Rent is skyrocketing in the North Loop Neighborhood

burnetmarketplaceFrom Austin Business Journal

It’s no secret that rents are rising along with Austin’s economic prosperity. A report from Apartmentlist.com highlights where those rents are rising the fastest.

Median rent citywide in June was up 3.6 percent compared to the same month in 2015, at $1,200 per month for a one-bedroom unit. The jump was driven by increases in places such as the Zilker, North Burnet, Hancock, North Loop and West Campus neighborhoods.

The North Loop in particular stood out: median rent last month was $1,410, up a whopping 13 percent from June 2015. Go here to explore the data on your own, which was compiled by comparing listings on the company’s website.

North Austin has seen a lot of commercial and residential activity in recent years as a relatively affordable alternative to downtown for those living and working in the city center. The Burnet Road corridor, where rent increased 4.3 percent year over year in June, is one of the hottest development zones in the city.

Downtown remains the priciest neighborhood for renters, with a median monthly cost of $2,130 for a one-bedroom unit. Another horde of Luxury apartments continue to deliver in the urban core, especially in East Austin.

Miller IDS’ Featured July Artist

galveston 1965 adj clean_smallThis month, we’re happy to feature the work of Austin’s renowned artist, illustrator and underground cartoonist, Jim Franklin.

Born in Galveston, Jim studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and moved to New York before returning home to Texas. With other artists and musicians, he opened Austin’s iconic music hall, the Vulcan Gas Company. Gilbert Shelton created the venue’s first posters, then Jim took the job, drawing his first trademark armadillo, which soon evolved into the symbol and virtual folk hero of Texas hipsters. His art appeared regularly in Austin’s underground newspaper, The Rag and his own Armadillo Comics.

Ever creative, Jim is currently focusing on oil paintings, such as our featured “Galveston-1965” of a beach scene in his home town. This and more works may be seen on his website, http://jim-franklin-arts.myshopify.com/

Adding More Heart and Soul to Congress Avenue

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The Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) is leading the effort to transform Congress Avenue into a truly exceptional place – the greatest street in Austin and one of the great streets in the world. Following the Visioning the Avenue Workshop and Report in 2010, the DAA undertook a number of momentum projects to make positive, visible change on the Avenue. The following is a list of project accomplishments: Congress Avenue Banners, Old Bakery Park, Planters, Buses Moved to Guadalupe & Lavaca, Congress Avenue Tree Lighting, Retail Recruitment, Plaza Life, Sidewalk Vending, Holiday Tree at the Capitol and Bike Rack Sculptures. Read more about DAA’s exciting accomplishments and vision.

Marketers – We’ve got you covered!

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Did you know that we provide marketers with full service solutions? From print collateral to signage to event and trade show graphics, we can print directly on a wide variety of surfaces and that means your message will really “WOW” your audience. We offer high quality, quick turnaround, high volume capability. Read all about our marketing capabilities and let us make your message “POP”!

Real estate groups demand CodeNext process get back on track

codenext squareFrom yesterday’s Austin Business Journal

Eight organizations representing Austin real estate and business interests are demanding that the city get back on track with rewriting its land development code dubbed “CodeNext.”

Controversies about delays and budget overrides have surfaced in the past couple of months and one of the original members of the original Code Advisory Group — Melissa Neslund — resigned recently, citing her frustration with the process, which was supposed to be completed in September 2015.

The eight organizations, led by the Real Estate Council of Austin, held a press conference Wednesday urging the city to stop procrastinating and “re-litigating Imagine Austin,” said Cid Galindo, president of non-profit Evolve Austin Partners, in a statement.

Imagine Austin was the comprehensive plan adopted by the city in 2012, and CodeNext would codify the process for developers, businesses and residents to follow. But various outside interests have been calling into question issues that many thought were resolved with the adoption of Imagine Austin.

“It’s been four years since the roadmap for CodeNext was laid out in Imagine Austin, and we’re still without a draft of the code,” RECA President Ward Tisdale said in the statement. “Today the project is two years behind schedule, hundreds of thousands of dollars over budget and in jeopardy of collapsing under its own weight.”

Along with Evolve Austin Partners and RECA, the other organizations calling for immediate resolution to the delays and perceived interference are AURA, previously Austinites for Urban Rail Action, a grassroots organization; Austin Apartment Association; Austin Board of Realtors, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Austin Alliance and Home Builders Association of Greater Austin.

The real estate and business coalition said it expects to see a draft of the CodeNext no later than January 2017, supplemented by the following objectives — some that represent a radical shift from current regulations:

The code should include programs that incentivize the construction of below-market housing. Those programs need to be clear, effective, easily implemented and uniform throughout the city.

The code should provide options for missing mid-range and other more affordable housing options throughout the city with limited or no specific regulations as to quantity, density or lot and unit sizes.

The code should revise current concepts of compatibility to support denser options citywide.

The real life impacts from major code proposals should be measured using the Envision Tomorrow tool [a national and urban planning analysis program] and metrics-based planning tools. The impact of the proposed code must be analyzed before it is finalized.

Miller Salutes Austin Entrepreneurs

Ernst-and-Young-Entrepreneur-of-the-Year-LogoAs our founder was an entrepreneur and so many of our customers are hard working entrepreneurs, we would like to add our kudos to this year’s Austin winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, announced last night:

• Emerging winner: Ally Davidson, co-founder and co-CEO of Camp Gladiator

• Technology Services winner: Christopher Hester, CEO, Kinnser Software

• Real Estate, Construction and Infrastructure winner: Greg Henry, founder, Aspen Heights

• Transformational winner: Mark Watson, president and CEO, Argo Group International Holdings

• Emerging winner: Amy Porter, founder and CEO, AffiniPay LLC

• Technology winners: Hank Seale, founder and chairman; and Matt Flake, president and CEO, Q2 Software

Full story in today’s Austin Business Journal>>>

Where do You Stand on Standing Desks?

Standing_desk_From the HellaWella blog:

We’re huge fans of standing desks. They help give your circulatory system a break from being sedentary for hours on end, and they may even help sharpen your focus. If you’re still on the fence, then check this out.

An innovative wearable technology for standing desks that creates a new way of interacting with your computer could reduce cyber-slacking and increase healthy movement.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science are hoping to make computing a bit more fun and physically active all while helping computer users kick lazy habits by introducing a foot interaction method for computer users with a standing desk.

Professor Daniel Vogel presented Tap-Kick-Click: Foot Interaction for a Standing Desk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Designing Interactive Systems 2016 in Brisbane, Australia this week.

The idea behind the research project, conducted with master’s student William Saunders, is that computer users at standing desks can increase their physical activity through indirect, discreet two-foot movements that include a combination of kicks, foot taps, jumps and standing postures that are tracked using a depth camera and instrumented shoes.

In addition to increasing physical activity while standing, these techniques use foot input as a cyber-slacking deterrent by requiring the user to stand in a mildly uncomfortable position, such as a lunge, while viewing social networking websites or other distracting content. When the user changes from that position, the distracting content locks again.

“People already use a standing desk to be healthier and more productive. Increasing physical activity by using your feet to enter commands is our main focus, but the anti-cyberslacking pose is something that really pushes the whole idea farther,” said Vogel. “Some people already install software to completely block sites like Facebook when they want to get work done. Our technique lets people use those sites, but since they need to stand in an uncomfortable pose while viewing them, they’re naturally encouraged to keep it brief.”

The researchers demonstrate the Tap-Kick-Click technique with a web browser, document reader and a code debugger, but the system can be paired with almost any desktop application. An on-screen guide helps the user remember and perform associated foot actions while taking a break from working with their hands.

“There’s plenty of research showing that using feet to type or move a cursor isn’t a very good idea. We demonstrate that with the right style of interaction, feet are a good fit for slower tasks with intermittent input. Things like scrolling a webpage while reading or interactive code debugging,” said Vogel. “We hope our system can make computing more physically active and maybe even a bit more fun.”

Additional information and video>>>

Inspiration from a Bad Cup of Coffee

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Pictured from left: Justin Espinosa: Miller IDS, Graphic Designer; Brent Armstrong: Texas Coffee Traders, Client Growth Specialist; Nik Sauer, Miller IDS, Production Manager (Metric Store); pictured at Texas Coffee Traders’ Airport Hilton location.

The genesis of Texas Coffee Traders was simple; R.C. Beall drank a good cup of coffee, then a very, very bad cup of coffee and wondered how they could be so different.

A Montana forestry ranger originally from Houston, R.C. bought an old roasting machine complete with five bags of green coffee beans he found in a barn and started experimenting. He decided this could be a business and started Montana Coffee Traders in 1981, eventually growing it into the sustainable business and community hub he had envisioned.

But Texas was calling him home, so he returned, reconnected with and married Beth and then together they founded Texas Coffee Traders in an old Austin warehouse on East 4th in 1994. They had the same goal of roasting and serving fresh, high quality Fair Trade coffee in a TxCoffeeTraders_In-StoreSignage_600wrelaxed, friendly neighborhood place, becoming an integral part of the Austin community and giving back to that community.

According to Beth Beall, it is that same sensibility and community involvement that first drew them to Miller IDS. In her words, “they get us”! Beth says they generally come to Miller with a vague concept and Miller takes that concept to a whole new level, realized in visual collateral such as banners, signage TxCoffeeTraders_600wand adhesives that underscore Texas Coffee Traders’ solid reputation and credibility, but allow their unique, self-described “quirkiness” to shine through.

We are big fans and hope to see you there! If you can’t make it by, you can purchase their excellent coffee in their online shop at texascoffeetraders.com

Miller IDS’ Featured June Artist

hummingbirds and flowers print 9x12 110_smallTo celebrate June, we are featuring the bright and beautiful artwork of Melissa Knight. Melissa works with batik, a centuries-old wax-dye resist process traditionally used to make designs/patterns on fabric.

Melissa dabbled part-time for years in multiple media, seeking a creative outlet but had never considered making art full time. However, when their child was born almost seven years ago, Melissa’s full-time artist husband, Ethan Azarian, encouraged her to quit her job and take the time to fully develop the batik work she had been trying. She creates collage designs, preferring this style to the more traditional batik design, enjoying the surprises of batik; the crackles and the layers of colors that emerge in the wax-dye process. When inclusion in the Blue Genie Art Bazaar last year required more pieces, Melissa began working with Miller IDS to scan and print her batiks and the prints have proved quite popular, as they reproduce the textures and layers of the art. Inspired by the seasons, much of her work, such as the featured “Hummingbirds and Flowers”, includes local flora and fauna.

Melissa’s batiks may be seen on her website or currently at Mockingbird Domestics. Melissa also participates in the annual East Austin Studio Tour at her home studio Blue Cow Studio.

 

Booming Riverside Drive comes up short on retail

mapFrom today’s Austin Business Journal:

The rapidly gentrifying East Riverside Drive corridor presents tenants and homebuyers with a plethora of new housing options but the neighborhood has a significant drawback. There isn’t nearly enough retail to serve the mushrooming population.

Commercial real estate broker Jim Young, principal of Longbow Real Estate Group, has been studying the corridor on behalf of several clients and posted a blog on his website about the retail gap and potential investment opportunities.

Based on data culled from ESRI, a research company that is utilized by the Certified Commercial Investment Members professional organization to which Young belongs, the area shown in the accompanying map currently supports $284 million dollars of retail activity annually. The map shows the area within a five-minute drive of 2015 E. Riverside Drive, a retail strip center where Emo’s music venue is located and near the center of the development activity.

But the capacity of retailers within those parameters is only $191 million annually.

“When there is an unmet need, we call it a retail gap because money is leaking out of the trade area,” Young said. That gap is certain to grow, he added.

Hundreds of luxury apartments have opened in the past two years and single-family home communities also have delivered.

Standard Pacific Homes is underway with an infill community dubbed “Park East,” near East Riverside and Montopolis drives.

Young’s client Presidium Group is developing more than 400 apartments at 1600 Pleasant Valley Road.

Nearby, the biggest game changer in recent history will occur when Oracle Corp. builds its 560,000-square-foot campus on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake just west of Pleasant Valley Drive. Some 1,000 employees are expected to be based there, and Oracle purchased an adjacent apartment building with the expectation of providing workforce housing.

Though an HEB Plus Grocery Co. store serves the area, the rest of the retail offerings tend toward fast food restaurants and smaller service providers. The need for more retail development is larger than expected, Young said.

“I’m really surprised by this gap, but East Riverside has changed so dramatically in the last five years both in population and resident income,” he said. “Clearly there’s a new income demographic for the area and it makes sense in hindsight that the retail gap is so large. Someone much smarter than me once said, ‘Retail follows rooftops.'”

Young said he hopes shedding light on the scarcity of retail in an area, which previously was a bulwark of student housing and lower-income households, will lead to more stores and restaurants.

“My hope is that retail and mixed-use developers with creative vision will look deeper at East Riverside Drive as an area to bring some major projects to Austin,” Young said. More information>>>