Downtown Austin News

It's time for the 8th Annual Mega Agent Mixer!

We are excited to be hosting the 8th annual Mega Agent Mixer, with all of the profit being once again donated to KW Cares. Last year our event was directly responsible for bringing over $200,000 to KW Cares!  This year's event promises to be a thrill ride with an amazing opening speaker and a great panel of top agents from across the country.  There will be food, fun, networking, as well as a KW Cares auction towards the end of the event.  Make sure to bring cash, your checkbook or credit cards for our KW Cares Auction.

This event will be held just a few blocks from the Austin Convention Center Tuesday, August 15th, from 6 pm to 9 pm.  The event location is once again at the Trinity Hall, which is located at 311 E 5th Street.

Make sure you bring plenty of business cards and a pen and paper for notes.  See you soon!

 

*There will be no refunds on tickets, as this is going to a good cause!

 

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Travis County Identifies the New Central Austin Courthouse Location

Travis County will negotiate with a developer to build a new courthouse at 1700 Guadalupe St.

County Judge Sarah Eckhardt announced Tuesday, July 10th, that she had signed an exclusive negotiation agreement for a development team to build a courthouse for the government's civil and family courts.

Hunt Development Group LLC, CGL Companies, Chameleon Companies, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. and Gensler would design, develop and construct the new Austin courthouse.

The new facility will replace the current Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse at West 11th and Guadalupe streets. The Sweatt Courthouse was built in the 1930s yet is deteriorating and is not expected to meet the growing need for more courtroom space, as Austin continues to grow. The roughly 433,000-square-foot facility is expected to be completed by 2023.

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Downtown Austin Tacodeli To Open in Early 2019

Austinites are no stranger to tacos, specifically Tacodeli tacos! Tacodeli, the new-school Austin-born taco chain is set to open its first downtown restaurant early 2019. The newest addition to the popular chain will be much like the other locations and will serve tacos for breakfast and lunch until 3 p.m. 

Tacodeli chef and founder Roberto Espinosa and partner Eric Wilkerson opened the first restaurant in 1999 on Barton Skyway and Spyglass Drive and grew with more locations.  The Spyglass location is a mile down the road from our office, feel free to stop by on your way to get some delicious tacos, we love visitors! 

The new downtown Austin location is the sixth Austin restaurant, and there are restaurants in Dallas, Houston, and Plano. It’s also working on a restaurant within the Austin Bergstrom-International Airport. Be sure to check out these Austin-native tacos this summer, the answer is always tacos! 

CAIN TEAM FAVORITE: Shrimposito, Grilled Texas Gulf Shrimp, chipotle-sesame adobo, queso fresco, avocado


Source

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AISD sells HQ site and Baker Center for $53 million in Land Sales

Austin Independent School District is selling its headquarters campus on West 6th Street to an active local developer and plans to move its administrative offices to a building outside of downtown on South I-35. 

Downtown Austin Aerial view

AISD trustees voted Monday night to sell the Carruth Administration Center at 1111 W. Sixth to Schlosser Development Co. for $35.5, according to multiple media reports. The company executives plan to redevelop the existing buildings - more than 158,000 square feet of office and residential space across five buildings. It has also been rumored that the company could potentially demolish the buildings and construct something new from the ground up. 

Fortunately, the property isn't in Capitol view corridor that would limit building heights. Schlosser is busy in the downtown Austin Area, as they are putting finishing touches on the Shoal Creek Walk office tower three blocks east. 

Other land sales approved Monday by AISD:

• $3 million, former Millett Opera House (home of the Austin Club) at 110 E. Ninth St. to the Foundation for the Preservation of the Historic Millett Opera House

• $1.96 million, eight acres at the southeast corner of Tannehill Lane and Jackie Robinson Street to city of Austin

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TxDOT Considers Adding 2 Toll Lanes to I-35

In an effort to assist with congestion on Interstate 35 through downtown Austin, the Texas Department of Transportation is looking at adding two managed express lanes, where fees are increased during heavy traffic and lowered during light traffic, in each direction.

Local officials announced the $8 billion project, titled Capital Express, at the Austin Chamber of Commerce Regional Growth Summit meeting Monday. The toll lanes are expressed to be very similar to Mopac's single express lane. TxDOT Public Information Officer Diann Hodges said the express lane would stretch 33 miles from RM 1431 in Round Rock to SH 45 Southeast near Buda.

The main concern is the congestion in downtown. "Because of the constraints and the fact that we cannot widen the roadway, we're actually going to go down," said Hodges. 

Along with adding two additional lanes, TxDOT said I-35 through downtown Austin would be lowered, and it is possible that the plan could involve removing the upper decks that stretch from Martin Luther King Boulevard and Airport Boulevard. 

"We only get one shot to rebuild and improve I-35 through downtown Austin, so we have to do as much as is reasonable within the existing footprint to enhance mobility and lower it," said Senator Kirk Watson.

Many were thrown off by the decision to create toll lanes rather than general purpose lanes. TxDOT said that if that were the case, the lanes would clog quickly. 

"This is a way to kind of control that traffic," said Diann Hodges. "Provide some relief to those general purpose lanes but also provide those who may need to get somewhere in a hurry, that opportunity."

Before this project will begin, the public will input from previous I-35 meetings will be taken into account as well as an environmental...

Things You Need to Know about U-Texas' Diversity and Inclusion Plan

The University of Texas is constantly drumming up ways to better their program and work to give students, and staff an exemplary experience. This plan was created to work towards making a "comprehensive guide to the institution as it supporst a more diverse and inclusivve campus culture," says Gregory Vincent, the vice president for diversity and community engagement.

“This plan strengthens these efforts and helps make certain we are all doing our part of building a strong, inclusive culture where all members of the community are respected and the educational experience for our students is enhanced by diverse people, scholarship and ideas.”

The plan focuses on eight areas: University leadership, staff, students, faculty, communication, campus climate and culture, alumni and community and pre-K-12 partnerships.

  • Investments will be made to bring more student housing for freshmen
  • It will create a long-term transportation plan
  • It calls for more faculty and staff inclusion training
  • It will establish a university-wide testing center
  • It calls for renewed student recruitment and admissions effort

The University will expand minority outreach and recruitment plans as well as include early financial aid packages during the recruitment process. The plan will also play a huge role in the University's overall admissions process.

To read more about this new plan, click here to read the full article from which this blog was based. 

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Construction on Austin's Newest Luxury Apartments Near Wholefoods HQ Now Underway

Oden Hughes LLC and CWS Capital Partners LLC have created a joint venture to build an upscale apartment community just west of downtown near the flagship Whole Foods Market Inc. store on Sixth Street.

The 226-unit complex with associated retail has broken ground at 1301 W. Fifth St. on a 1.6-acre site that previously was occupied by an AT&T office building and fleet parking lot.

Documents at the city of Austin show that the project is valued at nearly $29 million. About 10 percent of the units — one, two and three-bedroom floor plans — will be leased at below market rates to qualified households.

The development is scheduled to deliver in late 2018, including the 2,200-square-foot retail space on the ground floor. The contemporary styling is by Austin-based Kelly Grossman Architects.

Austin-based Oden Hughes previously built multifamily projects on behalf of CWS — including the recently completed Water Marq mid-rise at 300 E. Riverside Drive.

Oden Hughes also has a track record of building its own projects, including the 339-unit Lenox Boardwalk that will begin welcoming tenants in June. The apartment complex in East Austin is down the street from the $300 million Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) campus, which is under construction. At least 500 employees are expected to work at Oracle, supporting the tech giant’s burgeoning cloud-based...

Additional Transport Options Surface as Austinites Begin to Rely More on Public Transport Services

App-based shuttle service, Chariot, will begin servicing riders on a late-night shuttle schedule from January 27 'til next month. Downtown travelers who are going to and from bars and restaurants along Rainey Street to West Sixth Street will benefit from this new service, as the new shuttle's route runs along that area. 

Chariot shuttle vehicles hold a maximum of 14 passengers and will charge $3.50 per person for their late-night route.

The new initative was created in partnership with the West Sixth Business Association to "test new mobility solutions to support local businesses in both neighborhoods and provide a convenient option for residents and visitors traveling between the two high-traffic areas.” Local residents and frequent city visitors are familiar with the increase in traffic congestion in the city as it undergoes a boom in urban development. This new travel option is a welcome addition to public transport services, as residents and visitors rely more on public transport for more convenient travel in the area.

Chariot launched its first public commter routes last December with typical communting hours. The new late-night service, called "the West 6th Runner", will operate from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Interested in this new transport service? The company actually offers first five rides free by signing up with their promo code. Simply type in "WEST6TH" when registering. 

For more information, you can visit the official Chariot website by clicking on the link.

This article is based on a post that first appeared at Community Impact.

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Free Metro Rides in Austin on New Year's Eve: What You Need to Know

Capital Metro is helping Austin-area residents enjoy the New Year's celebrations safely by giving out free rides. The MetroBus, MetroRapid, MetroRail, and MetroAccess will all offer free rides after 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve in an effort to abate traffic and help Austin locals and visitors enjoy the celebrations more safely.

The schedule for the free transport can be accessed on this link. Customers can also access the automated phone line and online Trip Planner 24/7 to help them prepare their routes in advance.

Here are some things you need to know if you want to enjoy the free transport services for New Year's Eve:

  • MetroRail buses will start giving free rides after 6 p.m. on December 31. With 9 MetroRail stations in Austin, the plan also includes extending the service on Saturday with an addition trip leaving downtown at 2:30 a.m.
  • MetroRapid will offer its final departures at 2:30 a.m. from downtown along Guadalupe and Lavaca streets. There are two MetroRapid routes: one connects the Tech Ridge area to the Southpark Meadows shopping center in Southwest Austin through the UTexas campus and downtown; the other connects The Domain to the Westgate area in Southwest Austin via UT and downtown.
  • Five Night Owl routes will run to and from Sixth and Congress every 15 minutes from midnight until 3 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
  • Local MetroBus service will operate a Saturday schedule on New Year’s Eve, but E-Buses and UT Shuttles will not be in service.
  • Capital Metro's...

Major Central Austin Development in the Works with Approved Grove at Shoal Creek Deal

The proposed mixed-use development in Central Austin called The Grove at Shoal Creek will pave the way for the development of thousands of new residential units in the area. And thanks to an agreement between key city officials and the developers, final plans have already been plotted to determine the true size and scope of the project.

The controversial project was the source of contention and debate, as developers decided on what to do with the raw plot of land they have acquired for $47 million from the Texas Department of Transportation.

Challenges arose when developers tried to submit a "Planned Unit Development" for approval, but could not easily get the "go" as the land hasn't been zoned before. But thanks to an agreement signed last December 4,  The Council approved a revised PUD that would "cap office space at 185,000 square feet and cap retail space at 140,000 square feet, including a maximum of 35,000 square feet per tenant and no more than 10,000 for “cocktail lounge entitlements."

The development will also provide an additional 1,500 homes in Central Austin. The cap on maximum number of allowed apartments that was previously set at 650 was also lifted. To read more about this developing news, you can access the original article from which this post was based here.

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8-Mile Gondola System Proposed as Alternative Transport in Downtown Austin

Argodesign, the company behind the The Wire urban cable concept, is proposing a gondola system for downtown Austin that comprises an 8-mile long cable route from South First Street, Slaughter Lane North, to Guadalupe Street near the University fo Texas campus.

The concept is similar to gondola systems found in ski resorts, and the downtown project is proposed to be a high-speed, detachable gondola system that makes use of towers and stations above the city's roads. The proposal aims to provide a solution to downtown Austin's three current needs: alternative transport options, boost tourism, and bolster the Austinite's desire to preserve their novelty to "Keep Austin Weird".

But on the practical side, the Mobility Authority board of directors is gathering more information on the proposed project, while considering funding a viability study to see how to make it work. The viability study, if approved, will cost the city $15,000. The amount, however, is a money well invested since it will serve as a precursor to a more detailed feasibility study that could cost $1 million, and eventually a project that would cost between $290-$600 million.

To learn more about this developing story, please click the link to access the original article, or check out our blog for future updates. 

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Proposed New Mexic Arte Museum in Downtown Austin

Mexic-Arte Museum, the official Mexican and Mexican American Museum of Texas, is developing plans for a new 7-story (two underground) building to replace the current structure located at the southeast corner of Congress Avenue and E. 5th Street.

The renowned architect of Soumaya Museum in Mexico City came up with the design for the new project. Architect Fernando Romero is committed to build a striking structure that would "contribute to the quality of life for citizens of Austin and for generations to come".

The iconic design of the building is meant to be "a magnet for learning about the past, participating in the present and fostering a collective pride for the future." To learn more about this project you can visit the official website of Mexic-Arte museum or drop them an email at director@mexic-artemuseum.org.

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Redevelopment of Music Hall Set to Begin this September 2016

It was repored in 2015 that the Austin Music Hall will be demolished to make way for a 30-story office tower with ground floor retail area and onsite parking. After nearly a year of silence, Cielo Property Group broke the news that permits for site demolition were filed in March this year. The new construction at Third + Shoal is expected to begin this September 2016 with a projected completion date on September 2019.

Sitting on .81 acres of valuable commercial real estate land in downtown Austin, the proposed project is said to have 370,000 building sq. ft. and will be designed by Gensler to maximize its strategic location amongst restaurants, retail centers, residential projects, and hospitality establishments.

To learn more about the amenities of the new project and how the new Class AA building will be designed, you can access the developer's website here.

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Proposed 60-Story Building to Tower over Downtown Austin

Developers are proposing a two-tower mixed-use project in Austin’s Rainey Street area that includes a 60-story tower that, if built, would become Austin’s tallest building.

The Sutton Co. of Austin and Dallas-based Koa Partners are partnering on the project, which envisions a 60-story skyscraper that would have 440 luxury apartments plus office space. A second smaller tower would have 200 condominiums and 200 hotel rooms, developers say.

Austin’s tallest building is the 56-story Austonian on Congress Avenue. The Independent, a 58-story condo building dubbed “the Jenga tower,” broke ground in January.

The project is proposed on a 2-acre site that is currently home to the Villas on Town Lake, a 58-unit condominium project overlooking Lady Bird Lake.

Mac Pike, chairman of The Sutton Co., said developers could have a site development permit in hand from the city in about a year, for a projected mid-2017 construction start.

Sutton beat out 11 other bidders for the property, for which the Villas owners began soliciting offers last year through local broker Robert Knight. Sutton has a contract to buy the 2-acre site for $50.8 million, said Gary Johnson, president of the board of the Villas’ homeowners association. Johnson said he and his wife, Bonita White, have lived at the Villas since 1999.

Proceeds from the sale, after closing costs, brokerage and other fees, will be divided among owners based on their unit sizes, Johnson said. Owners of two-bedroom...

Hawaii's Agu Ramen to Open Outlets in Downtown Austin

A recent article published by the Pacific Business News reports that Hawaii-based restaurant chain Agu Ramen is set to open outlets in Texas’ largest metropolitan areas, particularly in the cities of Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Owner and Head Chef Hisashi Uehara is looking forward to the expansion of his Japanese restaurant chain in an area he believes is “an untouched market”, with existent competitors serving ramens meals that are "not at par" with Agu Ramen’s authentically prepared ramen dishes.

The first two to three outlets will be opened in Houston this year, with investment costs of each outlet amounting to $500,000. Upon opening its outlets in Austin, the Hawaii-based chain will compete with established ramen restaurants in the area such as Ramen Tatsu-Ya, Michi Ramen, and Daruma Ramen.

This comes as good news for residents living in and around downtown Austin—a thriving city whose urban districts are becoming a top-pick among career-driven millennials, tech tycoons, and investor-businessment alike—as new attractions keep popping up in downtown’s streets to cater to quick-evolving and sophisticated palates.

To read more about this wonderful downtown Austin news, you can click here to access the article reposted at the Austin Business Journal. You can also check back to our blog for more downtown Austin updates.

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Rising Lease Rates Drive Old Establishments in Downtown Austin to Close


Nothing is constant in this world but change, and there's nothing we can do about it whether the changes that will come are good or bad. And while it's good news that downtown Austin is undergoing quick progress, some "bad things" simply can't be helped.

Due to the excessive inflation of lease rates brought about by the development and intense demand in real estate on downtown Austin, some establishments in the area simply can't keep up and need to close.

Recent news reports cover the unsettling stories of old-worlde establishments in Austin closing down due to drastic increase in lease rates demanded by their landlords. Local restaurant Fork & Vine on West Anderson Lane was forced to close due to climbing rent; End of an Ear record store at Slackerville also suffered the same fate. But the most heartbreaking of all is the end of a haberdasher-- Keeper's Menswear will no longer operate in its current location after deciding not to renew the lease. How could they, when there is a 40% demanded increase?

While it saddens the hearts of local Austinites how things are changing in the downtown area, let's hope for the best that the new things coming our way can be as good as how things have been before all this mayhem.

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Austin News: Expect Heavy Traffic on Weekend

It's everyone's dream to live in a high-end residence at the heart of the city, a stone's throw away from all the amenities you will ever need. Downtown Austin is one of those cities where residents enjoy living in an urban setting where career opportunities, chic shops, and upscale restaurants combine into a happy mix that would satisfy a career person's or a growing family's needs. But the traffic situation in Austin is an ugly smudge to Austin's picturesque promise. Traffic can get really bad, and drivers have to stay informed to avoid potential gridlocks that would cost them time, effort, and fuel.

KXAN reports that there will be multiple lane closures on major Austin roadways this weekend. It might be a good idea to keep these schedules in mind and STAY AWAY!

East and Westbound SH 71- Lane Closures Every Night

The east and westbound lanes of SH71 between Ross Road and U.S. 183 will have multiple lane closures every night until June 5. Here are the schedules:

  • Eastbound & westbound lanes – Friday – 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Eastbound & westbound lanes – Saturday – 7 p.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Eastbound & westbound lanes – Sunday – 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

I-35 and Slaughter Creek Overpass

The I-35 at the Slaughter Creek overpass will be closed this weekend to demolish an old bridge to make way for a new construction estimated to cost $9.2 million. All main lanes will be closed. Motorists will be forced to use the frontage roads in both directions at the 226 exit. Here are the schedules:

  • 11 p.m. Thursday until 10 a.m. Friday
  • Friday night from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday
  • Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday

Construction of the new project will cause the overpass to be inaccessible for a year. However, the proposed new bridge promises...

Could Taller & Skinnier Towers Be Coming to Downtown Austin?

SHoP Architects recently unveiled their skinniest design yet - Inhabitat New York City

According to the Austin Business Journal, Austin’s City Council has approved a resolution for the city manager to come up with plans that help developers build taller and thinner condos in downtown Austin.  The hope is the plan will allow smaller lots to be developed to help provide more supply for housing downtown. More supply usually comes with lower prices.  

Austin OKs push for taller, narrower towers downtown

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