Warehouse District vs. Capitol View Corridors

Warehouse District vs. Capitol View Corridors

Sign at 5th and Bowie providing direction to the Warehouse District

Sign at 5th and Bowie providing direction to the Warehouse District

Writer Katherine Gregor presents the story of the Warehouse District in this week’s Chronicle.

The Warehouse District is valuable for two reasons:

1) It’s an established destination in downtown.
2) It’s uniquely positioned outside of the Capitol View Corridors (map)

As Michael McGill astutely pointed out: “this is the sort of all day activity that 6th Street and Red River would kill for…this is the envy… this is what you want… this is what people work so hard to design in…”

From the article…

“The irony is that the district is so at risk because it’s so attractive – people want to do new developments in it and close to it,” said Jacqui Schraad, executive director of the Heritage Society. For example, the planned 18-story Westin Hotel will market itself as a chic “Warehouse District hotel”.

What is being proposed is clearly a taking of property rights, however, ROMA is offering an economic alternative that could potentially enable individual Warehouse District property owners to earn more money by transferring their air rights to other projects.  Currently, the adjacent property owners need to work with each other to create an assemblage site large enough to build a high rise.  ROMA’s solution appears to eliminate the need for these relationships of necessity and allow individual property owners to cash in on their property without the need to work with their neighbor.

A system of transference of development intensity could effectively put an end to the CURE based system to pursue additional entitlements.  Arguably, getting rid of the CURE system would eliminate the potential for backdoor lobbying efforts and could reduce the feasibility costs to developers.  Simply put, if you needed more density, you could just purchase it.  But, is there a real market for these air rights? Clearly the owners of the Warehouse District properties are not confident that there is.

This will be not an easy decision.  IMO, the real culprit is the Capitol View Corridors which artificially inflate and depress the intrinsic value of properties that are either outside or inside of the view corridor, respectively.  Were they not to exist, the extreme focus on this small assemblage of land we call the Warehouse District might not be at issue.  But, the existence of the Capitol View Corridors is a subject that is political wildfire with the “no growth” opinions who seem to equate “keep Austin weird” with “keep Austin low and sprawling”.

I’ve always believed that you don’t bite off the hand that feeds you, and Downtown Austin has been feeding off the charm of the Warehouse District for years.  The Warehouse District is an attractive destination for all of Austin and it’s visitors.  If ROMA’s recommendations aren’t adopted, it’s not likely that the Warehouse District will completely disappear, but we can expect it to change.  As our community works to create an amazing downtown experience, losing this district, in it’s current form, will take us further from that goal.


Downtown Austin Blog Featured On News 8 Austin

Heidi Zhou at News 8 Austin interviews Jude Galligan of Downtown Austin Blog regarding the fees and expectations of the Brazos Place condo auction. It’s a pretty short clip.

Brazos Place Condo Auction

Brazos Place in Downtown Austin

Brazos Place in Downtown Austin

19 Brazos Place condos in downtown Austin are being offered via an auction hosted by Kennedy Wilson.  The auction is scheduled for May 17th.  While the opening bids are enticing, a hidden reserve price has been set for each unit.

I’ll definitely be watching this closely.  Most auctions, including this one, have the right to cancel or reschedule if there isn’t a good response.   Judging by the amount of coverage the Brazos Place auction is getting I expect there to be lots of interest.

If you are considering a residence in downtown Austin, then it’s worth giving this auction your attention.  After checking out the auction website, you can contact me to learn more about the building, discuss the dynamics of the auction, and to preview the units.

related stories:
Downtown Austin – Do The Math
Downtown Austin – By The Numbers

For further information, including registration, contact:

Jude Galligan
Downtown Austin Realtor
judegalligan [@] gmail.com

Downtown Austin Condo Sales

Downtown Austin Condos By The Numbers

Downtown Austin Condos By The Numbers

We love numbers here at DAB, and AustinTowers.net takes a look at average sale prices (per foot) for each building in Downtown Austin over the past 14 months.  You’ll find each building ranked by price/foot in descending order.  5 Fifty Five takes the top spot at $473/ft.  You might be surprised to see the Westgate show up at $325/ft.  Greenwood Towers sets the floor at $197/ft.

The most interesting result might be Plaza Lofts coming in at an average of $291/ft.  Plaza Lofts is the most centrally located of all downtown Austin condos.   These numbers have a back story, which is what I assist my clients with.  Over the past 14 months, the Plaza Lofts has been subjected to construction expectations.  Gables Republic Park was scheduled to begin construction next door to the South.  Andrews Urban/Novare were expected to push their Ovation project where the post office is located.  This would have killed many people’s views of the hill country.  It doesn’t appear that either of these projects will be complete within the next five years, if not longer.

Another key point to remember about Greenwood Towers, the least expensive Downtown Austin condo, its intrinsic value is significantly linked to the fact that the building sits on a land lease which expires sometime near 2050.

Complete AustinTowers.net Analysis (link)

Ranked in descending order:
5 Fifty Five, $473/ft
Nokonah, $442/ft
Brazos Place, $370/ft

Villas on Town Lake, $241/ft
Towers of Town Lake, $228/ft
Greenwood Towers, $197/ft