Archives for July 2009
Thanks to Dale Glover, Austin Parks Foundation board member and downtown Austin resident for sharing this…
Waller Creek Bike Tour
Saturday, August 1st @ 10:00 am
Starting at the Mexican American Cultural Center Plaza (600 River Street)
“The Waller Creek master planning process is well underway. This is an effort to redesign the currently underutilized downtown creek into a premier community space — a potential venue for strolling, jogging, biking, dining, shopping, music, break-dancing, balloon-animal-making, capoeira demonstrations, competitive toenail-painting, and a host of other activities. The master planning process will help us decide what kind of space we want and what kind of activities we want to promote to activate the space. However, a key issue shaping the decisions is the facts on the ground — the condition of the creek and the creekside amenities today. Hop on your bike and join us for a two-wheeled exploration of the opportunities and constraints for this future community hub. We’ll be joined by experts and participants in the Waller Creek master planning process, including:
• Council Member Chris Riley
• Jeb Boyt of the Waller Creek Citizen’s Advisory Committee and Austin Metro Trails & Greenways
• Jana McCann of ROMA Design Group
• James Moody of The Mohawk and the Austin Live Music Task Force
• Shawn Shillington, the Urban Development Editor for Austinist.com
And more! The tour will end at 11:45 with snacks and conversation at Crown and Anchor (29th and San Jacinto).”
The Statesman Blotter is reporting someone jumped from 360. It is being reported as a possible suicide. Very sad. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
One of the better trends in urban design is to include retail space below residential buildings. I see downtown Austin’s retail offerings as overly homogeneous: salon, boutique, restaurant, or bar. Feedback from DANA members, and urban-Austinites in general, is the desire to see more practical stores to serve the many thousands of people that live and work here.
After the jump are a few examples of the ground floor retail space currently available below some of downtown Austin’s luxury buildings. You’ll see that space below these buildings is not cheap and ranges from $30-36 per foot plus NNN. This could yield a monthly lease payment of $3,500-4,000 per month per 1,000 feet of retail space.
The Downtown Austin Alliance has a great list of retail vacancies you should check out, too.
You might have already heard this rumor circling through various blogs and discussion boards. Clearly the Dillo is a downtown-centric service. As a frequent rider of the Dillo, I can attest to the fact that there were never many riders sharing the bus with me. I’ve often thought that by extending the 6th Street Dillo route into East Austin and beyond Whole Foods (for, instance Comal to Mopac) would encourage more ridership.
What CapMetro did right:
-The Dillo is inexpensive to ride.
-The Dillo route is easy to remember
-The Dillo 5-minute headway was very convenient
I find it irrational that they would consider killing the Dillo before the Metro Rail has even begun. If the Metro Rail is a success, then this will trickle down to the Dillo. The Dillo would have been a transfer bus to get from Red River to Lamar.
Yesterday evening Amber, Jeff, and I decided to head over to the Long Center’s lawn to listen to a string ensemble. The Austin Symphony’s Concert In The Park series was covering several movie themes. The Hartman Family Foundation’s support of the Austin Symphony subsidizes the entire series. Arriving at 7pm with folding chairs and cooler in hand, we claimed a patch of real estate and settled in. With downtown Austin as the backdrop and a nice breeze crossing the lawn, this is a terrific way to spend a Sunday evening.
The City of Austin has posted a video of the new parking meters with instructions on how to use them. The kiosk style meters are solar powered and accept credit cards – nice! I’ve always believed the mechanical parking meters contributed to urban blight in a small way. I also make a point to never carry change so the credit card option will be very useful.
I just learned that the Sage condos on South Lamar (about a mile south of Alamo Ritz) will be auctioned off on Saturday, August 22nd by J.P. King. This is the second auction announcement this week as the Bel Air condos on South Congress will go to auction on Sunday, August 9th.
The Sage has 32 units total, 24 will be auctioned, 10 will be sold through absolute auction (i.e. without reserve). It is a great time to be a buyer. Details on previewing access and opening bids are sparse. More to come.
This is interesting. How would you re-envision Americas suburbs?
“In a future where limited natural resources will force us to find better solutions for density and efficiency, what will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls that have long upheld the diffuse infrastructure of suburbia?”
Anyone can enter the competition. Entries must be submitted by August 1st.
Yesterday, I received more details about the downtown Austin apartment-to-condo conversion at 904 West Ave. They managed to squeeze 33 units into their plan: 31 one-bedrooms and two commercial spaces. The units begin at 429sf and increase in size to [a sprawling] 744sf. The target average price is close to $360/ft and an average unit cost of $220,000 +/-. Here is an example of a floor plan.
I’m skeptical about these prices. Buyers have other less expensive options in central Austin neighborhoods. For instance, at 2020 condos on South Congress, a similar apartment-to-condo conversion originally constructed in the 1960s, units can be had for $99,000. Though quality issues have been rumored at 2020 Congress.
To be fair, the rendering indicates 904 West Ave is aiming high in terms of design and I haven’t seen any details on the finish outs. I’m looking forward to seeing more from 904 West Ave.