The company that manages most of the retail space in the Second Street District downtown says it expects to reach a high water mark this year. AMLI Residential says 80 percent of the square footage is currently rented, and that should grow to 92 percent "by the end of the second quarter," according to AMLI retail manager Carrie Holt.
"It's fabulous," Holt told KUT News. "Just having the W Hotel open, residents starting to move in, the Moody Theater opening, the Violet Crown cinema opening in April, there's just a lot of excitement, a lot of activity, and people are reenergized around here," she said.
Holt said they are in "advanced negotiations" for the following businesses to move in early in 2011.
- Prize, a luxury gift store run by Austin retailer Lisa Bagby
- Austin's Pizza, a location that will be open late
- MacWorks, an Apple retailer
- Teddies for Bettys , a woman's lingerie store
The owner of Milk and Honey Spa, which opened on Second Street five years ago this month, told KUT News that business has been particularly brisk this winter.
"The last three months have been some of our strongest months," Shon Bayer said. "Second Street is starting to fill out. Some stronger retailers are operating there. I think there's also a ton of buzz about everything that's going on down there."
Bayer says getting rid of the scaffolding around the W Hotel and opening up the sidewalks has made the area more inviting to potential shoppers.
"[The scaffolding] had really cut off the west end of Second Street District from the east end of it," he said.
The Second Street District is a mixed-use redevelopment project that opened six years ago. It largely a product of Austin City's Council's efforts in the early 2000s to encourage downtown retail and revitalize what had become a "blighted" area of abandoned warehouses, according to a history of the Second Street District on the City of Austin's website.