Development

urban development
7:26 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Austin Considers Measure Aimed at Lowering Cost of Tiny Apartments

Removing off-street parking requirements for apartments under 500 square feet could make them more affordable, advocates say.
https://flic.kr/p/4sG5xG

The City of Austin could remove off-street parking space requirements for developers who build some apartments smaller than 500 square feet – dwellings known as "micro-units." Advocates say it could encourage development of the micro-units along public transit corridors.

"We're talking about 300- or 400-square-foot apartments. Is there a market for that? In some cities, it looks like there has been," Council Member Bill Spelman said Tuesday during a council work session. "This is another way of simply reducing the cost. The whole thing is really about affordable housing." 

City code requires most residential developments to have at least one off-street parking space per unit. Council removed most of those requirements for downtown businesses last year. 

Read more
Waller Creek Tunnel
1:47 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Once Neglected, Waller Creek Will Now Remake Downtown Austin (VIDEO)

Developers have tried to capitalize on the parts of Waller Creek stretching through Downtown – with mixed results. But a tunnel project is pulling the area out of the floodplain, radically remaking the urban creek.
flickr.com/ginapina

From StateImpact Texas:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Waterloo Park, just east of the State Capitol, is a perfect example. There used to be houses there. But then in the 1970s, recalls former city council staffer and Waller Creek Conservancy executive director Stephanie Lee McDonald, “there was a lot of urban renewal efforts and the neighborhood was razed and the park was created.”

According to newspaper articles at the time, there were big redevelopment plans for the area, which sits along Waller Creek. There were even hopes that the space could become Austin’s very own version of the famed San Antonio River Walk. Of course, things didn’t really work out that way.

Read more
Development
4:58 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Colony Park: Can Austin Transform a Community Without Displacing it?

Residents in Colony Park expressed concern over the weekend about the possible gentrification of the neighborhood as the city develops the area.
Carrie Powell for KUT News

A new master plan for the Colony Park neighborhood will use a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in an effort to revitalize the area. The project resembles the planning of Mueller in scope and ambition, but some residents are concerned the project might eventually displace them.

At a Saturday community engagement meeting, residents in the Colony Park area said they were concerned the city might move on to implementation of the plan without their approval.

Read more
Texas
8:46 am
Fri September 13, 2013

This Map Carves the U.S. Into Seven Nations - And Splits Texas Three Ways

Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill, Forbes Magazine

"America is not a single country. It is a collection of seven competitive nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems.”

So writes geographer and futurist Joel Kotkin for Forbes Magazine.  In his new map of America’s future, entitled America’s Next Decade, Kotkin sees not only the outlines of a remarkably robust nation running from south Texas to western Florida, but also the emergence of Americas next major "global city" - right here in Texas. 

Read more
Austin
2:13 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Austin: One of the Snobbiest Cities in the U.S.?

The Driskill Hotel and its "grand dame charm" was one reason Austin was ranked as one of the top 20 "snobbiest" cities in the United States.
flickr.com/jeffgunn

Sure, Austin's got idiosyncrasies, which is a nice way of saying Austinites are "weird."

But, according to a survey from Travel & Leisure, Austinites have also earned another, less flattering, label: Snobby. 

Read more
Austin
5:48 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Looks to Reinvigorate Austin's 'Brand'

Members of the Austin Chamber of Commerce met on June 6 to discuss the city's future.
Luke Quinton, KUT News

Is Austin's "brand" being diluted? 

The Austin Chamber of Commerce had a round-table discussion today that asked exactly that. The consensus was upbeat, but Jack McDonald, CEO of Silverback Enterprise Group, said a lack of affordable housing will be a more serious concern this decade ahead.

Read more
Austin
1:27 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Council Looks to Continue 'Greening' East Austin Alleys

East Austin alleys could see more efforts to develop underutilized alleys.
Courtesy of the City of Austin

The University of Texas and the city are looking to change the way we use alleys in Austin, by possibly adding affordable housing in some Austin alleyways. 

Today, the Austin City Council approved an $18,000 grant to fund the Green Alley Demonstration Project, which could also add other amenities to spruce up alleys in the East Austin Guadalupe neighborhood.

Read more
Austin
6:40 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Possible Rainey Development Could Deal 'Death Stroke' to Neighborhood

Austin activists gathered to protest possible construction of a high-rise in the Rainey Street district near the Mexican American Cultural Center.
Roy Varney for KUT News

East Austin activists gathered today at the Mexican American Cultural Center to protest development of the historic Rainey Street District.

Members from Hispanic Advocates Business Leaders of Austin (HABLA) say a proposed high-rise tower would overshadow the neighborhood that's seen its share of attention from developers looking to break into the budding entertainment district.

Read more
Austin
11:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Has the Austin Backlash Begun?

An ACL fest goer in 2012. Michael Corcoran compares Austin growth to a popular nightclub: “Next thing you know it’s so crowded that it’s not fun anymore.”
Tamir Kalifa for KUT News

Has the afterglow worn off?

The doting South by Southwest masses have slinked back to Williamsburg and Echo Park, doubtless telling tales about this “locals only” barbecue joint called The Salt Lick. But as they stumble out of their Austin-induced atrophy, some might ask the harsh question: Is Austin really that great?

Read more
Austin City Council
11:17 am
Fri March 29, 2013

What’s Next After Austin Repealed its Project Duration Ordinance?

Construction cranes in downtown Austin. While the City Council voted to repeal the Project Duration Ordianance, the city will work quickly on a replacement.
flickr.com/joeyparsons

The Austin City Council voted 5-2 last night to repeal the city’s Project Duration Ordinance, rules limiting how long a development can remain “grandfathered” under land-use rules in place at the time of the project’s conception.

In contrast to last week’s hearing, which featured hours of citizen testimony, public input was closed this time. The council discussion lasted just 15 minutes. Council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo voted no.

Read more
2013 Legislature
2:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Senate Moves to Block Capitol Complex Developments

The State Senate will soon vote on a bill that would require developers wishing to build in the Capitol Complex to submit a bill in the legislature to gain approval.
Liang Shi, KUT News

UPDATE (4/4/13): Senate Bill 507 by State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) passed the Senate unanimously today.

The bill would limit public private partnerships, or P3’s, in the area around the Capitol grounds.  The bill is closely related to SB 894 by State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston).

Last month Watson even likened his bill to a failsafe for Whitmire’s initial bill in a committee hearing last month. 

Read more
Waller Creek
4:40 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Photos: Waller Creek Tunnel Project at Waterloo Park

The tunnel will feature a 30 foot deep pool to serve as a "shock absorber" for floodwaters.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

City officials say they're making progress on the Waller Creek Tunnel Project.

Construction crews at Waterloo Park have wrapped up excavating the tunnel and are moving on to building a treatment plant that will help filter floodwaters.

Read more
Austin City Council
6:20 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Council Delays Vote on Project Duration Ordinance (Update)

At a press conference on Wednesday, Save Our Springs Alliance director Bill Bunch said repealing expirations could harm Austin.
KUT News

Update: The Austin City Council decided to delay their vote Thursday night, citing concerns that they did not have enough information.

City staff will return next week with a sampling of how many properties repealing the Project Duration Ordinance would affect. Mayor Lee Leffingwell was the only council member against the delay last night.

Original Story (March 20, 7:22 p.m.): Permits for building projects may lose their expiration dates, depending on a vote at Thursday’s City Council Meeting.

Read more
City Hall Hustle
5:06 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

City Hall Hustle: Luxury Hotels, Affordable Housing & the Zoning Brawl Over Downtown Density

How (or whether) to capture public benefit from increased zoning density Downtown is consuming the council's attention.
flickr.com/dingatx

The City Council adopted the Downtown Austin Plan in late 2011. With it, the council OK’d what’s called the Downtown Density Bonus Program. It basically says that developers who want to build more densely than the standards allow would have to offer certain community benefits: things like on-site affordable housing or a paying into a fund for affordable housing elsewhere.

But nearly a year and a half later, Austin’s still waiting on specific guidelines for the Density Bonus Program.

Read more
Austin
4:35 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

SXSW Transplants: Coming for the Tech, Staying for the Weird

A couple SXSW participants relax outside the Austin Convention Center. SXSW Interactive registration skyrocketed again this year.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Another South by Southwest has come and gone – and in its wake comes the inevitable cry from some local natives: “Don’t move here.”

Pulling up the drawbridge on SXSW visitors isn’t anything new: back in 1997, one local band minted t-shirts telling folks they could go back home when the music’s over. But as SXSW Interactive continues its explosive growth – with a 25 percent surge this year and over 30,000 attendees – it attracts a different set of attendees than music-loving spring breakers. And some of those attendees may not be going back.

Read more

Pages