Handful of This Week’s Downtown Austin Events (and one on the East Side)

Handful of This Week’s Downtown Austin Events (and one on the East Side)

"Flow" installation, Design Workshop

DANA Urban Core Happy Hour
Sunday, November 16, 2014 – 2pm-4pm
Hotel Ella

RSVP Required.

hotel-ella

DANA members and guests are invited to enjoy the hospitality of the recently revamped Hotel Ella.

On the menu:

  • Truffle Risotto Cakes
    Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli
    Chorizo stuffed bacon wrapped dates with piquillo pepper sauce
    Antipasta Buffet Bar with imported cheese, house cured meats, preserved local fruits, and peppered flatbread with assorted crackers

+ complimentary beer, wine, and cocktails!

Creek Show, Light Night
Thursday, November 13, 2014 – Sunset ’til Late
Waller Creek (between 5th street and 7th street)

Event website.

"Flow" installation, Design Workshop

“Flow” installation, Design Workshop

As the sun sets on Waller Creek, five site-specific light installations will be revealed. These installations, all created by Austin-based architects and landscape architects, will illuminate Waller Creek in new and exciting ways. See the designs, hear local music and learn more about the future of Waller Creek.

East Austin Studio Tour
2 Weekends: November 15-16, November 22-23 – 11am-6pm
Various locations

Event website.

hallie

Big Medium presents the 13th East Austin Studio Tour! EAST is a free, annual, self-guided art event occurring over two weekends in November, providing the public with an opportunity to meet the makers: the local artists and artisans who leave a lasting imprint on Austin’s vibrant, dynamic culture. Tour-goers are invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists’ tools, techniques, and inspirations, and explore unique exhibition spaces and local businesses.

One of the artists we love to support, Hallie Rae Ward, will be showcasing her work at Createscape Coworking.  Check it out!





Austin Fairmont Hotel To Break Ground November 3rd

Austin Fairmont Hotel To Break Ground November 3rd

Fairmont_Rendering_Oct2014_final

Some people, myself included, were beginning to think downtown Austin’s Fairmont Hotel was becoming development vaporware.  Back in March there was proof-of-life when they began fencing off the site.

Today, according to a press release sent to DAB, the Fairmont Austin, the first hotel providing direct access to the Austin Convention Center, is announcing that it has secured financing and will break ground on November 3, 2014.

Colony Capital has stepped in with project financing for the $370 million luxury hotel, which is expected to open June 3, 2017.

The site, located at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez & Red River is a 1.74-acre parcel situated along the bank of Waller Creek. The hotel will be notable for having a direct connection to the Austin Convention Center, via an arial promenade being designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners (the firm selected by the Waller Creek Conservancy to develop a master plan for the Waller Creek district).

The finished building will no doubt add to downtown Austin’s skyline. At 595 feet tall, it will be second tallest structure in downtown Austin – the tallest being the 56 story, 680-foot Austonian.

Summary of what we know about the Fairmont Hotel…

  • Number of rooms = 1,066
  • Number of stories = 37
  • Square Feet = 1.4 million
  • Building Height = 595 feet
  • Delivery = June 2017

-Jude

Fairmont_Rendering_Oct2014_final

Fairmont Hotel, Red River @ Cesar Chavez, southwest POV





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.”





Downtown Austin Goes For The Goal – and the Gold!

Downtown Austin Goes For The Goal – and the Gold!

An Amazing New Vision for Downtown Austin

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.

[Read more…]





Downtown Austin Round Up: Fairmont, Waller, Trinity, Oh my

Downtown Austin Round Up: Fairmont, Waller, Trinity, Oh my

downtown-austin-news-roundup

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

99trinityaustinapartmentBack 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

waller_center_austin_Rainey_perspectiveThe 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

fairmont-austin

fairmont-birdseye (1)

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)

-Jude

 





Plans Evolve For Rainey Street’s Waller Center

Plans Evolve For Rainey Street’s Waller Center

waller_center_austin_Rainey_full

Here are the latest revisions to the 3 acre Waller Center plan – an ambitious project that stretches along the east bank of Waller Creek, from E Cesar Chavez to Davis Street.

The updated renderings (below) give a more comprehensive vision for the massing of three distinct towers, and how they could be best be oriented.  According to the ABJ‘s interview with development firm, The Sutton Company, their target is to submit plans to the City of Austin for approval by late November

waller_center_austin_Rainey_site_sat

Here’s what we know about the goals of the project:

  • Tower A is a 21 story office building
  • Tower B is a 46 story residential tower
  • Tower C is a 38 story mixed use Tower
  • Target FAR is 10:1
  • 26,000 ft retail (possibly grocery store)

Checkout the images below.

[Read more…]





This Is The Biggest Transformation Facing Downtown Austin

This Is The Biggest Transformation Facing Downtown Austin

Downtown-Austin-UT-Medical-District-Master-Plan3

You can clearly see from any of Austin’s view corridors the myriad cranes in downtown Austin, transforming the skyline.  But, the biggest transformation facing downtown Austin is not the redevelopment of Seaholm, nor Green Water.

I’m thinking of the Dell Medical School and UT’s Medical District Plan. This plan developed within two years, seemingly from thin air, and is awesome in the “shock and awe” sense of the word.

We’ve seen “Master Plans” come, go, sit on the shelves of City Hall, but the UT Medical District is more or less guaranteed to happen in the next couple of years, at least the first phase.  The UT system, the No. 3 richest system in the nation, will carry the brunt of development for Phase 1 of the master plan. I’d wager they aren’t dependent on lenders, credit markets, etc. when they (literally) have $1 billion of gold in the bank. That gold, by the way, represents just five percent of UT’s nearly $20 billion portfolio.

Officially, UT plans to open the medical school in the fall of 2016, while the planned opening of the hospital is January 2017.  

Now, look at the Medical District plan as a catalyst for development near the adjacent capitol complex and Waller Creek.  Things get really exciting.

I’m going to blog a few posts about this connectivity, in my best attempt to tie in the three plans and why they all are creating a nexus for something special to happen.

Let’s start by talking about what is in the works at UT in Phase 1.

UT Phase 1 plans

Phase 1 will be built while the existing Brackenridge hospital and Erwin Center continue to operate. Phase 1 will be jointly developed by UT and Seton/Central Health.

Parts of the first phase that will be developed by UT are:

  • A 75,000-square-foot academic/administrative building to serve as the medical school.
  • A 240,000-square-foot research building and vivarium. (If you’re wondering, “vivarium” is a fancy way of saying “animal research facility.”)
  • A 200,000-square-foot medical office building to provide space for specialty clinics, medical offices, hospital support, and clinical research.
  • A 1,000-space parking structure to serve the office building.
  • Meanwhile, Seton and Central Health will develop a new 480,000-square-foot hospital.

Downtown-Austin-UT-Medical-District-Master-Plan2

 

To facilitate development, the existing Penick-Allison Tennis Center will need to be relocated (sigh), as will the Centennial Park memorial features.

Additionally, Red River will be realigned between 16th and 15th street. If the glacially slow and problematic redevelopment of Brazos Street and other downtown streets is any indicator, that is the most likely part to delay UT’s plans.  Assuming the university twists arms at City Hall to put that on the fast track, there is still no telling what sort of headaches and potential delays that lay in wait under the street.

You might say: “This is basically UT and not downtown.”

I’d counter that 2/3 of this plan exists within the boundaries of Downtown Austin, adjacent to the capitol complex and Waller Creek.  The Medical District will spur more development for services and living options supporting Austin’s burgeoning medical industry.

Optimistically, I think this is “too big to fail.”  Exciting stuff, to be sure, and phase 1 is just the start.

Downtown-Austin-UT-Medical-District-Master-Plan1





Downtown News & Rumor Roundup: Central Library, Bike Share, Fairmont Updates

Downtown News & Rumor Roundup: Central Library, Bike Share, Fairmont Updates

downtown-austin-news-roundup

Bike Share: Not Until End Of Year

Bike share is late, but better late than never. After KUT News and the Statesman both did spotlights on the fact that Bike Share had all but dropped off the map in Austin, City Council approved approved a contract last week with B-Cycle to purchase the equipment needed to operate the Austin bike share system.

Included in this purchase will be approximately 400 bicycles, 600 docks, 40 kiosks, and other miscellaneous accessories including the hardware and software to operate the system.

The Public Works Department promises that next month it will release an online location-suggesting tool that will enable citizens to choose where they would like a kiosk to be located, and vote for already chosen locations. Stations will be on average two or three blocks apart. The stations will be located in close proximity to local attractions, transit stations and other popular destinations.

The City aims to have the bike share program operable by late 2013.

See the press release here

b-cycle-denver

Fairmont ground breaking imminent?

The 10,000 square foot surface level parking lot across from the convention center will soon be gone.  Though not an official “groundbreaking,” crews will never the less break ground soon at 101 Red River St, the site of the planned Fairmont Hotel, which will anchor the lower Waller Creek District (btw, the design plan was approved by council).

Permits were just granted for the crews to begin to tear up the concrete there, so don’t be surprised if you see activity out there. (But also don’t confuse it with general construction, which is slated for October)

fairmont-birdseye (1)

Seaholm Central Library Construction Started

This was covered to death around town, thanks to a pretty aggressive PR push from city hall. Construction has started, and will go through Fall 2015. I’m not going to belabor you with the details.  They are all in this PDF presentation.

Instead, I’m just going to show you this little comparison photo of development along the north shore, west of City Hall…

Shoreline

 





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 12/21/14 8:51 PM PST. 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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