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  #41  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rad707 View Post
Perhaps some clarity from a South Austinite could help here.

Austin doesn't extend beyond Anderson. Anything further north is Dallas.

Everyone down here knows that.
Hear, hear.

North Austin - yuppies.
South Austin - hippies, myself included

I kid, I kid. North Austin is fine, and South Austin has started getting more "North Austinesque" developments lately. While I am in the camp of the old Austinites, (born and raised in South Austin), and proud of it, I'm totally cool with more development, even modern stuff. I really just hope that whatever does come along is good quality stuff and affordable to people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lextx97
and when North and South Austinites were stilling having the tug-of-war contests at town lake with wine (north) and Lone Star beer (south).
Yuck to both of those, but do pour a tall glass of whatever foreign beer you have. Particularly English or German if you have it.
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  #42  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 3:44 AM
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born and raised in South Austin
I thought you were born in SA?
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  #43  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 4:10 AM
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Heh, I was. I don't know why I said that.

My folks had a family friend who was a doctor so they went to San Antonio to have me. I've always been proud of the fact that I was born there. I feel like having been born in San Antonio and growing up in Austin and calling it home, two of the most important cities in Texas history, that it's made me love Texas even more. That's also why I can't stand the fueds between Austin and San Antonio whenever they come up. I don't want to take sides.
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  #44  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 4:39 AM
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Haha, can't get an inconsistency past an attorney.
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  #45  
Old Posted May 2, 2007, 3:02 PM
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Extensive article from this month's NW Austin Community Impact newspaper. Includes interesting rendering of North Burnet Rd, near 183:

http://www.impactnewspaper.com/www/docs/226.1576

New zoning increases density

North Austin neighborhood target of growth
By Rachel Youens




In the next 20 years, the Austin population will nearly double in size, and those 1.5 million people are all going to need a place to live. Since the Austin city limits aren’t getting any bigger, city officials recognize their only choices are to grow taller and denser, and their eyes are set on Northwest Austin for a bold style of zoning that could put 20-story buildings along the streets you drive every day.

This 2,300 square acre area, known as the North Burnet/Gateway Neighborhood Planning Area, is bordered by Metric Boulevard to the east, MoPac to the west and US 183 to the south.

“The North Burnet/Gateway neighborhood is a huge area the size of downtown, the state office complex and UT planning areas combined,” Planning and Zoning Director Molly Scarbrough said. “It’s also an area where two rail lines come into pretty close proximity, half a mile to a mile of one another. There are really only two other areas in Austin where that happens.”


Neighborhood planning

Since 1996, the city has used the neighborhood planning process to take input from residents and developers in creating zoning, land use maps and building standards. The neighborhood plan is then reviewed by the planning commission and adopted by the city council as an amendment to the city plan.


The planning for the North Burnet/Gateway neighborhood, technically two neighborhoods lumped together, began in February 2002. For most neighborhood plans, the process is small and starts with community input and ends with simple zoning. For North Burnet/Gateway, the planning and zoning department saw the unique public transit, land and road features of the area and decided to do something bigger. They hired a consulting firm to look at the viability of the neighborhood being redeveloped to shoulder Austin’s growth.

This neighborhood is larger than any other in the city, but besides simply size and transportation access, planning and zoning has a number of reasons it has chosen this area for what one consultant calls a “second downtown.”

All the right elements

The North Burnet/Gateway neighborhood uses the term “neighborhood” lightly. The area holds commercial developments such as the Arboretum and Gateway shopping centers, and industrial areas like IBM and UT’s Pickle Research campus, but no single-family residences, only apartments.

The 2000 census showed 4,800 residents, an extremely low population density compared to other neighborhoods such as the North Austin Civic Association neighborhood, the one closest to North Burnet/ Gateway, with 22,000 residents. This means development there is less likely to disturb existing homeowners.

The bulk of North Burnet/Gateway also lies just outside the Edwards Aquifer Recharge zone, making it less
environmentally sensitive. For a well developed area, this neighborhood still has a large amount of vacant land and publicly-held land that serve as ideal catalyst sites for introducing a new style of development.

A new type of zoning for north Austin

After a community vision meeting in July 2006, the consultants took residents’ suggestions and went to the drawing board. When they presented their draft plans to the public March 24, renderings showed tall buildings, townhouses and mixed-use developments similar to the Domain.

The Domain has become a test case for what planning and zoning wants to do with the area, but while mixed-use may be the wave of the future, it is plagued by outdated zoning laws.

“The Domain case is interesting because they came in and they had to jump through a lot of hoops to do the kind of development that they’re doing. The zoning system isn’t set up for that, and we haven’t made it easy for them,” Scarbrough said. “Even though we as a community are supporting this kind of development, our rules and regulations were created in the past without this type of development in mind.”

Consequently, this neighborhood plan will be the first in north Austin to use a zoning overlay, a type of zoning more commonly used in areas such as Town Lake and the Capitol building.

“A zoning overlay creates a sense of place. There’s a vision to a particular area that we’re trying to achieve,” Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department Director Greg Guernsey said. “In the University neighborhoods of West Campus, a zoning overlay allowed higher buildings. In some respects that’s kind of what’s being suggested here.”

Unlike traditional zoning, where a specific purpose is assigned to a specific piece of property such as residential or commercial, the zoning overlay allows multiple uses to exist simultaneously and assigns general zoning subdistricts over large areas.

“What we’re trying to do is create the type of regulatory environments to facilitate [the Domain’s] type of development without everyone jumping through the hoops,” Scarbrough said.

Neighborhood concerns

While the North Burnet/Gateway Neighborhood has no single-family homes, the outlying areas are filled with residential neighborhoods.

“The area would benefit from zone overlay and there are a lot of positives to the plan. But my neighborhood’s concern is when you put in a zone overlay where you could add tens of thousands of people, you need to consider traffic impact not just within the boundaries of the plan but on the people immediately outside the plan as well,” said Milwood Neighborhood Association president Dustin Lanier. “What happens to the Duval exit [impacts the] quality of life in Milwood.”

The draft does include some new road construction and offsets the high density with strict building codes requiring tall buildings to be set back allowing light into the street. Construction over a certain height would require developers to contribute to greenspace or drainage.

“The thought of bringing potentially 80,000 new residents in this area in 30 years is scary,” Scarbrough said. “But the key here is a) in thirty years and b) the regulatory framework that we’re creating could accommodate that. It doesn’t mean that every building is going to be 20 stories, most likely they’re not.”

While Lanier is a supporter of public transportation and dense living, he wants to make sure that the quality of life in the city doesn’t compromise the quality of life in his neighborhood.

“If Duval Road is not well planned, and is set up to be one of the main mouths to the “second downtown,” it will reduce the value of our properties, and raise the daily agitation level of everyone trying to get home,” Lanier said.

“Conversely, if it is planned for, and we can still get home without waiting and waiting, we have a lot to look forward to in what the Domain and North Burnet/Gateway will bring.”

---------------------------------------------

EDIT: Link to full PDF April edition of above Community Impact Newspaper. Includes addtional materials/graphics

http://www.impactnewspaper.com/image...rch%201-20.pdf
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Last edited by Mopacs; May 2, 2007 at 3:16 PM.
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  #46  
Old Posted May 2, 2007, 3:07 PM
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Associated Blog from Blogspot.com, via Community Impact NP

http://www.northburnetgateway.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Interview: Molly Scarbrough

Molly Scarbrough a senior planner with the city's Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department, heading up the North Burnet/Gateway plan.

Contact Molly at:
molly.scarbrough@ci.austin.tx.us
(512) 974-3515

What is the North Burnet Gateway redevelopment in short?

A plan to redevelop a lot of the existing light industrial warehouse and retail uses in the area now into a more vibrant mixed-use neighborhood. The plan really seems to accommodate a lot more residents in the area and particularly because our region is expected to double in population in the next twenty years. This plan hopes to capture, or at least accommodate, that growth in a much more urban, mixed-use fashion.

Why here and why now?
Why now, we’re expecting pop to double in twenty years, so the city is faced with that in general and why here because it’s an area that’s served by potentially two future passenger rail lines the first being the capital metro rail line, which will open in 2008, a commuter rail from Leander to downtown and then potentially also an Austin San Antonio commuter rail. Now that rail isn’t funded yet but a lot of people are talking about planning for it in the future. This area is an area where those two rail lines come into pretty close proximity, half a mile to a mile of one another, and there are really only two other areas of Austin where that happens and that is near downtown where the rail line goes to Seaholm, and the rail line goes to the convention center. And the other is at the Robbinson ranch area. So it’s a good place to capitalize on that, and the potential circulator transit which sort of spurs of that which capital metro will use to get people to and from he stations. Not only will we have the rail lines we’ll also have rapid bus lines running through the area.

Secondly it currently has no single-family residence in it, it’s a huge area the size of downtown Austin, the state office complex and UT combined. It’s a pretty huge area that doesn’t accommodate almost any resident at all, a few apartment complexes.

Are the people living in these dense housing developments likely to be single people and retiring couples?
Honestly at first that would probably be true just because of the market and it’s just a new type of development in this area. I believe that over time that’s going to change. The reason I saw “at first it’s going to be like that” is because it’s part of the Austin mentality that if you have a family with children, you want a single family house, I think that mentality is going to take a while to shift. So I don’t think it’s that it can’t be accommodated, I don’t know that the market is there now, however our plan encourages and I think there are several places for town homes, residential uses, things that are a little more dense. Mixed use but maybe a little more family oriented. As Austin grows and people begin thinking about Austin in a more urban fashion I think the demand for that kind of housing is going to increase.

UT stand out from the rest of the development like an island. What will become of this land?
So UT owns the main Pickle research campus, the shops at arbor walk and they also own this western tract. That’s mostly vacant right now, the MCC building is there.

We’ve had a lot of discussions with UT through this plan, asking them what they want to do with that land, and they really don’t know. Because they don’t know and don’t’ have a real solid plan for the area at this time they don’t want to commit to any plans through our planning process. What we were able to uncover in the planning process is that most likely in the future the main pickle campus will remain for UT purposes. That seems pretty set, nothing is set in stone, but it seems pretty certain that this area will not be opened up for private development. Obviously the shops at arbor walk have opened for private dev and the western tract was one of those that they didn’t really have plans for yet and they were hesitant to commit it to our planning process and they wanted to make it clear that they don’t have any plans to redevelop it at this time, but it seems a little more likely that that’s in the realm of possibility for that. Before they make any plans it has to go through their board of regents, facilities management team, etc. etc. So there’s no plans for that now, but just like they sold off the shops at Arbor Walk it has potential to do that, so we wanted ot have a plan in place in case they did. UT had a master plan made a few years ago and it was never adopted, it was really an exciting plan because it was a much more urban environment.

Even with these rail lines going through there’s still not a direct connection between this campus and the other. Although a walk from the rail station to the edge of the pickle campus will would be about 15 minutes, there will be buses that connect that station to the campus and that will connect the two campuses.

How has the Domain project influenced the North Burnet/Gateway project?
For us the Domain has been a nice market reality, because they are seeing demands for office, for high-rise residential, for commercial retail. It’s kind of nice because a lot of times we plan things and hope we’re planning it right. The Domain case is interesting because they came in and they had to jump through a lot of hoops to do the kind of development that they’re doing, the zoning system isn’t set up for that. They were able to do it because they have a really large piece of land, and well established developers that know the system in and out and have been able to finagle their way through our system, which we haven’t made it easy for them even though we as a community are supporting this kind of development it’s just that our rules and regulations were developed in the past without this in mind.

What we’re trying to do is create the type of regulatory environments to facilitate that type of development without everyone jumping through the hoops so that you get smaller developers and property owners who an do this kind of development that can do it without having to hire a law firm just to get through the zoning system.

What reaction are you hearing from the community?
We’re getting a wide range of reaction, some people very supportive because they support the idea of accommodating growth, recognizing that the city can’t keep sprawling out and that we need to start densifying in areas and this is a good place to do it. Because there are no single family residences and some natural and unnatural buffers around the area created by the highways and the creeks other commercial industrial projects. A lot of people say ‘you know we’ve got to accommodate growth’, this is a good place to do it without disrupting single-family residential neighborhoods. We get a lot of support for that, then we have some people concerned about traffic, we have some existing business owners in the area worried what zoning changes will mean to them, regardless of zoning changes the city has an overall non-conforming use policy which means that if you have existing biz and you stay in same building footprint and don’t make any major changes you can stay in the same business from here on out no matter how zoning changes. No one is getting pushed out. Really effects redevelopment as things change over time.

A lot of people excited about creating a neighborhood in this area because it really not a neighborhood now, parks and open space, industrial land that has been largely ignored the environment and trying to uncover it again. It’s not going to go back to a completely natural state, that’s not the point of this plan, but in bringing in urban development and new business parks and open space are going to be key.

Can you explain the idea of the Gateway shopping center build-out your consultants developed?
Consultants did a really interesting study, the study showed that you could leave the existing buildings where they are, take the surface parking and replace it with structured parking garages at key locations, you could infill development and it’s got a pretty good potential street network already built in. You could infill residential development here and then leave the existing buildings where they are. Then over time as the life of the buildings expires after ten or fifteen years, development can slowly grow higher.

It was an interesting study because a lot of people see this area and they say ;oh but it’s already built out’ but the fact is Home Depot has moved across MoPac, DSW has moved across MoPac, whole foods is going to move across MoPac. By no means is Gateway in a decline, I don’t want to imply tat at all, but the fact is that things change over time and people are appealed by the new domain development, and shops find it more appealing too. So it amy be that the owners of Gateway say “hey, how can we do this” and there a way to do it without reconstructing, extensively, what’s there already.

What would you like people to know about the North/Burnet Gateway plan?
What people are concerned about, and I think it might be over-inflated concern, is traffic, you will always hear that at planning meetings. Because the thought of bringing potentially 80,000 new residents in this area in 30 years. The key here is a) in 30 years and b) is the regulatory framework that we’re creating could accommodate that, it doesn’t mean that every building is going to be twenty stories most likely it’s not. You see downtown where there is no height limit right now and you see a total mix of heights of buildings and that’s just how things evolve over time.

I don’t want people to be too scared by that number but the other thing is that the traffic, yes there will be more people here they’ll also have much greater access to transit, they’ll be able to walk to places instead of getting in their car instead of everyone funneling into the street. There will be some attraction for people to come to this area, but I don’t know if it’s going to be that much greater than what is already here. People are already coming to gateway shopping center, they’re already coming to the Domain.

We’re not proposing Disney world here, people will be attracted to live and work in this area, but it’s not going to be every development as a huge retail destination. Yes some people will want to drive to the Domain and they’ll want to drive to work, but is there are a reason for them to drive through these neighborhoods to get somewhere else: probably not. So there will be a little increase in traffic, like on Duval and Braker, but I don’t anticipate a whole 80,000 people are going to flood the residential neighborhood. The numbers seem scary but if you think about traffic patterns people trying to get from one destination to another, I don’t anticipate that throughway (in neighborhoods) as much as people fear.



Posted by ImpactNews at 2:26 PM 1 comments
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  #47  
Old Posted May 2, 2007, 3:09 PM
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And another, from March '07

http://www.northburnetgateway.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What is the North Burnet Gateway Redevelopment?



WHAT:
The City of Austin is planning to rezone and set the bar for a new type of mixed-use growth in this North Austin area of town that would possibly turn it into a high-rise, metropolitan district.The North Burnet Gateway neighborhood district is larger than both the Robert Mueller redevelopment and the Downtown Central Business district. Through rezoning and transportation planning the city hopes to eventually turn this area into a pedestrian friendly transit oriented development that would incorporate 30-story buildings right next to bike paths.

WHERE:
The North Burnet Gateway Planning Area is located in the north part of Austin's Urban Core. The boundaries for the planning area are Walnut Creek on the north, Metric Boulevard on the east, US 183 (Research Boulevard) on the south and west, and Loop 1 (Mopac) on the west.

WHY:
This 2,300 acre area of North Austin originated as an industrial district that was home to IBM, The University of Texas' JJ Pickle research facility and other large business developments. Over time shopping centers such as Gateway and the Aboretum have helped the area grow to support retail as well as office. With a unique location along MoPac, US 183 and Braker Lane and a future stop of the MetroRail commuter line the North Burnet Gateway stands to become a major transit hub. This area of town is also far less ecologically sensitive and is primarily outside of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

HOW:
Last summer the neighborhood planning and zoning department took community input during a week-long workshop. They used this input along with help from consultants to create a draft plan that includes zoning, subdistricts, road projects and areas targeted for development. The city presented this draft to citizens March 24 for feedback at a public meeting which all businesses and homeowners in the affected area were invited to. The city is still taking feedback until April 14. The next step is for the plan to be completed and then submitted to the city's boards and subcommittees before adoption by the city council.

WHO:
The City of Austin has hired Carter+Burgess as the prime consultant for the North Burnet/Gateway Plan. The Carter+Burgess team includes Land Design Studio, HDR Engineering, WHM Transportation Engineering, GMSA Management, Estilo Communications, and Raymond Chan & Associates.

WHEN:
Most of the plan's initiatives aim to take effect over the next 20 to 30 years.




Posted by ImpactNews at 1:06 PM 0 comments
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  #48  
Old Posted May 2, 2007, 3:20 PM
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Pardon my flood of posts, but here is a supplemental graphic, captured from the PDF version of the aforementioned article:

http://www.impactnewspaper.com/image...rch%201-20.pdf

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  #49  
Old Posted May 2, 2007, 4:02 PM
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^ Wow.
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  #50  
Old Posted May 2, 2007, 7:42 PM
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Oh my.
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  #51  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 1:59 AM
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man, look at the size of that park system! that looks beautiful. i'm so glad to learn that this "new downtown" will have a civic center.
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  #52  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 3:44 AM
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Wow what a great project, Can't wait to see it move along.
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  #53  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 4:12 AM
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The potential seems to be there. It could turn out to be an interesting sector. It will take some years before the grand vision is in place. But folks, the word of the day is 'fruition'.
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  #54  
Old Posted May 4, 2007, 6:31 PM
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Can anyone give me details about this NW Impact magazine? It seems pretty thoughtful and decently put together. Usually Austin's suburban publications are either highly amateur or highly conservative/reactionary/Christian. Has anyone from NW Austin ever read "The Good Time News" or whatever? My high school newspaper looked like the Manchester Guardian compared to that piece of fundamentalist clip art trash.

Ironically, on page 9, there is an article about the Rutledge family. That's my surname, Rutledge, but I am unrelated to this specific branch, as I am first generation American. There is or was a road on 620 called Rutledge Spur that we always used to laugh about. Small world.
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Old Posted May 4, 2007, 6:42 PM
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  #56  
Old Posted May 5, 2007, 9:29 PM
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Does anyone know if there is a completion date for the Westin hotel?
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  #57  
Old Posted May 5, 2007, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbeiter View Post
Can anyone give me details about this NW Impact magazine? It seems pretty thoughtful and decently put together. Usually Austin's suburban publications are either highly amateur or highly conservative/reactionary/Christian. Has anyone from NW Austin ever read "The Good Time News" or whatever? My high school newspaper looked like the Manchester Guardian compared to that piece of fundamentalist clip art trash.

Ironically, on page 9, there is an article about the Rutledge family. That's my surname, Rutledge, but I am unrelated to this specific branch, as I am first generation American. There is or was a road on 620 called Rutledge Spur that we always used to laugh about. Small world.
It's a free local business report for NW Austin that comes out every month, for about the last 3 months I believe. It's mostly ads, but the content is pretty good, including some interesting non-business articles. I look forward to reading about the new business developments in it every month. Pretty high quality. There also appears to be Community Impact papers for Round Rock/Pflugerville and Cedar Park/Leander.
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  #58  
Old Posted May 7, 2007, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobDSM View Post
It's a free local business report for NW Austin that comes out every month, for about the last 3 months I believe. It's mostly ads, but the content is pretty good, including some interesting non-business articles. I look forward to reading about the new business developments in it every month. Pretty high quality. There also appears to be Community Impact papers for Round Rock/Pflugerville and Cedar Park/Leander.
Correct, it is delivered directly to residential mailboxes thoughout the Zip Codes serviced. I receive the Cedar Park/Leander edition here. The paper begain with its first edition (Round Rock/Pflugerville) in Fall 2005. To view back copies in PDF format for Round Rock, Cedar Park and NW AUstin editions:

http://www.impactnewspaper.com/www/docs/5/archives.htm

I personally look forward to this every month (comes mid-month here in CP/L)
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  #59  
Old Posted May 7, 2007, 1:07 AM
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Looks pretty good as long as it has decently frequent rapid rail access to/from the real downtown Austin.
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  #60  
Old Posted May 15, 2007, 10:04 PM
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Here's a recent article on Austin's "Second Downtown"


...................................

Building Austin’s Future

Many anticipate that Endeavor Real Estate Group’s newest project will stimulate the creation of a second downtown in Texas’ capital city.
Lindsey Walker

When Austin, Texas-based Endeavor Real Estate Group purchased 230 acres in North Austin from IBM in 1999, the company had plans to demolish the existing manufacturing and service-center buildings and create a new, state-of-the-art office complex for dot-com companies. Due to the ensuing dot-com bust in March 2000, that strategy “quickly failed,” according to managing principal Kirk Rudy, and Endeavor had to figure out how to create value on the land. Their decision: a mixed-use community that could be a major catalyst for the creation of Austin’s second downtown.

http://www.texasrebusiness.com/artic.../feature8.html
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