DANA's Downtown Living Tour

Downtown Living Tour route

Downtown Living Tour route - click to see a list of buildings on the tour

The Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association is hosting its annual Downtown Living Tour this Sunday.  Each year, hundreds of guests attend the DLT for the opportunity to take a walking tour of downtown Austin, and to see inside dozens of downtown buildings.

Tickets are $15. VIP Tickets are $25, and include access to the VIP Reception, Saturday, October 10th from 7-9:30pm at BoConcept, celebrating event sponsors, volunteers, and hosts.

Sunday registration will be held at Gables Park Plaza.  I will be working registration on Sunday morning.  Hope to see you there!

Purchase tickets here!

Check out the Statesman’s write up.

Oh, if you think downtown living is out of reach… consider this.

Downtown Austin Open Houses


The great thing about downtown Austin open houses is that you can generally walk from building to building.  Take a stroll downtown now that summer is over and the temperature is cooler.  On this weekend’s calendar you’ll find the Austin City Lofts and Cambridge Tower.  Also, a good reason to head downtown this weekend is the opening of West Elm furniture at 5th and Lamar (which happens to be across the street from the Spring Condos sales center)

1) 800 W. 5th Street #908, 2bd, 2ba, $995,000, 1-3pm [TateProperty]

1) 800 W. 5th Street #908, 2bd, 2ba, $995,000, 1-3pm [TateProperty]
2) 1801 Lavaca Street #13A, 1bd, 2ba, $369,000, 2-4pm [UptownCondos]
3) 1801 Lavaca Street #7E, 2bd, 2ba, $365,000, 2-4pm [UptownCondos]
4) 1801 Lavaca Street #7D, 1bd, 1ba, $325,000, 2-4pm [UptownCondos]

There Are Downtown Austin Condos That Are FHA Approved


To qualify for an FHA loan in Travis County the purchase price of the residence must be under $288,750.  For FHA loans, you only need at least 3.5% down payment.  Consider downtown Austin condos like the Avenue Lofts or the the Shore Condos, two of the five downtown buildings that are FHA approved condos.

FHA approved downtown Austin condos:

FHA approval has ZERO to do with the quality or desirability of a building.  In fact, it is smart Home Owner’s Associations and developers that open up their projects to as many financing options as possible.


Defining Austin's Urban Core

Defining Austin's Urban Core

Maybe this is unique to my peers in the real estate world, but how often do you hear the term “urban core” as it relates to Austin?   Some people just say “Central” Austin, but to many that doesn’t imply South Austin, or East Austin.  Generally, when I write about the urban core of Austin this is the area I’m referring to.

How do you define Austin's "urban core"?

How do you define Austin's "urban core"?

For some of you this might be too narrow, but I suspect most of you will accuse me of drawing too broadly.  Notice that UT is excluded as UT is always referred to as UT.  Arguably, it’s one of the most urban areas of Austin – most university settings are dense, walkable, and active – but in my opinion it doesn’t compare well to the other neighborhoods due to the narrow demographics.

Oltorf is still a boundary to the south.  Lamar is no longer a boundary to the west.  To the north, MLK is a natural border between UT and downtown.  To the east I’ve chosen Pedernales, but I could be convinced to include Pleasant Valley.

More importantly, what does it mean to be inside Austin’s urban core?  Well, generally this is how I see it…

1) you can expect to find mixed-use development
2) you can find remnants of Austin’s history
3) you can find urban infill projects
4) decent transit (a generous term for Austin)
5) You could walk to downtown
6) There are no malls

Of course you could find some of the above items miles from downtown, but as a bundle of characteristics I think they work pretty well.  Austin’s “urban core” is a nebulous term that is as flexible as it is convenient.  This map shows what would have not only been the core, but most of the city at the turn of the century.   The boundary will likely grow as our city matures.   Let me know what you think.