Art in Downtown Austin – Different Strokes for Different Folks

Art in Downtown Austin – Different Strokes for Different Folks

Different-Strokes-For-Different-Folks

We like to highlight good and interesting art on DAB.  I’ve recently written about the cool little Art-O-Matic found at a couple of downtown locations, and the public art piece High Water Mark.

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.

Artist Hallie Rae Ward with DAB Publisher Jude Galligan

Artist Hallie Rae Ward with Jude Galligan in the REATX Realty office

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!

Below, I ask Hallie a few questions about what inspires her work.  You can learn more about Hallie on her website or Facebook page.

[Read more...]





New CBD Office Tower Proposed For 5th & Colorado

New CBD Office Tower Proposed For 5th & Colorado

5thatColorado

Some of you will remember 2010 when a Starwood backed “1 Hotel” was proposed for the corner of W. 5th & Colorado Streets (201 W 5th Street).  At the time, the low-rise-circa-1980s structure was demolished (<– check out the old pics and hotel rendering), creating the current surface parking lot and food trailer court that exists today.

A site plan application filed by Bury with the City shows a 20 story building surpassing 344ft. The elevation actually starting with 100 ft at grade, thus putting the above ground height, including mechanical, at ~269ft (thanks to Kevin Lehnhardt for the insight!).  Last year, Dallas-based Lincoln properties planned a 16 story tower, so it’s grown a bit since then.

The valuable CBD development site is not encumbered by a Capital View Corridor, and is an entry point to the Warehouse District.  Once they break ground, this will be the second major office tower under construction along Colorado Street.  Combined with the construction-soon-to-commence Gables/Hotel ZaZa at 4th & Guadalupe, the new density bodes well for more daytime retail and restaurant offerings in downtown Austin.

5th & Colorado rendering from last year.

Rendering from last year by HKS.

Ground floor, drawing by Bury

Drawing by Bury, ground floor showing restaurant along W. 5th Street





Rainey Street Gets Bike Share

Rainey Street Gets Bike Share

austin-bike-share-rainey-street

The latest bike share hub being installed this morning at Davis & Rainey Street.  Just in time for SXSW, this is a good choice of location in the neighborhood.  Across the street Hotel Van Zandt is under construction.





Girls Night Out in Downtown Austin – Eat at Chavez

Girls Night Out in Downtown Austin – Eat at Chavez

chavez-austin-restaurant-sign

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.

No kidding.

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.

[Read more...]





Development Team Closes On Block 1

Development Team Closes On Block 1

Rendering by SCB from August 2013.  SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw

According to a City of Austin release, representatives with the City’s Economic Development and the project development team closed on the GWTP property (aka “Block 1) on January 31st.  The development team is Trammell Crow, the Hanover Company, and Pacific Life Insurance.

Block 1 is a pivotal downtown waterfront development.  It will improve connectivity with Second Street through to Nueces Street, the new Central Library, and the Seaholm District.

Orientation of Block 1

Orientation of Block 1

Summary of what we know about Block 1:

  • Located at Cesar Chavez and San Antonio Street.
  • Total project size is approximately 1.7 million square feet of mixed use development.
  • Block 1 totals 1.776 acres of land
  • 38 floor three-tiered mixed-use tower
  • expect 440 apartments, including 50 affordable units
  • 40,000 square feet of office and retail space.

The residential component is still being referred to as apartments for rent, and given Hanover’s participation we’ll take that at face value.  (Hanover developed the Ashton).  We should see site work commence in February with public streets and utility work, including the extension of Second Street.

Back in August we caught a glimpse of what Block 1 tower could look like.  According to today’s release, the development team continues to signal it will be a 38 story building with a three-tier design, which is consistent with the rendering and elevations we’ve seen.

If you look at the downtown skyline from the south (78704), you’ll notice there’s a giant gap in the skyline between the AMLI on 2nd to the east and 360 Condos to the west.  This project should fill that gap nicely.

More importantly, the walkable connectivity this project brings cannot be understated.  It’s literally creating more “grid” and that’s perhaps the greatest upside this project can deliver to city-dwellers. 

-Jude

South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

South and East Elevation Drawings for Block 1 by Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB)

Rendering by SCB from August 2013.  SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw

Rendering by SCB from August 2013. SCB builds some very classy buildings, btw





Storage Wars: Top Three Options For Condo Dwellers

Storage Wars: Top Three Options For Condo Dwellers

usu2

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)

image-8Storage 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.

Public Storage
Cost: varies, ~$100+ per month

publicstorageMany 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

USU

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!

-Jude

[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!]





Girls Night Out – Things to Do in Downtown Austin

Girls Night Out – Things to Do in Downtown Austin

Me and some of my lady friends enjoying culture at The Contemporary.

Note: This evening’s itinerary also works for date night!

I like to do a group outing with girlfriends once every week or two, but sometimes we get into a rut – where we are doing the same things, going to the same places, etc.  So, for 2014, I’ve made a commitment to try and mix things up a little (nothing too crazy) and try to do something a little different each time we get together.  Last night was our first night since the holiday madness, and me and gals decided to hit up the northern edge of Congress near the Capitol – frankly, a seeming no man’s land in the evenings.

Me and some of my lady friends enjoying culture at The Contemporary.

Me and some of my lady friends at the beginning of girls night.  At The Contemporary.

Stop 1 – 6pm: The Contemporary – The Jones Center at 7th and Congress

downtown-austin-contemporary-3

An artistic shot of the staircase at The Contemporary – The Jones Center. Photo by Lindsey Strobel.

For a steal at $5, you can get in to The Contemporary – Jones Center, and view the exhibitions on site (apparently, your receipt gets you [Read more...]





Last Minute Christmas Gifts You Can Buy Downtown

Last Minute Christmas Gifts You Can Buy Downtown

Neo Jumper

Christmas is in four days, y’all.  If you want to live dangerously – you can try doing your last minute shopping online and cross your fingers that it gets shipped to you in time OR you can go to the mall and get something completely lackluster, but why risk it?

You can pick up unique gifts right here in downtown without biting your nails about when it will arrive.  One of the many benefits of shopping local.

But Amber, you say, I don’t have the time to visit a lot of unfamiliar stores, look through all their wares, and make a decision.  Never you fear – Amber is here! I’ve done a little of the heavy lifting for you, and below provided you a curated list of some cool shops and some cool stuff they’ve got so you can run in, get a special gift, and run out.

REMEMBER – Check the websites for the store hours!  If you are unsure about something, probably also a good idea to call ahead!

My list, of course, is not exhaustive – if you know of a cool downtown / downtown-adjacent shop – feel free to tell us in the comments below!

[Read more...]





Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS ® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 9/30/14 1:20 PM 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.

Information being provided is for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing.

This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2014.