- Facebook moves into their downtown Austin offices at 300 W 6th Street, on Monday. This building has 22 stories, built in 2002, and is pretty nice looking, though I never know what to call it. It’s between Lavaca and Guadalupe, across from Belmont. It will now be called the Facebook Building. (ABJ)
- The site at 2nd and Congress, where that 1000 room hotel was to be built, still could end up with a hotel, just a different hotel, but right now they are just planning for a hotel. Oh well. (Statesman)
- If you didn’t catch it yesterday, the I35 Makeover is official, funded, and soon to be under construction. (DAB)
- Michael Barnes shares the A-List hotel bars in Austin. Driskill #1, Four Seasons, #2. I would agree with those for downtown. Overlooked was the Finn & Porter lounge at the Hilton – the upstairs lounge has an easy going and chilled out vibe. (Austin360)
Archives for April 2010
This is John Arley. Singer/songwriter. Hanging out on Rainey Street.
I was heading to El Naranjo for some din-din. They were closed, but directly across the street, John was playing guitar and waved me (a total stranger) over. Clearly he’d had a few beers, but was kind enough to offer me one. After a long day, there’s nothing better than a cold beer and hanging out on your porch/lawn/terrace/etc. I grabbed two beers and he commenced playing four original songs. All of them really good.
It was interesting. Lot’s of people walked by. He invited everyone to hear a song, but nobody took the bait. Most people are so caught up in their own world. I let my guard down for a second, and glad I did, because I was able to join him in just relaxing with good music, company (even a stranger), and cold beer. That’s what I love about Austin. John says he doesn’t know how to use a computer, but if he ever manages to get online I hope he finds this.
Downtown Austin’s stretch of I-35 will receive some much needed improvements, confirming our report from September of last year. Short of burying or capping I-35, these improvements are the best we can hope for. A grant from Keep Austin Beautiful (KAB) will contribute $250,000 towards the landscaping. City Council set aside $1.5MM in form of non-tax supported certificates of obligation (bonds, I guess?). Revenues from the parking underneath the freeway (which will be completely redesigned) will also fund the project.
The project is expected to start in June and take approximately seven months.
[flickr-gallery tag_mode=”all” mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623834202535″]
Below is a photo of
Eastside Drive East Avenue, the boulevard predecessor of I35.
Council has voted to approve the zoning change request by Schlosser Development, according to a report by InFactDaily, for the proposed Shoal Creek Walk office, residential, retail tower. Though not out of the fire yet as this was only a first reading and council member Laura Morrison dissenting (shocker!), it’s a good indicator that Schlosser will receive the requested zoning change from downtown mixed use (DMU) to downtown mixed use central urban development (DMU-CURE), a change that is necessary to increase the height limit from 120 feet to 350 feet. Much of the property is encumbered by a Capitol View Corridor.
Schlosser has been making the rounds, and building stakeholder support for this project, for a couple of months. The new development would replace the surface level parking lot just east of Whole Foods. What’s interesting about this zoning review case is that Schlosser is not requesting more density, as measured by FAR (floor to area ratio); rather, they are seeking more height in part of the building, to compensate for the CVC restricted height in another part of the building.
Taking the wind out of the politcal sails of anti-growthers, Schlosser offered up an affordable housing proposal. This is interesting because they are not seeking more density, and therefor have zero obligation to subsidize affordable housing, or pay a fee-in-lieu of affordable housing.
Another office tower was recently announced, next to Gables Park Plaza, not far from Schlosser’s site.
[flickr-gallery tag_mode=”all” mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157623942576972″]
“Located in the burgeoning downtown Austin Rainey Street district! Imagine the hike and bike trail and Lady Bird Lake as your backyard. Your new home has corner unit privacy, AMAZING LAKE AND CITY VIEWS, and verdant tree tops. Washer/dryer/fridge included. Two reserved parking spots. 24 hr concierge, rooftop pool, club room. Milago has some of the best building amenities around. Furnishings negotiable.”
- 360 Nueces St, 360 condos #1311 2bd/2ba $429,900 1-3pm [Urbanspace]
- 603 Davis St, The Shore condos #1409 2bd/2ba $425,000 11-2pm [Platinum]
- 54 Rainey St, Milago condos #709 2bd/2ba $324,900 2-5pm [Keller Williams]
When you’re done with the open houses, you can enjoy an afternoon on Lady Bird Lake by renting a canoe or kayak from at the Texas Rowing Center. Or, dine al fresco at Annie’s Cafe on Congress Ave for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Make sure to download my 2010 First Quarter – downtown Austin real estate report (registered members only) and discuss with a Realtor who lives and works in downtown Austin.
Checkout the occupancy rates (as of Tuesday) for downtown Austin apartment buildings.
Monarch @ 94% or 287 out of 305 units
Legacy On The Lake @ 92% or 172 out of 187 units
Ashton Austin @ 87% leased, 83% occupied or 214 out of 258 units
Gables West @ 92% or 220 out of 239 units
Gables Park Plaza @ 38% out of 188 units
And, it’s a very safe bet that AMLI Downtown (220 units) and AMLI on 2nd (231 units) are hovering between 95-98% occupied.
Our empirical data suggests that lease rates at apartment buildings are hovering in the ball park of $1.75 per rentable foot, on average, net of incentives. MLS statistical reports for year-to-date downtown Austin condo leases corroborates this, reporting $1.88 per foot, on average, and ranging from $1.00-$2.40psf. In 2008, before many of our new apartment buildings were completes, lease rates were even higher. With no new projects on the horizon, and a strong demand for the urban life style, expect downtown lease rates to remain stable.
I received a note from Daniel Woodroffe yesterday informing me about a proposed public private partnership (PPP) to bring further improvements to Butler Park. As someone that enjoys Butler Park, I’m very excited about this project and hope you will share your support for it.
The Bloch Plaza Steering Committee, working with Austin Parks Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Resource Center are working with the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department to design, build and maintain the proposed R.A. Bloch Cancer Survivors Plaza, proposed for the fountain area located north of the Palmer Events Center in Butler Park.
The plaza will be built around an existing one-acre site that features a landscaped pool and existing trees and native plantings. The plan proposes to add additional water elements, native plants and trees, and a series of tips on maintaining a positive mental attitude and the road to recovery in fighting cancer and other life threatening diseases. A separately funded and designed artwork will be selected by the RA Bloch Cancer Foundation and the City Arts Commission and installed in a portion of the plaza to be determined at a later date. This artwork will replace the original proposed sculptures of a family that appear in other Bloch Plazas in cities throughout North America.
The R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation will fund $1M of the cost of the design and construction, with advocates raising funds under the umbrella of the Austin Parks Foundation.
The Austin Parks Foundation will be responsible for the design and construction of the plaza and will perform the working following the established city standards. While the Plaza is and will remain the property of the City of Austin, the Foundation – through the Stakeholder Steering Committee, will be responsible for the heavy maintenance of the completed plaza and is raising additional funds mentioned above for that express purpose.
- COA Downtown Commission convenes tonight at 5:30. On the agenda are updates on Bicycle Boulevard from Annick Beaudet with City of Austin Public Works Department, and Waller Creek District Master Plan presentation by Jim Robertson with City of Austin Planning and Development Review.
- Another professionally managed shared bicycle system could be a good fit for Austin. This one is called B-cycle, and it gets rolling in Denver tomorrow. You can vote on their website for Austin to be the next city considered (we’re already tracking as #1). We’ve recommended to City Council Members Riley, Cole, Spelman, and Martinez that they consider integrating a shared bicycle system, like BIXI, as part of the City’s mobility strategy. Since this mode of transit could be of great utility to visitors, one thought was that a hotel tax could fund part of the cost of a shared bicycle system.
- Know that island of vegetation across from City Hall? It shall be called the “Treeangle.”
- In case you missed it, check out this inspired adaptation of an otherwise blah art installation on Lamar.
- The ABJ is reporting “Austin area home sales rose dramatically in March — up 27 percent — compared with the same month last year, while the median price of buying a home was unchanged.” The surge is being attributed to the home buyer tax credits. We share that belief, and explore the downtown market in detail in our recent quarterly report.
On Tuesday, the DAA will host its Issues and Eggs Breakfast Forum. The topic is “Making an Economic Impact Through Contemporary Art”
The Downtown Austin Alliance, the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division and Art Alliance Austin invite you to attend an Issues and Eggs Breakfast Forum and Next Level Speakers Series presentation focusing on the positive impact art can have on our downtown economy.
Please join us for this presentation featuring Dan Cameron, founder of the not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization U.S. Biennial, Inc., and artistic director of Prospect New Orleans, the international biennial of contemporary art produced by U.S. Biennial, which launched in November 2008.
Issues and Eggs Breakfast Forum
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast
8:00 a.m. — 9:00 a.m.: Presentation
Austin City Hall, Council Chambers — 301 W. 2nd Street
Parking: City Hall Garage
[Read more…] about DAA Issues and Eggs Breakfast Forum