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Old April 17th, 2013, 09:22 AM   #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
I'd love to see some New Urbanism / traditionalist / neo-historicist projects from Austin, if there are any.


So far it looks like if Austin is just repeating failures of the past, with huge blocks, suburbanization, malls and what not... Where's the urbanity?
??? Austin is densifying it's downtown, currently there are so many urban projects across the area where it has gotten hard to keep up.

There are at least 50 or so mixed use projects going up across the city.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #82
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The problem is the size of blocks here I mentioned. It'd be better to have smaller divided ensembles with multiple designations.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #83
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I've seen a townhouse project in #41, but it looked rather suburban.

This is what Austin could need:


https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...filedesc.7D.7D



Are there any such projects?
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Old April 17th, 2013, 09:55 AM   #84
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You know, I've commented on the fact that we need smaller lots but it just goes over Americans' heads. They see a big square block and they imagine one, two, three, or four buildings at the most. Big fat square buildings, not the long, slender ones they used to build.

The ironic thing is that Austin's most lively parts of downtown are built in the old, traditional way you describe:



But you're mistaken, erbse, in saying that we're not building "urbanity". Almost all of the buildings being built in downtown Austin are vertical mixed-use. VMU = urban. These buildings all will have shops/restaurants in their ground-floor retail. It may not be as diverse as you'd like it to be, but only a few places in America are like that. In other words, Austin is not Germany.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #85
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Yeah, you're right about the building's usability.

But it'd still be nicer if there was more "visible" diversity and urbanity, i.e. smaller lots.

Great picture, that's what I like about some US downtowns! Sadly few of such streets are left in many city centers.


Btw: I wouldn't mind if the buildings were higher. Slender high buildings are great actually and could add a lot to Austin's cityscape.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 12:09 PM   #86
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Erbse you do bring up a good point, as Austin grows it's going to become much denser and urban. Thankfully Austin doesn't razed buildings like Dallas & Houston did.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 05:25 AM   #87
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Great points, by several of you! My (Illinois) hometown, also, has a knack for acquiring huge and often unnecessary tracts of land real estate to develop massive projects that isolate more than interact with the community and surroundings. I suppose the saying ' old habits die hard ' fits the scenario. In fairness to Dallas and Houston, in past decades, few U.S. cities razed MORE of their buildings for ' urban renewal ' than they kept. But, back in the era of the mall craze, that was the fashion and little interest existed for historical preservation.

Most city administrations and developers, back then, were far more interested in razing antiquated structures and urban blight in order to make way for modern, new, structures that would ideally be competitive with (auto-oriented) suburban development. The plan wasn't as successful as many hoped for a number of reasons. Fortunately, the areas where MOST city's trendy ' Warehouse Districts ' of today exist weren't targeted for massive redevelopment. Most of that revitalization movement didn't gain, widespread, popularity in the U.S. until the 1980's.
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Old April 21st, 2013, 04:49 AM   #88
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City announces affiliation with Smithsonian Institution

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By Sam Womack American-Statesman Staff
April 19, 2013

A veritable fairy godmother of priceless historical artifacts will soon be waving a magic wand in Austin’s direction.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department announced on Friday that it has become a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s affiliations program, enabling it to borrow from the Smithsonian’s extensive collections of artifacts and exhibits.

“It’s like getting a giant Christmas present,” said Laura Esparza, manager of the cultural affairs division in the Parks and Recreation Department.

City officials can now work with the Smithsonian to enhance its museums and cultural centers by borrowing from the Washington, D.C.-based institutition, which can also send expert speakers, technical assistance and educational programs to Austin, Esparza said.

“It gives the opportunity to tell even richer stories about Austin history and culture,” she said.
http://www.statesman.com/news/news/l...-instit/nXRjj/
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Old April 24th, 2013, 11:40 PM   #89
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City weighs new rules to steer East Riverside growth





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By Shonda Novak American-Statesman Staff
April, 23, 2013

East Riverside Drive is at a crossroads, its past and future colliding as population growth and housing demand spark new development and significant change along the key east-west road.

The collision can be seen near the corner of Riverside and Arena Drive, where a billboard in the heavily Hispanic area depicts an Anglo man and woman on stand-up paddle boards and touts the future: “Living the good life … Life on the Lake,” it advertises of the South Shore District, where Houston-based Grayco Partners is currently building hundreds of luxury apartments.

In the billboard’s background, much of the past is now gone. Hundreds of old apartments were razed to make way for Grayco’s project, and recently bulldozers scraped a pawn shop and payday loan business in a strip mall behind the billboard where Grayco will bring a new generation of retail.

The contrast underscores the gulf between the city of Austin’s vision for East Riverside and the current reality.

As the East Riverside area has grown, it has mostly been the domain of strip malls, fast-food restaurants and nightclubs, along with apartment complexes housing laborers and students. But in the past few years, the stretch of East Riverside closest to downtown has seen a boom in construction with hundreds of luxury apartments springing up, while new single-family home and condo developments have sprouted farther east along both sides of Riverside.

Aiming to guide the changes, the Austin City Council is considering new zoning rules to steer development along the 3½-mile stretch of Riverside from Interstate 35 to Texas 71. The City Council has tentatively approved the new rules, and it is scheduled to have a final vote on the regulations Thursday.
http://www.statesman.com/news/busine...de-grow/nXT6Y/
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Old April 24th, 2013, 11:44 PM   #90
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Oklahoma-based technology company relocating headquarters to Austin

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By Lori Hawkins American-Statesman Staff
April, 24, 2013

Oklahoma-based Quantum Materials Corp. is relocating to Austin to tap into the area’s emerging nanotech and biotech industries.

The company, which specializes in semiconductor nanocrystals known as quantum dots, is in negotiations for a site for its headquarters and research and development labs, said Art Lamstein, the company’s director of marketing. He declined to disclose the location.

The company considered proposals from Texas, North Carolina and Florida before choosing Austin, officials said.

“We believe that the Austin area is becoming a new center for nanotech and biotech technologies, and we feel that quantum dots are an enabling technology for many of these companies,” Lamstein said. “We foresee being able to partner with them in creating new applications.”
http://www.statesman.com/news/busine...g-headq/nXWyQ/
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Old April 24th, 2013, 11:50 PM   #91
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New tech conference planned for Austin

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By Brian Gaar American-Statesman Staff
April, 23, 2013

A new technology conference aimed at retaining Austin’s high-tech talent was announced Tuesday.

Organizers are launching the Captivate Conference & Expo in the wake of the Game Developers Conference Online moving from Austin to Los Angeles last year. The new event will be held at Palmer Events Center on Oct. 6-8.

But the new conference’s focus won’t just be on video gaming – it will also encompass music, film and education, organizers say.

“This began as an effort by Austin’s games industry leaders to fill a void left by the move of the former GDC Online conference to Los Angeles starting this year,” said the event’s executive director, Jennifer Bullard, who is also chapter chair of the the Independent Game Developers Association, a nonprofit industry advocacy group. “However, while we were at it, we also wanted to expand the focus for long term success by being inclusive of the full range of the technology-driven creative industries and robust indie-startup-entrepreneurial scene that is the hallmark of Austin’s growing global reputation as an innovation center.”

The conference will include keynote speeches and panels by creative industry professionals, as well as workshops and demonstrations of content-making hardware and software.

There will also be a strong entrepreneurial component to help Austin keep tech talent who might have been displaced by the recent rash of layoffs in the gaming industry, Bullard said.
http://www.statesman.com/news/busine...he-fall/nXTnW/
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Old April 25th, 2013, 02:22 AM   #92
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13-story office project breaks ground in downtown Austin



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By Shonda Novak American-Statesman Staff
April, 24, 2013

In the first new office tower to break ground in downtown Austin in more than a decade, construction started Wednesday on the 13-story IBC Bank Plaza, the bank’s president told the American-Statesman exclusively.

The tower at 500 West Fifth St. will house the local headquarters for IBC Bank - Austin and other tenants. It is scheduled to open in spring 2014, bringing about 195,000 square feet of new space to the downtown market, where occupancies and rents have been on the rise amid healthy ongoing demand.

“It’s been a long drought for the central business district, and hopefully this will initiate further development in downtown, said Bob Barnes, president and CEO of IBC Bank-Austin. IBC will be the owner and lead tenant in the building, occupying about 27,000 square feet.

IBC Austin currently occupies about 15,000 square feet in the 816 Congress tower, and will make the move to its new headquarters in late 2014, Barnes said.

“With the rapid growth of the downtown area, we believe IBC Bank Plaza will be an important addition to the city, providing office and retail space in one of the most coveted areas of town,” Barnes said.

Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group is developing the project. It will include retail space, a parking garage and balconies overlooking Republic Park, with Capitol views from upper floors.
http://www.statesman.com/news/busine...wntown-/nXW8d/
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Old April 25th, 2013, 04:41 AM   #93
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Officials break ground on ABIA rental car facility



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April 24, 2013

AUSTIN -- A new rental car facility at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon free up about 900 parking places in the garage right next to the terminal.

City and airport officials along with representatives of several rental car companies, held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning at ABIA’s Parking Lot A.

Currently passengers pick up and drop off rental cars on the third floor of the parking garage. The rental car companies must then drive the cars to a service facility to have them cleaned before returning them to the parking garage,which involves a two-mile round trip.

The new facility will not streamline rental car operations, but will also free up those spaces at the parking garage.

Mark Pfeffer, president of Pfeffer Development ,said he was, "Really excited. I mean, you know, after three years of working on it, it's really nice to be here at this point."

Pfeffer's company was the developer for the new facility.
http://www.kvue.com/news/local/Offic...204572701.html
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Old April 25th, 2013, 05:22 AM   #94
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Fresh photos of Apple's Austin campus show nearly completed first building, new parking garage





http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/...parking-garage
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Old April 26th, 2013, 08:33 AM   #95
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Tower Planned for 70 Rainey Street



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Jude Galligan

Details are emerging for Riverside Resources’ planned multi-use tower at 70 Rainey St. across from the MACC.

The firm, which also developed The Whitley and The Crescent, has filed an administrative site plan application to construct 182 multifamily units, and another 3,600 square feet of ground level restaurant and retail space.

The 70 Rainey development, which encompasses the lots between 66-72 Rainey Street, was pursuing incorporating the City owned 64 Rainey Street into their plan, but the neighboring MACC lobbied City Hall last fall to get the land instead.

Initially, the 70 Rainey development, which would share the same alley used by the Shore Condos, and is being financed through Ft. Worth-based Kelly Capital Partners, was pegged at 31-stories if it could include the 64 Rainey lot.

But until this site plan is approved, and we get some elevations, or something is leaked to the press, we won’t know how many stories this 182-unit project will have.
http://downtownaustinblog.org/
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Old May 2nd, 2013, 04:01 AM   #96
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Proposed project: 3 downtown towers, one up to 65 stories



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BY SHONDA NOVAK
May, 1, 2013

Two Austin developers are proposing a $500 million mixed-use project downtown that — if it happens — would change the skyline with three new towers, including a high-rise with condominiums and hotel rooms that could become Austin’s tallest building.

Mac Pike and Wally Scott, principals in the Sutton Co., a real estate investment and development company, told the American-Statesman they want to build their project — tentatively called Waller Center — on 3 acres near East Cesar Chavez and Red River streets, along the banks of Waller Creek.

Pike and Scott said conceptual drawings of the project they released to the American-Statesman are in the early stages, and said the heights and uses of the buildings could change based on market demand and other variables.

In addition to a condo/hotel tower that could be as tall as 65 stories — the Austonian residential tower at Congress Avenue and Second Streets is currently Austin’s tallest building at 56 stories —Sutton envisions an apartment tower of 35 to 45 stories and an office/retail tower of 17 to 20 stories. Pike said there are no height limitations on the tract, which is zoned for dense downtown development, and said it is not restricted by rules that protect Capitol views.

Pike said he hopes to start work on all three buildings in mid- to late-2014, pending city approvals. He said intends to submit a site plan to the city in the next 90 days
http://www.mystatesman.com/news/busi...atesman_launch
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Old May 3rd, 2013, 08:49 PM   #97
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Old May 4th, 2013, 02:41 AM   #98
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Drainage issues may impact Fairmont Hotel timeline



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May 3, 2013, 7:19am CDT

The developer of the proposed Fairmont Austin Hotel at 101 Red River St. faces an unusual situation.

Manchester Texas Financial Group LLC needs the Austin City Council to approve floodplain variances before it can ramp up construction on the site. However, if those variances are approved, the potential outcome could result in adverse flooding impacts to other properties. That couldn’t be good, right? Well, the situation is complicated because of where it’s located.

The proposed 50-story, 1,000-room hotel is situated in the area that is undergoing a dramatic change due to the construction of the Waller Creek tunnel. The Waller Creek tunnel, a huge underground drainage channel, will take 28 acres of land out of the floodplain and make it ripe for development. It will change the drainage dynamics of projects like the Fairmont.

So, here’s the crux of the situation: If the tunnel was complete — it won’t be finished until late 2014 — there would be no need for the variances. The current site plan would be in compliance with floorplain regulations. But right now, the situation is different and those variances for the short term have some potential unpleasant outcomes, such as flooding of surrounding properties if a huge rain occurs prior to the tunnel’s completion.

The City Council first must set a public hearing on the issue. The suggested date and time for that is 4 p.m. on May 23. Council will vote on the time for the public hearing at its May 9 meeting.

[...]
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Old May 4th, 2013, 02:49 AM   #99
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Early notice of new tower for Austin. Details as they emerge...

Lustre Pearl to be replaced by high-rise project

Quote:
May 3, 2013, 11:37am CDT Updated: May 3, 2013, 2:52pm CDT



Popular Rainey Street bar Lustre Pearl will close and move next spring to make way for a massive retail and residential development that will transform one of Austin’s most vibrant nightlife districts.

The development spearheaded by the Dinerstein Group of Houston will feature 250 apartments with a ground floor restaurant, totaling about 250,000 square feet on more than 2 acres bounded by Rainey and Driskill streets and the southern frontage road of I-35.

Developers have submitted a site plan that is being reviewed by city officials, so exact details are still unknown, but Brian Dinerstein, president of the development firm, said he hopes to break ground by the second quarter of 2014.

“We love the area and we’ve had our eye on that market for some time but it was challenging trying to assemble a tract that was big enough for what we envisioned,” he said. “We’re new urbanists and like less emphasis on traffic and congestion to make a place as vibrant and dynamic as possible.”

Sale of the nine parcels closed in December 2012 and Dinerstein said the development, which will likely be called Millenium Rainey, will be LEED certified at least at the silver level. He said rental rates are still being determined.

[...]
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Old May 4th, 2013, 02:56 AM   #100
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Cirrus, neighborhood group reach accord on HQ expansion


http://austinxl.com/2013/02/21/cirru...porate-campus/

Quote:
May 3, 2013, 5:00am CDT

Cirrus Logic Inc. has reached a preliminary agreement with a neighborhood association on a zoning case that could clear the way for expanding the company’s downtown headquarters.

The Austin-based chipmaker had been sparring with neighborhood groups over plans to add a 150-space parking garage and two floors of office space to its West Avenue building. The expansion could enable the fast-growing company, which owns several adjaent parcels, to fill out the area.

[...]
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