Hundreds of affordable houses, new commercial projects set for Southeast Austin

mapFrom the Austin Business Journal:

Hundreds of new affordable housing options and more space for commercial projects are on the drawing board for Austin now that City Council has taken the final step to approve a new zoning designation for an undeveloped area of Southeast Austin.

The developer, Brookfield Residential, received final approval of its Planned Unit Development zoning at the Dec. 17 City Council meeting (the one where ride-hailing was debated into the early morning.) The new zoning allows the site to be developed with as many as 14,300 dwelling units and up to 4.6 million square feet of civic or commercial space, as well as 400 acres for parks and open space. Additionally, 200 acres are set aside to develop a mixed-use town center area.

The developer has committed to setting aside 10 percent of the owner-occupied homes to be affordable for a family making 80 percent of the median family income and set aside another 10 percent of the owner-occupied rental units over the next 40 years to be affordable for a family making 60 percent of the median family income.

The city has been working to get Pilot Knob developed for years now. Back in 2011, Austin City Council created the Municipal Utility District for the area to help raise funds for utility connections to the site.

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On the market: Windy Point Park and a whole lot of memories

Windy pointFrom today’s Austin Business Journal:

A prime piece of Austin real estate is on the market — complete with colorful history, azure blue views and some of the best scuba diving access in these parts.

Windy Point Park is almost 12 acres on the shores of Lake Travis near Hippie Hollow — the nudists’ beach — and upwind from the Oasis development, where sipping cocktails on the terrace at sunset is a not-to-be-missed experience. Windy Point Park isn’t to be confused with the county’s beach-like Bob Wentz Park at Windy Point, though they are next to each other.

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Amazon Prime Begins Austin Eats Delivery

miller amazonFrom Eater Austin:

Amazon is joining the food delivery waters in Austin today by testing out Prime Now in Austin starting today. Only 15 Austin zip codes will be able to place orders, with more added soon. Participating restaurants include Terry Black’s Barbecue, Chi’lantro, Taco Flats, and Michi Ramen. The full list follows below.

Through the app, only members of the service ($99 a year) can order food from the city’s restaurants and food trucks, delivered in an hour. First-time meals are $10 off with the discount code.

Amazon announced last month that it would expand Prime Now to new cities after trying out the delivery service in New York and Seattle. Prime joins the crowded delivery scene in Austin, including UberEats, Favor, and PostMates.

100 Pizzitas

416 Bar & Grille

aRoma Italian Kitchen & Bar

Arpeggio Grill

ATX Boudain Hut

Austin Daily Press

Austin’s Habibi

Bacon

Barlata Tapas Bar

Benji’s Cantina

Billie Jean’s Burger Pub

Bombay Dhaba

Boteco ATX

Cazamance

Chi’Lantro

Chinatown

Clay Pit

Conscious Cravings

Cool Beans

Daily Juice Cafe

Delicious Thai

Dock & Roll Diner

Emerald Tavern Games & Cafe

Fat Sal’s Deli

Gus’s World Famous Friend Chicken

Heros Gyros

Il Forte

J. Black’s Feel Good Kitchen & Lounge

Juice Austin

Kesos Taco House

La Cocina de Consuelo

Llama’s Peruvian Creole

Mama V’s Quezzadillaville

Michi Ramen

Monkey Nest Coffee

Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill

NO VA Kitchen & Bar

PhoNatic

Pie Plante

Rebel Pizza Bar

Republic of Sandwich

Rollin Smoke Barbecue

Royal Jelly

Saffron

Sagra

Sala & Betty

Shawarma Point

Slake Cafe

Snap Kitchen

Southside Flying Pizza

Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop

Taco Flats

Tamale House East

Tea Haus

Terry Black’s Barbecue

The Backspace

The Halal Bros

Thistle Cafe

Way South Philly

Xian Sushi and Noodle

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Urban Land Institute reveals finalists for development awards

Miller ULIFrom today’s Austin Business Journal:

The Urban Land Institute’s Austin District Council is gearing up for its annual awards program with a list of contenders for three development awards and the announcement that the second Vision Award will be given to Alan Graham, founder of Mobile Loaves & Fishes nonprofit and the developer of the unconventional Community First mixed-use project aimed specifically for the homeless.

This year’s ULI awards program is Jan. 13 at the new Hotel Van Zandt, 605 Davis St. Click on the photo with this article to see a slideshow of the finalists for the Innovation, Influence and Public Places awards.

The Innovation Award honors a project for innovative land use or community planning. The finalists are the 816 Congress Terrace, a rooftop garden and public space; 2400 Nueces, a student housing project in the West Campus area of the University of Texas; Denizen condominiums in South Austin; and Lamar Union, the mixed-use redevelopment of a premium site southwest of Downtown Austin.

The Influence Award honors a project for having a lasting effect on the built environment. The finalists are Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas South Tower at Mueller; Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas, the teaching hospital built alongside the new Dell Medical School; the redevelopment of the Seaholm Power Plant; and the new JW Marriott hotel downtown.

The Public Places Award honors a project for enhancing space for community use. The finalists are the Austin Independent School District’s Performing Arts Center at Mueller; Auditorium Shores, the public park facility on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake; the pedestrian renovations at The Domain master planned community in North Austin; and The Thinkery, the new children’s museum at Mueller.

The winners of each category will be announced at the January event along with a presentation honoring Graham’s achievements.

Read more and see slideshow>>>

Five New HP Designjet Printers in the House!

Five new HP Designjet printers are now available through Miller Imaging & Digital Solutions including the most affordable, compact and transportable 36-inch color printer (T730) and multi function printer (T830) in the HP product line.

Three other new HP Designjet printers (T930, T1530 and T2530MFP) help AEC professionals reach new levels of quality, ease of use, mobility and collaboration.

For more information, visit our New Arrivals page on our website or contact Webb Fox at 512.381.5272 or webb.fox@millerids.com

Austin’s Creative industry growth loses ground to other cities, report says

Miller greetings-from-austin-texasFrom the Austin Business Journal:

Austin appears to be losing traction in growth of its creative industries to other U.S. metros, according to the latest report by renowned researcher Richard Florida.

In “The Winners and Losers of the U.S. Creative Class” article released Monday in The Atlantic CityLab blog, Florida notes that the percentage of workers employed in the creative industries dropped slightly in Austin in 2014 as a share of total workforce compared to 2000.

Places such as Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Portland, Salt Lake City and Baltimore saw the most rapid growth in the creative sector during that time perios, even if that percentage is still small relatively speaking.

In 2000, Austin rated No. 5 among largest metro areas for creative industry employees — 35 percent of the total economy. That number dropped to 34.1 percent in 2014 — a small amount but a large contrast to other places, even in the Rust Belt, which are attracting creative workforce with greater velocity.

Austin Business Journal previously wrote about the exodus of the creative class from Austin’s urban core— due in large part to the lack of affordable housing.

In Florida’s study, Austin now ranks No. 10 for creative industry employment. Raleigh, North Carolina, also has experienced a loss of creative class momentum in the past 14 years — down 4.3 percent compared to Austin’s 2.8 percent loss.

Texas overall did not fare well in the study. Houston, Dallas and San Antonio joined Austin for slowest growth in the creative work sector. Other also rans were Birmingham, Alabama; Orlando, Florida; New York; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

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Pedestrian mall, new buildings planned for area north of Capitol

capitol2014 600xx2500-1667-0-1From the Austin American-Statesman:

A long-envisioned pedestrian mall — along with a pair of new office buildings — is being planned for the area immediately north of the Capitol.

Back in the 1940 and 1950s, planners in state government imagined a tree-lined civic space among state office buildings that frame Congress Avenue in the blocks north of the center of state government. Now, officials with the Texas Facilities Commission are incorporating the decades-old vision in a master plan for the Capitol complex that runs generally from Trinity to Lavaca streets and from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to 10th Street.

The first of three phases of the concept is slated to include three blocks of a walkable mall and two new state office buildings — along with nearly 4,500 new and much-needed parking spaces in five subterranean levels — to be completed by 2020 at a cost of $580 million.

State Sen. Kevin Eltife, a retiring Republican from Tyler, has worked on plans for the Capitol complex for the past four legislative sessions. In 2013, then-Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a concept that included two new office buildings because he wanted a full master plan to be created first.

Taking Perry’s cue, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick dispatched Eltife before this year’s session to make sure the broad vision was put onto paper. And by the session’s end, a master plan was underway, and the Legislature had approved money for the first of three phases that included the pedestrian mall and the two new buildings.

“It’s an expansion of the Capitol complex that is long overdue,” Eltife told the American-Statesman.

One of the proposed buildings would go up on a parking lot across the street from the Bullock Texas State History Museum on the east side of Congress Avenue, and the other would be built closer to the Capitol, between West 15th and West 16th Streets.

The buildings would create about 1 million square feet of new office space in the Capitol complex and would drastically decrease the state’s annual lease payments on about 1.2 million square feet of leased office space in the downtown area. The new buildings will be capable of holding 3,600 employees, and, upon completion in 2020, the state would be able to retire up to 18 leases totaling $19.9 million annually, said Peter Maass, deputy executive director of the facilities commission.

Eltife added that the construction will be financed by non-voter approved bonds, and the money the state saves on rent will be redirected to cover the debt service.

Like home ownership, the state will be creating equity in the buildings and improvements, and it will own the new structures outright without any bond indebtedness after 25 years, Eltife said.

“We want to continue to create and build something that matches the incredible Capitol complex we already have,” he said.

The first phase still needs to be approved by officials with the General Land Office, the Texas Preservation Board and the Texas Facilities Commission.

Molly Alexander, associate director of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said she appreciates the vision for the area north of the Capitol.

Alexander and members of the alliance, a partnership of downtown property owners, individuals and businesses dedicated to maintaining the vitality of downtown, have been encouraged that state planners put so much thought into connecting the Capitol grounds with the rest of the city, including Waller Creek, the University of Texas’ new Dell Medical School and the UT campus.

“I was really impressed. I think it was extremely aspirational,” said Alexander, who added that she knew of no opposition to the Capitol plan. “I believe this is legacy building.”

State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said that the state has an opportunity to make the area around the Capitol “as inviting as the statehouse itself.”

Officials expect final approval in March, and they hope to break ground in 2017.

The second phase, which would be several years away, could include two more buildings and even more space on the proposed mall, and the final phase could involve even more office buildings and additional green space.

Decisions on the latter phases will be made later.

“The master plan lays out a vision for transforming state properties in a way that will make all Texans proud while also supporting the functions of state government in a cost-effective manner,” Watson said.

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Austin developer turns dirt for another hotel

Miller residenceFrom today’s Austin Business Journal:

The hotel is scheduled to open in October 2016 and will be operated by Pathfinder, which also owns and manages a Holiday Inn Express in Northwest Austin.

Founded in 2005 by Chirag Patel and Rahul Bahl, Pathfinder Development also manages hotels in Texas that are owned by other parties.

The new Residence Inn will be in an area underserved by retail and hospitality providers. The amenities will include a resort-style pool with fire pit under centuries old oak trees and technology-heavy meeting space.

“We tweaked the typical Residence Inn design through use of local exterior materials to be more representative to the area,” Patel said.

ERN Architects in Dallas designed the facility. DCA Construction in Austin is the general contractor.

Washington Federal, a bank headquartered in Seattle, provided construction financing.

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Big Red Dog to Leverage Growth for Expansion

Big_red_dog[1]From the Austin Business Journal:

Big Red Dog to leverage retail, single-family growth for San Antonio expansion

Big Red Dog’s San Antonio office is ready to wrap up its busiest year yet, but plans for 2016 have the engineering firm piggybacking off the city’s growth spurt for even more growth of its own.

The Austin-based firm, which has its name on projects such as the Peanut Loft Factories, the Rivera at 1130 Broadway, Sunglo Townhomes, 120 Ninth Street and the new Vantage Community at Brooks City Base, is taking steps to maintain its multifamily focused portfolio of projects but is looking to grow into new markets, particularly retail and single family.

Big Red Dog’s local Vice President, Russell Yeager, said that while multifamily will still hold a large piece of San Antonio’s development market, single-family activity will begin to tick upward, especially since most developers haven’t been able to keep up with the growing demand. However, retail has the potential to be the sweet spot for Big Red Dog, and is something the firm is ready to capitalize on as it moves into 2016.

“Retail is really starting to push into both new and redeveloping neighborhoods, so we see that as a big part of the picture next year,” Yeager said of the firm’s growth plans, adding that he is still expecting about 25 percent to 30 percent growth in the private-land development sector.

In addition to entering new areas here, Big Red Dog is also planning on pulling some of the growth in mechanical, electrical and plumbing services from its Austin office down to San Antonio.

Outside of Big Red Dog’s office, however, the biggest issues in the regional development community are expected to surround affordability — especially considering increasing construction prices and residential demand — as well as annexation and urban revitalization, Yeager said.

Revenue aside, the firm is expected to continue to pursue clients and projects that push the envelope for San Antonio development, and Yeager said the firm will continue to build up its staff in both the San Antonio and statewide offices.

“We think if we can do those things, the revenue side will take care of itself,” he said of Big Red Dog’s plans, which will also include building up footprints in other markets and more disciplines.

And they’re already getting started.

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