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Old July 7th, 2006, 11:24 PM   #21
Nic
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For the record, as of July 7, 2006, there are five highrise buildings under construction in downtown Austin.

They include, :

AMLI II - 18 stories, 225 feet, 231 unit apartment tower

The Shore - 22 stories, 251 feet, 192 unit condo tower

The Monarch - 29 stories, 314 feet, 305 unit apartment tower

Marriott Residence Inn/Courtyard - 12 stories, 141 feet, 449 guest room hotel

360- 44 stories, 581 feet, 432 unit condo tower

Also, I'm getting excited at the number of midrise projects breaking ground in and around downtown.

I don't have as much info. on them, but include Robinson Hill Condos (Apartments?), 6th @ Brushy condos, the former Goodwill site, the banks on W. 5th, all over U.T. and West Campus, the former Reddy Ice site, on the south shore (I believe it's called Bridges on the Park), and really all over central Austin. I can never remember this amount of urban development being built all at once in Austin.

It's even starting to spread well outside the urban core along the commuter rail line. The former Huntsman tract (on N. Lamar @ Airport Blvd,) comes to mind, and of course how could I leave out what's happening at the Mueller redevelopment.

Definitely exciting times in Austin for those who are into urban development.

Last edited by Nic; July 8th, 2006 at 05:08 AM.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 07:58 AM   #22
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I continue to be impressed at the large numbers of high-rise projects going up in DT Austin. The skyline will most definitely look AMAZING after a few years!!!
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Old July 8th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #23
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I was in Austin couple months back on the way to San Antonio from Dallas and really liked it. Except for the traffic. Is the city planning on taking care of the I-35 traffic? It was absolutely horrendous when I went through it.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eurogator
I was in Austin couple months back on the way to San Antonio from Dallas and really liked it. Except for the traffic. Is the city planning on taking care of the I-35 traffic? It was absolutely horrendous when I went through it.
Yes, this system of toll roads that will open by the end of 2007 should help.



Also, TX DOT is in the planning stages of upgrading I-35 through Travis County (basically Round Rock to Buda). This is probably at a bare minimum 5 years from starting construction, however.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 09:51 PM   #25
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Skyline will comprise 118 upscale lofts in a six-story project just off I-35 between East Eighth and Ninth streets


Also just east of Interstate 35 are the Robertson Hill Apartments, scheduled to open in the spring of 2007. Rents are expected to start at $1,175 a month.



CENTRAL TEXAS HOMES

More condos on way to East Austin
Skyline lofts are expected to open by spring 2008.
By Shonda Novak

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Saturday, July 08, 2006

More condominiums are on the way for East Austin as demand for housing close to downtown continues to spill east of Interstate 35.

Austin-based Interurban Development LLC plans to start construction this fall on 118 upscale lofts in a six-story project overlooking I-35 between East Eighth and Ninth streets.


The $46 million project, called Skyline, will be just south of another residential project, by Houston-based Martin Fein Interests Ltd. currently under construction.

When it is finished, the Robertson Hill Apartments will feature 290 upscale units on San Marcos Street between Ninth and Eleventh streets.

The projects are among nearly a dozen under construction or being planned in East Austin, where land is less expensive than it is downtown, allowing developers to build more moderately priced alternatives to downtown's pricey condos and apartments.

Interurban's principals, Gary Krieg and Matt Mathias, expect Skyline to open in spring 2008, pending approval of a building permit from the city by mid-September.

Prices at Skyline will start in the low $200,000s.

Rents haven't been established yet for the Robertson Hill Apartments but are expected to range from $1,175 for a one-bedroom unit to $2,600 for a two bedroom unit, said Timm Wooten, executive vice president with Martin Fein. The first units should be ready by spring, Wooten said.

Krieg, Interurban's founder, said the Skyline project will offer residents a chance to be in a well-established neighborhood close to downtown.

"Austin's skyline is poised for an impressive range of changes over the next decade," Krieg said. "And our residents will not only get to enjoy a front-row seat, but also won't have to worry about their views being obstructed."

Interurban will start taking reservations Monday, requiring $1,000 refundable deposits.

Houston-based Jackson & Ryan Architects is designing the project, Krieg said.

The firm designed the student commons and conference center in the Houston Medical Center, the Children's Museum in Houston and the renovation and restoration efforts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

With 29 floor plans, Skyline's units will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and European-imported kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Interurban says it intends to use environmentally friendly building features in the project.

Amenities will include a 20,000-square-foot rooftop deck with a large pool, outdoor fire pit and cabana.

Adjacent to the pool will be an outdoor viewing area with a sloped amphitheater designed for film screenings.

Like many of a growing list of residential projects in and around downtown, Interurban expects Skyline to attract a wide range of buyers, from young professionals to baby boomers, empty-nesters and retirees.

A block away from Skyline, along I-35 and East 12th Street, the Texas General Land Office in March sold a 25,510-square-foot warehouse and two acres for $4.6 million to HSD Lakeway Holdings Ltd.

Haythem Dawlett, HSD's general partner, said he may build a 12- to 13-story "first-class, five-star" medical center on the site to meet the demand for medical facilities and services near the downtown area.

Architects are working on a conceptual design for the center, which could include outpatient surgery and cancer-treatment facilities and street-level retail.

Plans also may include residential and medical condominiums and conventional office space, Dawlett said.

Interurban's other projects include the Bel-Air Lofts on South Congress Avenue, where all but one of the 48 units in the first phase have sold.

Construction is scheduled to begin next month on the second phase — 35 units with prices ranging from about $200,000 to the mid-$300,000s. Prospective buyers have reserved 22 units with $500 deposits.

[email protected]; 445-3856


East Austin on the rise

Other residential projects in East Austin that are planned or under way:



Project / Location / Stories / Units



Constellation Properties / Riverside at I-35 / 4-11 / 250




Lakeside / Riverside Drive and Lakeshore Drive / Varies / 2,500




Mac Pike/Wally Scott / Lakeshore Drive / Varies / 1,000




Saltillo Lofts / 1601 E. Fifth St. / 3 / 38




Twentyone24 / 2124 E. Sixth St. / 4 / 60




Villas on Sixth / 2011 E. Sixth St. / 2 / 160




Sixth + Brushy / Sixth and Brushy streets / 4 / 18




Waterstreet Lofts / E. Cesar Chavez and Comal streets / 3 / 22




1305 / 1305 E. Sixth St. / 2 / 14
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Old July 9th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #26
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The Marriot hotel is pretty much finished other than interior work, the building itself is complete...

Also as far as the Central Texas turnpike, its a sham. While it might help the short term traffic problems that we have, it will not last for long. Not only is it a toll road, it is being portrayed as a eastern bypass of Austin. Thats kinda what they wanted Mopac/Loop 1 to be when they first built it in the 70's now its just another clogged north-south artery through the city. The state, particularly the "Perry government" Has wasted time and effort building a Texas transportation corridor network when all they needed to do was update the freeway network we already have. Though it is not fully the states fault. The city, and our representatives have not done enough to push for more federal freeway money for local use. I-35 will not change anytime soon, though the distant plan is to have it upgraded with more lanes and High occupancy lanes and to trench the freeway through the downtown area and reconnecting all the east/west arteries into downtown from the eastside.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 11:53 PM   #27
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Whether the Marriott is almost complete or not, it is still under construction. I drove by a few days ago, and there is still scaffolding on the exterior, fencing and the covered walkways, and lots of workers around.

As far as TX 130, being that it begins north of Georgetown in Jarrell, and will soon begin phase II southward to I-10 in Seguin, and is much farther east of I-35, than Loop 1 is west. I don't believe that is a good comparison. Also, with 45 North, and 45 South, as well as roads like TX 29 in Georgetown, U.S. 79 in Round Rock, Parmer Ln. (734), U.S. 290 East. M.L.K. Blvd. (969), TX 71 East, the connectivity between I-35 and TX 130 will be a huge improvement than that between I-35 and Loop 1.

As far as being built up over time, well if Austin metro continues to grow, then common sense says yes it will. But, I fail to see why that makes it a bad deal. We can continue stretching up and down I-35 or U.S. 183, or any of our existing highways, or we can begin developing our eastern part of the metro, away from the Edwards Aquifer.

As far as tolls, give me a break. I am not a Perry supporter (I'll be voting Chris Bell), but the fact is any of the roads we are discussing would not have even started construction yet if we did not issue bonds (thus the need for tolls). Tx 130 has been discussed for decades (remember MoKan?) without anything being done. Common sense says Austin needs a north/south alternative to I-35 (whether Loop 1 was intended as such, fact is because of lack of adequate connections it does not function as such).

Lastly, I think you are incorrect in assuming that the upgrade to I-35 is in the "distant" future. Like I said in my previous post, the needed public hearings, studies have been going on now for some time. I think it is feasible to believe that construction could begin on the first phase (I am sure they are not going to rip up the entire stretch through Travis County all at once) within 5 to 7 years. In highway constuction, that is no time at all. The reason for my optimism, is it has been said that the financing of this project will be similiar to that of I-10 in west Houston and out to Katy. In other words, there will be a tolling aspect to the new I-35. There would still be free upgraded frontage roads, free upgraded "freeway" lanes, and then 2 or 3 new toll lanes (these will probably be HOT, high- occupancy toll, lanes) in each direction. These HOT lanes may be free for those with 3 or more people in the car, but for less there would be a toll. Also, the toll charge may fluctuate between peak, and non-peak travel times.

Whatever you have heard from certain sources, there would never be a time on any Central Texas road where anyone would be forced into using a toll road. All existing freeways will still have just as many free travel lanes; only new lanes will be tolled.

This method allows huge highway projects to proceed at unprecedented speed (just look at 183-A, Loop 1 extension, 45 North, and 130).

I too wish that Austin leaders in previous generations would not have been so irresponsible to not build our necessary infrastructure. However, if we miss this oppurtunity to finally build a decent highway system in a reasonable timeframe, I fear what that means to Austin's future. If you think traffic is bad now, wait another 20 years, with about a million more people in our metro (that is not an unreasonble projection, just look at the population we've added the last 20). If we keep building our roads at the same pace we have until now (minus the turnpikes), we are in big trouble.

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Old July 10th, 2006, 04:35 AM   #28
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HOT lanes, i like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nic
I too wish that Austin leaders in previous generations would not have been so irresponsible to not build our necessary infrastructure. However, if we miss this oppurtunity to finally build a decent highway system in a reasonable timeframe, I fear what that means to Austin's future. If you think traffic is bad now, wait another 20 years, with about a million more people in our metro (that is not an unreasonble projection, just look at the population we've added the last 20). If we keep building our roads at the same pace we have untill now (minus the turnpikes), we are in big trouble.
^at least it will make people more open to the idea of public transit.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 07:54 AM   #29
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Absolutely! I voted for light rail in 2000, and commuter rail in 2004. I'll vote "yes" for any mass-transit proposal put forward in the future as well.

However, I am a strong believer in a multi-modal transit system. We need good roads, busses, trains, bikeways, and sidewalks.

I believe that regardless of how high gas prices get, cars are going to be a major part of the U.S.'s mobility for decades into the future. Just look at European gas prices, and cars are still used in great numbers. The result of this is that there will still be a need to upgrade our roads.

Of course, I hope that a higher, and higher percentage of Americans begin to repopulate the urban cores of cities, and begin utilizing mass-transit in much higher numbers.

In my opinion, both a continuation of sprawl, and a continued rebirth of our inner cities, is not only possible to occur simutaneously, but likely will.

So, let's plan for that, and not assume that cars will not exist in great numbers into the future.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #30
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Actually Tolls will be built on existing freeways, you can check with TxDot. Example, they just opened the stretch of 183 from east of I-35 down to just past 290 E. Right now it is free but when the entire stretch from I-35 to the airport is complete, they plan to toll the full freeway, not certain lanes. I-35 will be done in pieces and I guess you can say the first two noticeable changes to I-35 are the interchange on the southside at Ben White 290/71 and now they are working on the new Yager lane bridge and they are upgrading that section of I-35 through there. And unfortunatly as this article from the Austin Chronical points out it will be more than 5 years before we really see major changes to I-35

I-35: TxDot Makes (or Breaks) History?

The expected haggling has begun between the Texas Dept. of Transportation and city officials over which East Austin properties are historic enough to survive the coming I-35 expansion. This corner of the bureaucratic swamp is called the historic property review -- a key component of the I-35 project's federally required environmental impact analysis -- in which city, state, and TxDOT officials determine if the controversial I-35 expansion would "negatively impact" any potentially historic buildings or properties. "Impact" would be a polite term for "envelop" or "destroy." If it wants to use federal funds -- which, of course, it must on a project this size -- TxDOT must adjust its plans to minimize those impacts on historic areas.

The massive I-35 project would revamp a 45-mile stretch of highway from Georgetown to Buda, adding two main lanes and elevated HOV lanes through Downtown, and require $2 billion and 10 years of construction. Critics of the plan say that it won't ease traffic congestion enough given the price, and that it will damage many East Austin neighborhoods. Opponents see the historic review as a way to possibly alter the design and minimize the project's injuries to their neighborhoods.

The I-35 expansion project has been in the works for nearly 15 years already, and TxDOT hopes to finish the historic review, along with the rest of the EIS, by this spring so it can move forward with finalizing schematics and applying for federal highway funds. They don't expect to start construction until 2010. Thus far, TxDOT officials have surveyed potentially historic properties along I-35's eastern lip from Town Lake to Seventh Street and presented their findings to city Historic Preservation Officer Barbara Stocklin, who said this week she has numerous objections to TxDOT appraisals. She said TxDOT schematics called for consuming several properties in the four-block area between Holly and Flores streets along I-35, an area Stocklin said she believes could qualify for historic district designation. "It's not just historic housing they're taking, but low- to middle-income housing [in the area]," she said. "If it is a potential historic district, they have to have a mitigation plan." The Texas Historical Commission has the final say on which areas could qualify as historic districts and thus cannot be "impacted."

Stocklin indicated she will respond to TxDOT this week with official comments on its survey, and must conduct further discussions with the agency. She also noted that TxDOT is in an awkward position during the historic review. Obviously, the agency would benefit from fewer historic properties (and fewer potentially expensive changes to the highway design), but it's given the responsibility to help identify which properties are historic and eligible for protection. "They have a vested interest in not having these properties labeled historic," she said.

Daniel Harris, TxDOT's historic preservation planner, said TxDOT officials were still in discussions with the city regarding properties south of Seventh Street. The agency hopes to complete its historic surveys of properties between Seventh and 53rd in the next several weeks, and submit those recommendations to Stocklin for city review. "I'm in limbo right now, trying to move forward but realizing the city has vital interests in these discussions," he said.

So do several Eastside neighborhood associations, and TxDOT is planning two sure-to-be-combative public meetings in January to take citizen input, one for areas south of Martin Luther King Boulevard and one for areas north. Harris said notices for the meetings will be mailed once the list of more than 300 stakeholders is finalized and meetings dates set. He noted that TxDOT hopes to complete reports documenting which properties will be affected in time for those meetings, so citizens will know if their property will be "impacted," but federal law doesn't require it.

(This is not a new artical but I also have looked at the TXDot website and the I-35 stretch and it really dosnt say anything about upgrading I-35 in the near future. Really, they are stuck in study after study)


As far as 130 goes, it will continue to be a controversial road for awhile. I agree that we need to move development east but also at the same time we don't need sprawl and that is exactly whats going to be built along this new road.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 10:00 PM   #31
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Like I said, the studies have been going on for years, and we should see major construction on I-35 in 5 to 7 years. Also, I recently read TxDot will soon begin rebuilding frontage roads through Travis County, setting them farther from the main lanes, to allow more room for the expansion. The point is, I do not believe this project to be in the "distant" future.

Also, you are correct about that new stretch of 183 east of I-35. Originally that would have been tolled from the start, but through some compromise, they agreed to delay those tolls until the expressway lanes were completed all the way to 71. I think the idea was it would seem silly to have that stretch of only about 2 miles be tolled.

Also, I wasn't aware that 130 was controversial. I am aware that the phase II plan was, but only the fanatically anti-toll people (or just anti-car/road period) find roads such as 130, 183-A, or 45 N. controversial.

As far as sprawl in the area, like I said before, we can continue sprawling farther into the north and south, all the way to Temple and San Antonio, continue sprawling into the Hill Country, or we can direct growth eastward. Although it seems to be way out, 130 in most places is less than 10 miles east of I-35. Why wouldn't we want this area more developed?
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Old July 14th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #32
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AUSTIN MUSIC HALL MAKEOVER
Music Hall makeover
Popular venue Austin Music Hall to add restaurant, increase capacity
By Joe Gross
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Monday, July 10, 2006

Planned renovations for the hall include a modernist exterior, a late-night restaurant, an increase in overall admission capacity from 3,000 to 4,000, and a new sound and light system, with LED screens throughout the venue. The overall square footage will increase from 22,000 to 42,000. The hall's seating capacity will increase from 1,800 to 2,800, and a new mezzanine will overlook the stage.

Direct Events owner Tim O'Connor estimates the project's cost at $5 million, which will be split among the two development companies and Direct Events.

"My best estimate is that it will probably be completed by June 1," O'Connor said Monday.

Andrews Urban president Taylor Andrews said he approached O'Connor about refurbishing the hall last summer.

"We realized the importance of music and entertainment around this block pretty early on in the development process," Andrews said. "This region is home to La Zona Rosa and soon to be the home of Ballet Austin. Tim welcomed the opportunity to work together to help with noise and aesthetic issues."

Noise is often a sore point between club owners and downtown businesses. Early on, the Hilton Austin Hotel on Fourth Street lodged a number of noise complaints regarding clubs on Sixth Street, and clubs are already rumbling about potential condos at the former Reddy Ice plant on Red River Street, located mere feet from Stubb's outdoor venue.

O'Connor says the redesign will incorporate sound-dampening material, and Andrews added that the proximity of live music is a crucial part of the area's attraction.

"Having the music venues this close is a huge draw for potential residents," Andrews said. "But we also want to be good neighbors. There will probably be residential development to the south and across the creek, so it's not just about the 360 Condos. We want residents of any of those buildings to realize the benefit of Austin Music Hall."

Andrews said the building will be designed in accordance with the "Great Streets" objective of wide sidewalks, ground-level retail and other neighborhood-building features.

"Upgrading the Music Hall to make it more pedestrian-friendly is directly in line with the Downtown Design Guidelines," said Eleanor McKinney, chairwoman of the City of Austin Design Commission.

The 360 Condominiums at West Third and Nueces streets will house 432 units. One-bedroom units start at less than $200,000, and two-bedroom units start at less than $300,000. The building is scheduled to open in late 2007.

The Austin Music Hall opened in 1995 as one of the city's largest venues. Over the years, it has hosted acts such Bruce Springsteen, rapper Paul Wall, heavy metal band Slayer, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. It plays a key role in South by Southwest Music Festival and Conference, often showcasing the conference's biggest names in addition to the Austin Music Awards.

In January 2005, the hall hosted Willie Nelson's "Songs for Tsunami Relief: Austin to South Asia" show, benefiting victims of the tsunami that hit South Asia the day after Christmas in 2004. The venue also hosts private events as well as the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, an annual offering of arts and crafts, along with live music.

Project publicist Ryan Orendorf said the permitting process has already begun and the construction would be staged so that the facility could remain in operation.

Music fans have long complained about the Music Hall's unforgiving acoustics and the resulting mediocre sound. O'Connor said Austin acoustic designer Ken Dickensheets will design a house sound system, one that could be configured to accommodate anything from heavy metal to symphony orchestras.

"The acoustics are part of the design rather than an afterthought," Dickensheets said Monday. "Right now, there's a lot of sound energy coming out of the facility. You can hear the concerts as well outside as in. The new facility is going to somewhat control the sound coming out of the building so it doesn't bother the neighbors."

Dickensheets added that touring bands that bring their own sound equipment will be able plug in easily to the state-of-the-art house system. "This will give the audience good sound while keeping it under control," he said.

O'Connor hopes the hall's new size and look will improve Austin's chances to host big name touring acts that might otherwise play San Antonio. During the winter, it will enable Direct Events to book acts that might play the Glenn — the company's 5,000-capacity outdoor venue — during the summer months. The hall's new seating capacity will bring it in line with the 3,000-seat Bass Concert Hall, potentially making it attractive to touring theater groups as well.

How about the load-bearing pylons that sometimes obstruct clear views of the stage?

Andrews said: "Well, we're getting rid of those columns."

"This room has great potential," Dickensheets said. "It's the right venue at the right time."
Heres the article sorry for the delay, didn't see it on the site earlier.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 08:52 AM   #33
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I am hearing that Metlife 101 Colorado's 36 story building will start constuction within the next few weeks.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #34
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Awesome news about MetLife. Imagine what a 415' tower will look like at that location. Also, it further helps 2nd Street...now we need Block 21, 200 Congress, and the Green Water redevelopment, and that truly will be a "Great Street"!
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Old July 17th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #35
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Details emerging on commuter rail project
Station locations and car designs are set, and agency has decided to build a new railroad bridge.
By Ben Wear

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Capital Metro has unveiled plans about its rail project, including renderings (above). Stadler, a Swiss company, is building six train cars for Capital Metro at a cost of about $38 million. The cars each will be 138 feet long and have 108 seats.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Capital Metro's commuter rail project, just lines on a map 20 months ago when voters approved it, soon will take tangible form with dirt moving in Central Texas and metal molded in Switzerland.

Officials with the transit agency, which will host six informational forums on the $90 million-plus project beginning this week, have released new details about what's coming. They include a 2,000-foot railroad overpass that wasn't originally contemplated, specific locations for all but one of the stations on the 32-mile Leander-to-downtown Austin line, and the restoration of one station that had been cut from the plan.

Officials say that project is still on track to begin service sometime in 2008. Among the newly released details:

•The brand: The service will be called Metrorail. Red will be the primary color associated with the trains and the service. The train cars will be gray with red stripes and doors, along with black and white accents.

•The train cars: Stadler, a Swiss company, is building six train cars for Capital Metro at a cost of about $38 million. The cars each will be 138 feet long and have 108 seats.

Each car will have two diesel engines in the center section (though passengers will still be able to move from one end of the car to the other using an aisle between the engine compartments) and will be capable of continuing its run even if one engine goes down. The Cummins engines will be manufactured in Europe, but will have part and repair facilities in San Antonio. There will also be backup power systems for the lights and air conditioning, meaning the cars (with windows that can't be opened) will have a cooling system if one of those auxiliary systems breaks down.

The station platforms will be at the same level as the floor of the car, with no more than a three-inch gap from the platform to the lip of the car floor to ease wheelchair boarding.

Stadler should begin construction on the first car this summer, project director John Almond said, with delivery in September 2007. The last car will be delivered in April or May of 2008, Almond said. Service, at least in theory, could begin before all the cars are here, but that decision has not been made.

Stadler has access to a 50-mile stretch of track in Switzerland, officials said, allowing extensive testing of all the cars before they are broken down into three pieces and shipped to Houston. They will be trucked to Austin from there and reassembled at the agency's North Austin Operations Center.

There would then be a testing period on the ground here, Almond said, albeit shorter than would have been necessary if Stadler didn't have the test track in Europe.

•A new bridge: Capital Metro has decided to build a 2,000-foot-long overpass over the Union Pacific railroad where the two lines intersect in Northwest Austin. The bridge, expected to cost $6 million to $10 million, will have earthen runups of about 540 feet on each side, and a 927-foot span that will have 25 feet of clearance as it passes over the UP track.

The project originally did not include that bridge. But given the heavy freight traffic on the UP line, and the priority that freight takes over passenger traffic in such situations, Capital Metro decided that the bridge was necessary to avoid repeated delays for passenger trains waiting for freight trains to pass.

Almond said that the agency, by cutting expenditures on other elements, will still be able to meet the project budget of about $90 million (which includes the cost of the train cars).

•Highland Mall back in: The agency last year decided not to build the Highland Mall station, but has reversed course. That station is likely to be the simplest and cheapest of the nine.

•Station sites and design: The agency has decided on precise locations for eight of the nine stations, but is still negotiating for land on the Burnet Road/Braker Lane station near the University of Texas' J.J. Pickle Research Campus.

The three outlying stations, in Leander, near Lakeline Mall and near the intersection of Howard Lane and Merrilltown Drive, will have park-and-ride lots. The other stations will have little or no parking.

The stations will have certain standard qualities and components, but individual accents in the paving features and perhaps the awnings. The agency would like to use glass awnings in a wing-shaped design, but is withholding a decision on that and other station amenities until earlier contracts are signed on the station platforms, ramps and sidings. That will determine how much money is available for awnings and paving.

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Last edited by Nic; July 18th, 2006 at 04:12 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 09:55 PM   #36
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Large mixed-use development planned for northwest
Up to 3,000 homes coming to area where rail line, toll roads will converge.
By Kate Miller Morton

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Monday, July 17, 2006

An empty field in the far northwest corner of Austin would become one of the densest mixed-use suburban developments in Central Texas under plans proposed by Pacific Summit Partners, which has 335 acres under contract near U.S. 183 and RM 620.

The group plans to build up to 3,000 homes along with 150,000 square feet of neighborhood retail. The $400 million project, called Lakeline Station, would take up to eight years to complete.

The residential portion will include as many as 12 different types of town houses, condos and single-family homes grouped near a coming train station.

"The nature of a transit-oriented development is diversity," said Steven Levenson, a California-based principal of Pacific Summit. "It's having homes of all shapes and sizes and people of varied income levels living in the same environment."

Retail in the development will be geared toward neighborhood services such as coffee shops and dry cleaners, as opposed to the "big box" retailers along the busy intersections nearby.

Located just west of Parmer Lane and south of Avery Ranch Road, the Lakeline Station project is the second major mixed-use development of the same name proposed in the area in the last two months.

Texas-based Simmons Vedder & Co. recently announced that it would build 1.5 million square feet of apartments, offices and shops on 63 acres that lie mostly to the southwest of Pacific Summit's land on the opposite side of the Capital Metro commuter rail line, which runs along both properties.

Originally called Lakeline Station, the project will be renamed because Pacific Summit Partners owns the trademark.

Simmons Vedder plans to break ground early next year on the office portion, which would open in early 2008; the apartments would open later that year.

Both companies are trying to capitalize on major transportation projects nearby.

Texas 45, an east-west toll road that will run alongside RM 620, is expected to open in early to mid-2007 linking U.S. 183, MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1), Interstate 35 and the new Texas 130 turnpike.

"We haven't built a road like that in Austin in many years, if ever," Simmons Vedder partner John McKinnerney said of Texas 45. "That road will allow a multitude of workers and shoppers and whomever to access the northern parts of Austin."

A second toll road, U.S. 183-A, is also expected to open next year offering express lanes to Cedar Park and, eventually, Leander.

The Capital Metro commuter rail line is scheduled to begin carrying passengers in 2008.

All of these projects have significantly raised the profile and desirability of the area to developers, said Charles Heimsath, president of Capitol Market Research, an Austin real estate analysis firm.

"That whole area is about to change pretty dramatically," Heimsath said. "Some major tracts of land that have been in investment ownership are now moving into the hands of developers, so I think you'll see a lot of change in that area over the next 12 months."

Lakeline Station will be the first project for Pacific Summit Partners, a local company recently started by experienced California real estate investors including Levenson, but it probably won't be the last.

Pacific Summit hired local Pulte Homes executive Todd Janssen to open a local office.

"We're there to stay, and we have other projects in the works," Levenson said.



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Old July 19th, 2006, 04:45 AM   #37
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Here is a map of the commuter rail under construction. The red line is the one currently being worked on and the grey lines are existing rail lines for future expansion.

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Old July 21st, 2006, 04:09 AM   #38
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Another convention center hotel

Hotel complex planned for downtown Austin
Developer promises to seek accord with site's current tenants, including Las Manitas.
By Shonda Novak

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF


Thursday, July 20, 2006

The largest hotel development in Austin's history may be headed to Congress Avenue downtown — a $185 million project with three Marriott hotels that may replace several treasured businesses, including a bilingual day care center and local favorite Las Manitas Avenue Cafe.

The hotels, which would be developed by White Lodging Services Corp., based in Merrillville, Ind., are slated for much of the block on the east side of Congress Avenue between Second and Third streets.


HELLMUTH, OBATA + KASSABAUM

The tallest hotel will be a 26-story Marriott convention center hotel with 650 rooms. There also will be a 200-room upscale Renaissance Hotel and a 150-room Springhill Suites by Marriott on the site. The hotels are scheduled to open in summer 2009.

White Lodging has signed a long-term lease with Finley Co. for the land, said Deno Yiankes, president and chief operating officer of White Lodging's development and asset management group.

Under the developer's current plans, the main hotel will have 50,000 square feet of meeting space in two ballrooms and 18 additional meeting rooms. The development also will include street-level retail on Second Street, including up to five food and beverage outlets, plus three levels of underground parking.

White Lodging will operate the hotels under a franchise agreement with Marriott. White Lodging is building two other hotels in downtown Austin: a 270-room Courtyard by Marriott and a 179-room Residence Inn by Marriott, both scheduled to open this fall on East Fourth Street.

The company's latest proposed development is a sign of White Lodging's "ongoing commitment to the city and our intent to be here well into the future," Yiankes said.

"We believe that adding 1,000 upscale hotel rooms to the downtown market will help attract additional convention business to Austin, enabling the city to compete more effectively with other convention destinations," he said.

White Lodging and Finley plan to work with existing tenants, including Las Manitas, "to reach a mutually satisfying arrangement," he added.

"We will directly benefit by successfully working with these longstanding and important institutions of downtown Austin as they are a significant part of Austin's unique flair that keeps so many visitors and conventioneers coming back year after year," Yiankes said.

At full staff, the three hotels will add 600 full-time jobs, doubling the number of people White Lodging employs in Austin, where it currently operates 13 hotels. The three new ones are expected to generate more than $2 million a year in property tax and more than $4 million a year in bed tax for the city.

Several other hotel deals are in the works downtown. They include a W hotel set to be built on a block just north of City Hall, a luxury hotel planned by San Antonio-based Hixon Properties Inc. for Third and Colorado streets and a proposed hotel tower that Australian-based Constellation Property Group plans to build at Red River and East Cesar Chavez streets, across from the Austin Convention Center. In addition, local developer Tom Stacy said he may include a hotel in a 47-story mixed-use tower he plans to build at Fifth Street and Congress Avenue.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 09:52 AM   #39
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That is a very ambitious project and it is going to be at a great location right across from the 47 story 200 Congress Condo tower. Finally after long years of waiting alot of the empty parking lots and low density buildings are being replaced by towers on that part of Congress. I am sure they will work to keep Las Manitas and the other businesses in the area.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 10:14 PM   #40
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I recently came across renderings for the "SoCo" lofts on South Congress, which can be found at this website...

http://www.socoloftsaustin.com/

One of the cool features of these lofts is that the sidwalk retail portion will be elevated much like the warehouse district is downtown.

I wasn't really sure where they were located at (their locator map link didn't work) so I used mapquest and put in the street address and found that it will be in the space on South Congress between Penn Field and the post office.

By the way, if someone has the ability to extract the images from the website that would be nice so the renderings can be more viewable.
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