly conceptualized into an apartment tower, with the working name of Trinity Place.

For decades, two small billboards stood at the eastern edge of the lot.  If you were heading east or west on Cesar Chavez you wouldn’t have missed them.  As of this week, those billboards have been taken down!

Now, WCCG would not decide to forfeit that steady billboard lease without a good reason.  I speculate this is a signal that development efforts are progressing.

Trinity Place conceptual footprint – Cesar Chavez @ Trinty (pdf)