Development

Austin
4:52 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

City Previews Pitfalls Before Development Plan Rewrite

The new land development code will impact Austin's urban growth for years to come and city planners talked to four national city planners to make certain their plan won't fall flat.
KUT News

Nationally recognized city planners descended on Austin today with a bit of advice for the city as it begins to retool its land development code: Don’t screw it up. 

Planning experts from Raleigh, N.C; Madison, WI; Denver, CO; and Dallas briefed members of the Land Development Code Advisory Board in preparation for their first meeting on Tuesday, when they'll begin  to rewrite the code for the first time since 1984. They emphasized that the city needs to get the code right, or prepare for perpetual litigation and complications that come with a sloppy development code.

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Austin
8:50 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Meeting Tonight to Help Plot Future of Holly Power Plant

Decommisioning continues inside the Holly Power Plant. The city is looking for community input on what to do with the area.
courtesy Austin Energy

City officials are looking for the public's help in deciding what to do with the land around the Holly Power Plant in East Austin, which is scheduled to be fully decommissioned by later this year.

Currently, plans have designated the 9.3 acres of surrounding land to be handed over to the Austin Parks & Recreation Department for development into a park.

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Austin
11:14 am
Fri February 15, 2013

South Austin Neighbors Invited to Discuss Development

A meeting tomorrow will bring together neighbors for feedback on the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan.
flickr.com/austintexasgov

"Imagine Austin" is closer to becoming a reality.

Last June, the Austin City Council passed the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, which will guide city development for the next thirty years. The plan is to make Austin more connected and compact.

Now, people who live in South Austin are invited to weigh-in on how the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan is implemented.

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Austin
5:30 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Seaholm Substation Cleanup Complete

A decontamination crew removed 32,000 tons of soil.
INTERA

Arsenic, lead and the byproducts of burned oil were some of the contaminants found underneath an electrical substation at the Seaholm power plant downtown.

The land will eventually be home to Austin’s new central library. Those contaminants have now been removed and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued its seal of approval.

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City Hall Hustle
4:11 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

City Hall Hustle: The State of the City, Now and Next Election

Mayor Lee Leffingwell, delivering his 2013 State of the City address at a Real Estate Council of Austin luncheon this week.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Hustle on the "State of the City"

There’s no City Council meeting this week: Instead, City Hall watchers’ eyes were on Mayor Lee Leffingwell’s 2013 State of the City address, delivered at a Real Estate Council of Austin luncheon on Tuesday.

Owing in part to Austin’s good fortunes, the mayor’s speech is traditionally a rosy affair, full of economic achievements. And that was the case this time:  “Austin, Texas is today, I think without question, one of the most widely admired and most emulated cities in America,” said Leffingwell in one of the speech’s many paeans to the city.

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Downtown
4:22 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Planning Commission to Discuss Rainey Street Development

Lustre Pearl, one of the first bars to open on Rainey Street. A proposal would require new bar to apply for a conditional use permit before opening.
flickr.com/honeyroastd

In the past few years, once quaint and quiet Rainey Street has become a haven for the hip, with businesses ubiquitously flipping the neighborhood's historic bungalows into bars.

Tonight, the City of Austin Planning Commission will discuss two possible changes along Rainey Street: one that would encourage the relocation of historic homes, and another measure that would require new bars to seek permits, including public hearings.

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Austin
4:20 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Austin Tied for Highest Rate of Household Growth in the U.S.

Austin's expected to garner 50,000 more households in the next five years alone.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin usually ranks against cosmopolitan destinations in the numerous lists it’s named in. But try this one on for size: Provo, Utah.

The metro areas of Austin and Provo lead the nation in expected household growth, according to a new study based on U.S. Census data. The projection is for Austin to grow by 7.4 percent, adding 50,000 households over the next five years.

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Waller Creek
4:44 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

Video: Inside Downtown Austin’s Waller Creek Tunnel

City staffers lead media on a tour through the Waller Creek tunnel this May.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

In May, the City of Austin invited members of the news media into the Waller Creek tunnel.

Meeting at the construction site at Fourth Street and I-35, reporters traveled down a 26-foot wide shaft, in a metal box lowered by a construction crane. At the time, some 1,300 feet had been excavated. When we checked back in in September, over 3,200 square feet had been excavated.

Above ground, the tunnel is designed to keep flood-prone Waller Creek in its banks. And just what to do with the acres of land pulled out of the flood plain is a hot topic: in October, a design team was named to plot the transformation of the Waller Creek area.

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Education
7:13 am
Tue November 13, 2012

UT System May Construct $100 Million Austin Office

A view towards downtown Austin from the UT Tower.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The University of Texas System Board of Regents will meet in Tyler this week and consider, among many things, whether to approve the construction of a system office building in downtown Austin that is projected to cost $102,417,000.

The UT System's downtown Austin offices are currently spread across five aging buildings — the oldest has been around for more than 130 years — with mounting maintenance costs. Officials determined that a change was in order. They decided that the best option would be to construct a 16-story building comprising 258,500 square feet of office space and garage capacity for more than 650 vehicles in a spot — close to the state Capitol and the University of Texas at Austin — where two of their current buildings sit.

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City Council
10:00 am
Thu November 1, 2012

City Council Preview: Cab Permits, Cheer Up Charlies and the Future of East Riverside

The City Hall "stinger" points toward a workmanlike council meeting today.
flickr.com/diorama_sky

The Austin City Council convenes to a relatively small agenda today: a total of 63 items, counting the agenda addendum.

If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu, it’s no Halloween hangover: this meeting’s high profile items cover some well-tread ground. Let’s take a look.

More Taxi Trouble: Items 27 and 28 comprise the third and final reading of additional taxi permits for Lone Star Cab (20 permits) and Austin Cab (10 permits). As KUT News previously reported, the Taxi Drivers Association of Austin is opposing the new permits. They cite a city report stating the since a first round of additional permits were issued this spring, cab drivers are taking home less pay. Still, with Formula 1 on the horizon, the council feels some pressure to increase the number of cabs on Austin roads. It’s that rock-and-a-hard-place situation – balancing cab drivers’ and customer needs – that’s let the permit approval languish, the Austin Chronicle writes in its council preview.

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Austin
6:51 am
Wed October 24, 2012

The Mueller Development Keeps on Developing...

Future AMLI apartment community at Mueller.
AMLI

AMLI Residential, builder of several high profile apartment communities in Austin, has announced it is going to build a mid-rise project in Mueller town center.

AMLI says it plans to build a $30 million, 279-unit apartment complex on Simond Avenue, across from Lake Park and the new Austin Children’s Museum. The community will contain 20 percent efficiencies, 56 percent one-bedroom apartments and 24 percent two-bedroom apartments.

Prices for the apartments will be set during the pre-leasing process, but 15 percent of the units will be included in the Mueller Affordable Homes Program, which is for residents who earn 60 percent or less of Austin’s median family income.

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Austin
3:35 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

The View From Rainey St.: City Plans for Garage Spark Controversy

The Mexican American Cultural Center is at the heart of a debate growth the Rainey Street
http://www.flickr.com/mirsasha/

The Austin City Council may make a decision on Thursday that could alter the future of Rainey Street.

It's close to impossible to find parking in the trendy lower downtown district. With so many new restaurants and bars in the neighborhood, the popularity of Rainey Street grows alongside the difficulty of getting in and out by car.

A group of investors (70 Rainey Street LP) which own several Rainey Street lots has presented the city several bids to purchase a property at 64 Rainey St.for a multi-story parking garage. 70 Rainey Street LP is currently planning to use its existing lots to build a 31-story mixed use project.

The city is mulling three options: Selling the lot for $100,000, plus 30 parking spaces and their revenue;  for $400,000, plus 20 parking spaces and their revenue; or for $1.2 million and no parking spaces.

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development
2:49 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Check Out Austin’s Evolving Central Library Design

The main entrance to the library features an outdoor cafe.
Lake | Flato + Shepley Bulfinch, City of Austin

Plans for the city’s new central library have been in the works since 2006, when voters approved bond spending for the facility. Library officials now say designs for the building are 60 percent complete – and next steps include bidding out construction contracts and breaking ground next year.

While Austin has previously seen schematic designs of the building, “it’s pretty much as the name of the phase implies – the scheme at that point,” says John Gillum, facilities process manager for the Austin Public Library. “You’re trying to figure out if you can put the building on the site that you have.”

In contrast, Gillum now says the entire design is now over halfway complete. “It’s pretty much a refinement and further development of what we saw in the schematic design. … We know what the finishes are going to be, what the landscaping is going to look like, where things are going to be located, 99 percent certain in the new building,” he says.

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Development
3:52 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Waller Creek Tunnel Excavation Over Halfway Complete

Progress inside the Waller Creek tunnel this May. Over half of the tunnel has been excavated to date.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

It was a full house this morning for an Urban Land Institute breakfast on Waller Creek.

The design competition for the above ground portion of Waller Creek – including an inlet at Waterloo Park, an outlet at Lady Bird Lake, and the creek itself – is nearly at an end. But below ground, there’s still plenty to do.

Joe Pantalion, Deputy Director of the Watershed Protection Department says the Waller Creek tunnel is 60 percent excavated. Once completed, it will keep the water in Waller Creek at a steady flow, and pull 28 acres out of the floodplain.

"It’s actually right on schedule," Pantalion says. "They’ve excavated 2,000 feet north of Fourth Street," the construction site that serves as entrance to the tunnel. "The tunnel’s right under Ninth Street right now. And heading south, the tunnel’s gone about 1,200 feet, which would put it right under the Cesar Chavez bridge [over Waller Creek, between the Austin Convention Center and Iron Works BBQ]." 

While the tunnel is nearing completion, Pantalion says most of next year will be spent reinforcing the structure by lining it with concrete. “We hope to have the tunnel, all the pieces connected – the inlet, the tunnel, the outlet – all by the end of 2014,” he says. 

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Austin
1:25 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Alamo Embraces Changes Coming to South Lamar Plaza

A rendering of the new Alamo South Lamar and The Highball.
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Changes are coming to the South Lamar Plaza Shopping Center and to the Alamo South Lamar theatre.

A deal to tear down the strip mall and build a mixed-use development is moving forward. Many of the stores that have been at that location for decades will have to move elsewhere.

The Alamo Drafthouse and its karaoke bar, The Highball, will remain. But only after closing for much of 2013 to undergo extensive renovations – including adding three screens to the theatre and expanding the lobby area.

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City Council
10:04 am
Thu June 14, 2012

City Council Preview: 'Imagine Austin' Up for Adoption

City Hall may see a late night, as the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan is coming to the council.
KUT News

The Austin City Council meets today. And in a respite from the long slogs of recent meetings, the council faces a comparatively light 60 item agenda – but likely multiple hours of public testimony on the adoption of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan.

Item 58 is calls for a public hearing and possible adoption of Imagine Austin, a long-term plan for the city’s growth and development which has been in the works since 2009. You can view the plan here.

The hearing won’t start until at least 6 p.m. this evening; the last time the council solicited testimony on the plan, it received four hours’ worth.

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Development
4:36 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Architects, Designers Descend on Lady Bird Lake

The planning area in question, on the south side of Lady Bird Lake
Image courtesy City of Austin

The City of Austin wants to know: What do you want our waterfront to look like in 20 years?

Starting tonight, planners are facilitating a three-day discussion on the future of Lady Bird Lake’s “south shore central” area – Congress Avenue, First Street and eastward, including sites like the Hyatt Regency and Austin American-Statesman building. The talks kicked off this morning with boat tours of the area at stake.

Alan Holt, a principal planner with the city, says that this area is lacking in good infrastructure and “like it or not, slated for some big changes because there are a lot of parking lots and development at the end of their shelf life.”

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AM Update
8:32 am
Mon May 28, 2012

AM Update: Memorial Day Roundup, Austin Planetarium Plans, Spurs' Streak Continues

An artist's rendering of the science and technology museum that would be part of a complex proposed by the Austin Planetarium.
Image courtesy austinplanetarium.org

Memorial Day 2012 Events

Central Texans have several opportunities today to honor veterans for their service. Ceremonies are being held at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin and at Veterans Memorial Plaza in Sun City in Georgetown.

The City of Austin is expecting between 2,500 and 3,000 runners to pound the pavement today for the Capital of Texas Triathlon. You might think you'll catch a break from traffic troubles because of lighter than usual holiday traffic, but the Triathlon is causing some downtown street closures until approximately 3 p.m.

Hitting the road or the water today? Make sure to take a look at our public safety tips and warnings this Memorial Day.

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City Council
12:36 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

City Council Recap: Downtown Land Deal, Animal Center Items Approved

The council voted to sell the former Green Water Treatment Plant site downtown for $42 million.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin City Council voted unanimously late last night to sell the largest city owned plot of undeveloped land downtown – the former Green Water Treatment Plant site west of the Second Street District, along Cesar Chavez Street. 

Developer Trammell Crow is buying the downtown plot for over $42 million dollars, with plans to build 826 apartments, 200 hotel rooms, retail and more.

The deal requires Trammell Crow to make 10 percent of the apartments affordable to people who make 80 percent of the median family income. The units will remain affordable for much longer than an initially-proposed seven-year term, which the council heard in April before postponing the sale. There will also be some requirements for construction worker pay and safety.

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City Council
11:17 am
Wed May 23, 2012

City Council Preview: Welcome Back - Now Here's 145 Items

Heading to City Hall this Thursday? You might want to pack a sleeping bag.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

The break’s over: City Council reconvenes this Thursday with a 141 item-long agenda. (Oh, and a four-item addendum.)

As the recent city elections and plans for an urban rail system have preoccupied council members’ time, we’ve prepared a crib sheet for this Thursday’s long slog. (You’re welcome!)

Green Waters Run Deep: Certain  to generate ample discussion at the meeting is Item 12, the sale of the former Green Water Treatment Plant site downtown, along Cesar Chavez Street, to developer Trammel Crow. 

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