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  #61  
Old Posted May 15, 2007, 10:23 PM
ATXboom ATXboom is online now
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Thanx for the post Boris!

I think this area will be great for business travellers right off the bat. The key will be geting the hotels built ASAP. Plenty of shopping and good food/drink there now. It is a very convenient location to get to major companies [Dell, IBM, National Instruments, Sematech, etc].

I can't see it being full of nightlife like downtown for many years - at least until there are a few thousand residents in there and rail established [next year!].
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  #62  
Old Posted May 19, 2007, 3:27 PM
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The 2nd phase of The Domain now has anchor tenants associated with it; Dillards (a 200,000 sq ft -3 story store, Austin's 5th), Dick's Sporting Goods (1st of 2 planned), an 8 screen theater and the aforementioned Westin Hotel. I'm assuming this is for the phase located to the south of the existing center? Here's an article from today's paper:

http://www.statesman.com/business/co...9dillards.html


Dillard's to open fifth Austin store at Domain

Movie theater, Dick's Sporting Goods also moving into center.

By Shonda Novak, Lilly Rockwell
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Saturday, May 19, 2007

Central Texas is getting a fifth Dillard's store, as part of an expansion of the upscale Domain shopping center in North Austin.

The new part of the center, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2009, will have a 200,000-square-foot, three-story Dillard's store, along with a Dick's Sporting Goods and also a movie theater with eight auditoriums.

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. announced the tenants Friday.
The first part of the Domain, which opened in March, includes a Neiman Marcus, a Macy's and a variety of high-end retailers, plus office space and 390 luxury apartments that are integrated into the outdoor shopping center.

The new section is expected to encompass 300,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 75,000 square feet of office space, 350 luxury apartments and a Westin hotel.
Dillard's Inc. has three stores in Central Texas: at Highland Mall, Barton Creek Mall and Lakeline Mall.

A fourth store will co-anchor the Hill Country Galleria shopping center in the Village of Bee Cave. That center is scheduled to open in September.
A news release from Simon says the store's design and merchandise will reflect the department store chain's "renewed focus on upscale and contemporary fashion."
Dillard's did not return calls Friday.

Jill Rowe, president of Rowe Investments, an Austin-based retail brokerage, said it's common to see a Dillard's near a Macy's.
"While they compete, the synergy complements one another also," Rowe said. "It will make the area an even more dominant trade area. "
Rowe said Dillard's has been aggressive in Central Texas, "positioning themselves as a leader in all of the dominant trade areas of Austin."

"I predict we will see additional expansion from them in the near future in the suburbs," she said. "The region can easily support the Domain store, as well as additional stores in outlying areas."
"The Domain area is positioned to be the dominant retail trade area of Austin. This is only the beginning."

Dick's, a Pittsburgh-based sporting goods chain, will enter the Austin market with its 75,000-square-foot, two-story Domain store.
The company, which had $3.1 billion in sales last year, has 294 stores but plans to grow to as many as 800.

The chain sells a full-line of sporting goods including traditional bats and gloves, shoes, elliptical exercise machines and golf equipment, including indoor driving ranges.

Dick's recently acquired Golf Galaxy Inc., which is a major competitor to Austin-based Golfsmith Inc.

The Domain's movie theater will be a Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinema.
Simon says the theater will be "unlike anything else offered in Austin," with food and alcohol served in its auditoriums that each will seat about 40 people.

snovak@statesman.com; 445-3856
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  #63  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 2:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mopacs View Post
The 2nd phase of The Domain now has anchor tenants associated with it; Dillards (a 200,000 sq ft -3 story store, Austin's 5th), Dick's Sporting Goods (1st of 2 planned), an 8 screen theater and the aforementioned Westin Hotel. I'm assuming this is for the phase located to the south of the existing center? Here's an article from today's paper:

http://www.statesman.com/business/co...9dillards.html


Dillard's to open fifth Austin store at Domain

Movie theater, Dick's Sporting Goods also moving into center.

By Shonda Novak, Lilly Rockwell
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Saturday, May 19, 2007

Central Texas is getting a fifth Dillard's store, as part of an expansion of the upscale Domain shopping center in North Austin.

The new part of the center, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2009, will have a 200,000-square-foot, three-story Dillard's store, along with a Dick's Sporting Goods and also a movie theater with eight auditoriums.

Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. announced the tenants Friday.
The first part of the Domain, which opened in March, includes a Neiman Marcus, a Macy's and a variety of high-end retailers, plus office space and 390 luxury apartments that are integrated into the outdoor shopping center.

The new section is expected to encompass 300,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 75,000 square feet of office space, 350 luxury apartments and a Westin hotel.
Dillard's Inc. has three stores in Central Texas: at Highland Mall, Barton Creek Mall and Lakeline Mall.

A fourth store will co-anchor the Hill Country Galleria shopping center in the Village of Bee Cave. That center is scheduled to open in September.
A news release from Simon says the store's design and merchandise will reflect the department store chain's "renewed focus on upscale and contemporary fashion."
Dillard's did not return calls Friday.

Jill Rowe, president of Rowe Investments, an Austin-based retail brokerage, said it's common to see a Dillard's near a Macy's.
"While they compete, the synergy complements one another also," Rowe said. "It will make the area an even more dominant trade area. "
Rowe said Dillard's has been aggressive in Central Texas, "positioning themselves as a leader in all of the dominant trade areas of Austin."

"I predict we will see additional expansion from them in the near future in the suburbs," she said. "The region can easily support the Domain store, as well as additional stores in outlying areas."
"The Domain area is positioned to be the dominant retail trade area of Austin. This is only the beginning."

Dick's, a Pittsburgh-based sporting goods chain, will enter the Austin market with its 75,000-square-foot, two-story Domain store.
The company, which had $3.1 billion in sales last year, has 294 stores but plans to grow to as many as 800.

The chain sells a full-line of sporting goods including traditional bats and gloves, shoes, elliptical exercise machines and golf equipment, including indoor driving ranges.

Dick's recently acquired Golf Galaxy Inc., which is a major competitor to Austin-based Golfsmith Inc.

The Domain's movie theater will be a Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinema.
Simon says the theater will be "unlike anything else offered in Austin," with food and alcohol served in its auditoriums that each will seat about 40 people.

snovak@statesman.com; 445-3856

Just to make sure things are CLEAR (the media keeps screwing this up)…

The development being referred to in the article above is the “Domain Crossing” and not actually the second phase of the “Domain!”

The ACTUAL second phase of the “Domain,” which includes the hotels, Nordstrom, and a fourth anchor, is not expected to open until late 2010 or early 2011.

It bugs the heck out of me that the media is being so lazy about properly identifying these as two completely separate developments – which they are.

The design and tenant mix of the “Domain Crossing” will not be on the same par as is seen in the “Domain.” For anyone who has been to Dallas, it’s similar to comparing the Dallas Galleria to Valley View Mall. Both are right next to each other, but have different tenant mixes.

Also, Simon Property Group is the sole developer of the “Domain Crossing,” while Endeavor Real Estate group is developing the “Domain.” Try to think of it this way, the Hill Country Galleria is being developed by one group – at the same time, the Shops at the Galleria are being developed by a completely separate company. The only difference here is that there is not a major road separating the two developments.

In any case, both the “Domain” and “Domain Crossing” are going to awesome places to live, work and play in the coming years!
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  #64  
Old Posted May 21, 2007, 3:35 PM
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Mikey711MN Mikey711MN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenBoot View Post
Just to make sure things are CLEAR (the media keeps screwing this up)…

The development being referred to in the article above is the “Domain Crossing” and not actually the second phase of the “Domain!”

The ACTUAL second phase of the “Domain,” which includes the hotels, Nordstrom, and a fourth anchor, is not expected to open until late 2010 or early 2011.

It bugs the heck out of me that the media is being so lazy about properly identifying these as two completely separate developments – which they are.

The design and tenant mix of the “Domain Crossing” will not be on the same par as is seen in the “Domain.” For anyone who has been to Dallas, it’s similar to comparing the Dallas Galleria to Valley View Mall. Both are right next to each other, but have different tenant mixes.

Also, Simon Property Group is the sole developer of the “Domain Crossing,” while Endeavor Real Estate group is developing the “Domain.” Try to think of it this way, the Hill Country Galleria is being developed by one group – at the same time, the Shops at the Galleria are being developed by a completely separate company. The only difference here is that there is not a major road separating the two developments.

In any case, both the “Domain” and “Domain Crossing” are going to awesome places to live, work and play in the coming years!
Actually, I, too, shared in your frustration until I came across this document. (a pdf, but see page 2) At least that appears to be the verifiable source of info that the media is using.

Otherwise, in spite of this document, I was always under the impression that the Domain Phase II was going to encompass the development to points south and east of where Phase I is. Thanks again for your clarification--or attempt thereof--all the same.
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  #65  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2007, 4:21 PM
ATXboom ATXboom is online now
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second Austin "downtown" - 82,000 residents -50,000 daytime workers

http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrob...oid=oid:543305



HOME: SEPTEMBER 28, 2007: NEWS
The Making of Downtown North
The Domain may sound like just another fancy mall – but planners say it's the seed of a second Austin
BY RICHARD WHITTAKER





These two design plans show the Domain project in its current state and what's envisioned 10 years down the road, assuming this multiphase centerpiece of "Downtown North" stays on course. Under the development and retail aegis of Endeavor Real Estate Group and Simon Property Group (with a Phase I start-up carrot from the city), this onetime IBM campus is being transformed into a mix of shops, residences, offices, and hotels. The first retail phase of the project – the upscale Domain I shopping district – opened this year with anchors Neiman Marcus and Macy's. Simon and Endeavor are working separately on adjacent developments – both named Domain II, for now.It's been derided as a shopper's Disneyland and pre-emptively dismissed by many Central Austinites as a strange, upmarket interloper, more suited for the tonier districts of Dallas or Houston. But if the developers and the city planners manage to deliver what they say they have in mind, the still-sprouting Domain shopping and residential complex on what is now the near north side will start to look a lot more like Austin. And – what may strike greater fear in the hearts of the Faithfully Weird – Austin may begin to look a lot more like the Domain.

At the moment, the development itself doesn't look like much, at least on the long approach. Driving in from Braker Lane, visitors progress along the uninvitingly named Domain Drive, where the only visible green is the cloth barrier that hides the demolition work. Beyond that is what looks like an industrial wasteland, accompanied in the distance by the gentle sound of backhoes and wrecking balls. A dusty expanse of concrete pad and gravel is interrupted by a forest of electrical pylons and mounds of rubble.

Then, suddenly, there's a brand-new Macy's. Park, and walk around it, and there's what appears to be a recently refurbished, meandering European town street – three- and four-story buildings with apartments above street-front stores, broken up by small plazas and shaded by well-established trees. Except – most small European streets don't have a Neiman Marcus. Nor a Tiffany's. Nor a Louis Vuitton. But then, neither do most Austin streets.

Welcome to the Domain, where it's not like most of Austin. Yet.


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

What's in a Name?
When it comes to urban development, it's hard to hear the word "domain" without sticking "eminent" in front of it. But for all its recent negative associations of diminishing private-property rights, the place name for this project actually dates back to the heady days of the dot-com boom – and shortly thereafter, which tells the whole tale. In 1999, the newly formed Endeavor Real Estate Group, in partnership with private equity investors the Blackstone Group and JER Partners, acquired the 304-acre former IBM campus on North MoPac. With its shift away from manufacturing to support at the site, the computer behemoth needed less of a construction footprint for its 6,200 employees. At that point, according to Endeavor principal Kirk Rudy, "the plan was to demolish the buildings and put up offices for the dot-com industry. Literally, within a matter of months, that strategy was proven to be a failure. Then we thought, 'We've got a significant power and fiber infrastructure, so let's build a 2-million-square-foot telecom hotel.' And then the telecom market collapsed. So we were really scrambling to get some value from the land."




The Domain development is just one component of a much more expansive vision city and neighborhood planners have laid out in a draft master plan of the North Burnet/Gateway area, which City Council is scheduled to consider Oct. 18. The entire planning area, including a segment west of MoPac, is about the size of Downtown and the UT campus combined.So while the planning ground shifted, the cyberspace name persisted – for a "domain" that turned back to its future as a commercial and residential fiefdom. A 55-acre slice of the site, adjoining MoPac, was basically free of tenants and ripe for quick redevelopment. Realizing that its high tech plans were dead, Endeavor took the project in a completely new direction: a mixed-usage or "new urbanist" community, combining retail and residential in a neatly defined neighborhood. One problem: The old partners weren't interested in this new kind of development. So Endeavor refinanced with RREEF Alternative Investments and started looking for partners. They settled on Illinois-based Simon Property Group Inc., experts in mall development who already ran several sites around Austin including the Arboretum and Highland Mall.

But this project would be as different from those malls as it was from Endeavor's original plan. It would be what urban planners, and increasingly the city of Austin's neighborhood gurus, call "vertical mixed use": stores below, residences above. More importantly, the shopping demographic would be far removed from the traditional low-key Austin approach. The developers would court A-list commercial tenants like Barneys New York Co-op and Sur la Table and thereby create a "regional shopping destination" – a commercial venture that in recent decades had been confined by definition to the suburbs, not the new urban core.

The immediate appeal for the city to rezone this light industrial property to attract a bunch of tony stores, in turn dragging in the big-city swells and high-end shoppers, was simple: sales tax. According to Fred Evins, redevelopment project manager for the city's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office, "We'd seen more retail sales go to Round Rock and San Marcos and surrounding areas. The city's share of sales-tax dollars in the region was shrinking, and it was hoped this would turn that tide by providing a unique destination."

It wasn't just about getting out-of-town shoppers spending their tax dollars within city limits; it was also about keeping the city's own affluent shoppers here. "One of the things I always appreciated about Austin was the laid-back, comfortable approach," said Evins, "But there's more than one facet to Austin, and there are more black-tie events, more fashion, and more money coming in with the tech companies. This is meeting the market demand. It may not be the traditional Austin, but it's appealing to a market sector."

For Endeavor and Simon, the obvious downside was the upfront cost. This wasn't going to be a bolt-together strip mall, nor even a high-end strip mall but an "integrated retail environment" meant to attract demanding tenants with a world-class reputation. Increased residential density means more people, which means more parking, but the initial point of the project had been to get better use from IBM's massive areas of old surface parking. The new direction meant costly structured parking. The city was also looking for improved public amenities, like wide, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, public art, and trees. To facilitate these goals and to help underwrite them, Endeavor and the city struck a deal: $25 million (notably, in 2003 dollars), paid out over 20 years to the developers, and based on sales- and property-tax receipts.

The incentive cash was in part intended to allow the developers to spend extra money on finishings to attract high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus. However, it was also an incentive package to get small local businesses and affordable housing into the development. "Simon told me that, if they'd approached this, they'd only have worked with national retailers," said Evins. But with a million dollars in promised incentives, seven local businesses either opened or moved on-site. (That still accounts for only around 10% of the stores currently planning to open along the Domain's main shopping street.)




The Steeping Room owners Emily Morrison (l) and Amy March are among a few locally based shopkeepers at the Domain.
Photo by John AndersonAccording to Amy March, co-owner of teahouse the Steeping Room, not only would her firm probably never have moved to the Domain without those incentives, but it might never have opened at all. March had helped set up Central Market's specialty tea program at the north store and had been looking to open a gourmet tearoom that would also serve food. She and her business partner, Emily Morrison, had been looking in South and Central Austin for a site for their new business. But finding somewhere affordable where they could serve the menu they wanted to the clientele they needed seemed impossible. "All these places were interested in us," said March, "but we were an upstart start-up, and they'd whittle us down into a space that wouldn't give us any business." In December 2005, they saw the plans for the Domain and found the developers were already negotiating with a national tea chain. The incentive package helped get them through the door instead. It still wasn't going to be cheap, but as March noted, "Real estate is expensive everywhere. For a more established business, they might have said, 'that's expensive.' But for us, as the first teahouse in Austin, we needed somewhere that was going to get big attention and support us."

Even though the number of local vendors is relatively small, they have always felt well-served by the Domain, said Craig Staley, owner of fellow tenant Bettysport. "We add something different to what the chains bring," Staley said. "They make it like every other shopping center, and we're making it unique." With the first branch of their women's sportswear store already open Downtown just off Lamar, he and co-owner Stephanie Terrell were looking to expand, and like the city planners, they had their eyes on out-of-town customers. "We were looking to Georgetown and Round Rock," said Staley, "population centers that, with Austin's growth, are now so far from Downtown. For the people out there, getting into Downtown is such a headache, with the travel and the parking. So for us, this was just about gaining access to a segment of the population that we weren't touching." They were keen to avoid getting stuck in a low-density strip mall, so the Domain's combination of mixed-usage and high-end retail neighbors with national profiles was part of the appeal. "We're a destination shop," said Staley, "so for us to be in the middle of that, it puts us in with our direct market – females 35 to 55, with the means and the time to be going to yoga, gyms, and Pilates."

Of course there are also the nationally recognized names. Among the first tenants Simon attracted was McCormick & Schmick's, and the seafood restaurant held a grand opening of its second Austin site in August. If the Domain seemed like a change from the chain's normal locations, near to office and after-work dining, it was. "I've been doing this for 36 years, and when we go into a new community, our preference is always to move into downtown," said Doug Schmick, CEO and co-founder of the chain. Yet with the planned mix of office and residential, the Domain felt like a downtown. "What we've found over the last five or six years is that there are a lot of quasi-lifestyle centers that start to create a sense of community and destination within the suburban environment," said Schmick.

Which is exactly what the city would like to hear.


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

If You Build It, They Will Stay
Big as it is, the Domain is only a small portion of a much bigger plan being formulated by the city of Austin. Technically, it's called the North Burnet/Gateway area. But there's a simpler name for it: Downtown North.

"A second downtown was inevitable," says Council Member Brewster McCracken. "It's just that if you didn't plan for it, it would be like Las Colinas or the three satellite downtowns in Houston, where it's an office park next to a regional power center next to several gated apartment complexes – and they're a failure. So, if this is going to happen anyway, let's get ahead of the curve and plan it so it functions like a true urban core."




McCormick & Schmick's recently opened its second Austin restaurant at the Domain with a ceremonial fish toss.
Photo by John AndersonThe North Burnet/Gateway area is the end result of a 10-year series of studies and consultation exercises by the city. Currently, it only exists as a draft master plan, but its scope – and its potential impact on North Austin – could be enormous. An unevenly shaped zone, it covers 2,300 acres between MoPac, Metric, and Research (plus a bulge west of MoPac, including the Gateway shopping center). That's roughly equal to Downtown plus the UT campus. It's what is now officially known as a transit-oriented development – in the new-urban newspeak, a "TOD." The idea is that people will be able to take either highways or mass transit, such as Capital Metro's new Capital MetroRail, to the area. Once there, the integrated nature of the larger neighborhood, with its mixed-usage, pedestrian-friendly design, and broad selection of entertainment and employment opportunities, will mean they'll be able to walk, cycle, or (still at least in theory) use public transport to get where they want to be.

The city is not going to be doing the developing itself: Nor is it likely to create another subsidy sweetener like the one accorded the Domain. There has been a sharp and continuing public outcry against these particular incentives (see "Giving Incentives a Bad Name"), and city officials themselves now argue that the Domain deal was a product of a particular economic time and place. In a Finance Commission's Audit Committee meeting on Aug. 28, the council made it clear that such economic incentive packages will probably remain restricted to industrial and not retail developers. Instead, said Molly Scarbrough, senior planner with the urban design division of the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department, "We'd change the zoning and design standards in the area to encourage the kind of developments we're looking for. But in our plan, we think that by doing these changes, the area could accommodate up to 40,000 new units: 80,000 people. That's probably aggressive, but the city's regulations would allow for that level of development."

There are, of course, technical issues, and by formulating a master plan now, rather than responding to developments piecemeal as they go in, the city hopes to avoid simple but damaging problems like mismatched-water-pipe bores or moving electric cables from out of the way of one development and straight into another. But that will take policy changes. "Our infrastructure policy is traditionally big on rewarding ex urbis [i.e., suburban] developers," said McCracken, "so that's an example where our infrastructure policy is 180 degrees from our land-use policies. People who develop density will have to be rewarded equally to subdivision builders."


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

I, II ... Many Domains
So how do a bunch of swanky stores and condos fit into this grand urban vision? Technically, what is open now is not "the Domain," but "Domain I," the first stage of a much larger plan. The site breaks down into four sections. After selling the campus to Endeavor, IBM leased back five buildings, totaling a million square feet of real estate. Simon has already opened Domain I, and now both Simon and Endeavor are working on their own separate second-stage developments (both called, confusingly, "Domain II").

The plans are elaborate and large-scale. Domain I is a compact and self-contained development; attempting to fill the remaining acreage with something the same but almost five times the size was a nonstarter. "If you overlay the boundaries of the Domain over Downtown, it would stretch from Town Lake to north of the Capitol and four blocks either side of Congress," said Rudy. "It has the potential to become something significant."

The current plan is not to extend Domain I but to turn it into the shopping district for a new, larger community. There will be more vertical mixed use, with residential over retail, but there will also be separate apartment buildings, as well as offices and hotels. On Endeavor's 170-acre second stage, there's already a commitment to a 10-acre park with a small lake at its heart. A mile-and-a-half jogging track will roam through the area, and there's even a proposal for a 7,000-seat outdoor amphitheatre. In total, Endeavor is looking at 6,000 new residents and 17,500 employees on-site. "The first area was exclusive, and this will be much more diverse," said Rudy. "Our tagline is, 'Austin Continued.'"




Endeavor's Kirk Rudy stands at ground zero of the second development phase of the Domain. An old warehouse in the background is on its way out to make room for a new structure.
Photo by John AndersonTransferring over to mixed- and vertical-mixed-usage would allow space for this big population, but then there's the ever-persistent question of where they all will park their inevitable (two?) cars. A large part of why the IBM campus looked so sparsely populated and underutilized were the large tracts of open-air parking. "Our consultants found that you could take the existing parking lots, put in some structured parking garages, and start infilling that surface," said Scarbrough. "Then you could keep some existing retail and then infill with residential over time." For Endeavor, structured parking wasn't simply helpful, but essential in order to cram everything in. "If we were to replicate this in the suburbs with surface parking lots," said Rudy, "it would require 700 acres, not 170."

A core part of this plan is dependent on something Austinites do not do very much but at least measurably more than most other urban Texans – they walk. Domain I was always intended to be foot-friendly and walkably sized. Domain II will require even more design to support those purposes, including retention and replanting of mature trees to provide cover and shade. For the area plan to work will take some major re-engineering. "We're looking at a redesign of Burnet to make it a little more pedestrian-friendly," said Scarbrough, "because it's got pretty fast-moving traffic that could be quite scary if you were a pedestrian or on a bike."

According to Evins, this transfer to foot may take some effort and a culture shift. "Texans, for the last generation or two, haven't been big on walking." However, lessons are being learned from other projects around town. "2nd Street is a prime example of how we've taken an 80-foot right-of-way and reapportioned it. We've taken away from the car and given it to the pedestrians, without restricting vehicular access," he added.


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

A Sense of Place
For McCracken, the fact that Austin is already very pedestrian-friendly makes the proposed plan more likely to work here than most other cities and a lot more "Austin" than the early and voluble detractors consider Domain I. Few southern or Texas cities have large, walkable areas like the Drag, South Congress, or Town Lake, or so many of them. "I was driving around with my family in Corpus Christi this weekend," McCracken said, "and I realized the enormous progress we have made and the futility of trying to do in Corpus what we've done here. There's no way."

So a pivotal part of the plan is that the entire development remains integrated rather than isolated bubbles that become virtually gated communities. "We talk with Simon often," said Rudy, "and we agree that when someone comes to the Domain, they feel like it's 'the Domain.' Not Simon's Domain, not Endeavor's Domain; so it will all be connected." The city and the developers are hoping for a cascade effect: If Domain I succeeds, that will help make Domain II successful. If the Domain works out, it will attract the other developers the North Burnet/Gateway area needs.

But being a test bed for a much bigger development has its risks. If the hope is that Domain I will trigger further construction, then Domain I is also dependent on that new growth for long-term success, especially if, as this first stage is situated, it's currently an oasis of consumerism in the middle of an industrial wasteland. Doug Schmick in fact describes that uniqueness as part of the early appeal. "In my business, we've always felt that coming in a little earlier has its advantages, and we have long-term faith in the viability of the project. To be one of the first ones in, some people may perceive you as taking a risk, but you're establishing a sense of place, and you become known and deeply entrenched in the overall development."

For Schmick, using regional destinations like Domain I is a way to kick-start a sense of community in an ailing city center or a new urbanist setting. "One of the issues of living in suburbia was that there wasn't any heartbeat or central core, and these kind of developments are an attempt to bring that into play. I think from a city-planning point of view it's pretty unique, and it began in Reston, Virginia, about 20 years ago."

However, Reston could also serve as a warning for the city and the developers. The unincorporated municipality was a model for new urbanism, and between 1970 and 2000 its population exploded from 5,700 to 57,000. But residents of surrounding, more suburban communities like Hunter Mill are now opposing what they see as high-density urban sprawl from their mixed-use neighbor. Many Fairfax County residents complain about Reston's skyline, now dominated by tall office towers. While the majority of buildings proposed at the Domain would be between four and eight stories, Endeavor has already closed a deal with Novare Group Holdings LLC (the firm behind 360 Towers in the "old" Downtown) to do a 28-story tower containing 145 hotel rooms and 360 condos on Domain II.

It's also worth keeping in mind that this is the third proposal for the land since the developers took over from IBM, only eight years ago. There is no definitive ground plan for the whole Domain; the city has not yet adopted the area master plan – and another economic downturn could again throw everything into disarray.

October will be a big month for both the Domain and the North Burnet/Gateway area. Endeavor breaks ground on the first significant new component of Domain II, a 137,000-square-foot office building. They'll also start the design process for a number of four- to eight-story residential blocks, totaling around 240 rental units averaging 900 square feet. On Oct. 18, the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department will present its master plan for the area to the City Council. But the full Domain project, and the greater area plan, will depend on that idealized walkability and whether even Austinites can be consistently separated from their cars. The Steeping Room's Amy March was optimistic, having already seen foot traffic in front of her tearoom. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, it's an outside mall in Texas; no one will come,' but they came. Yeah, we were lucky with the weather this summer, but it's Texas: You get used to the heat."

Last edited by ATXboom; Oct 21, 2007 at 4:36 PM. Reason: better title
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  #66  
Old Posted Sep 28, 2007, 7:07 PM
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2007, 4:32 PM
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Second Austin Downtown at Domain by 2035

Second Austin Downtown at Domain by 2035
October 19, 2007 20:35 Filed in: News
As we have reported in the past, developers and the city have announced ambitious plans for the second phase of the Domain: the new mini-city rising off Mopac just north of 183. Between now and 2015, one developer alone plans to build 50, yes FIFTY, new buildings with heights ranging from 2-26 stories (as tall as 310 feet). When complete, The Domain will form a second Austin "downtown" with as many as 82,000 residents and 50,000 daytime workers. To put these numbers in context, Mayor Will Wynn has working hard towards a big goal: getting 25,000 people to live in the real downtown by 2015, the same timeframe.

The Domain capitalizes on a an ongoing trend in large scale development: Pleaseantville-like mini-cities that blend ground-floor retail with rental, condo and commercial properties on the upper floors. The goal is to create a disneyesque main street development that becomes a destination for retail and entertainment while making the development an attractive place to live and work. Envision multiple city blocks with street-side parking (and plenty of garages).

Today, the City of Austin took a step forward by approving phase 1 of a master plan for the area which will officially strive to create a second downtown on a 2,300 acre parcel adjacent to the domain by 2035.



Here is the summary from the Austin Business Journal:


City Council preliminarily approved phase 1 of the North Burnet/Gateway master landuse plan, which will create a so-called second downtown in the area around the Domain luxury shopping center by 2035.Final approval by City Council for Phase 1 is expected on Nov. 1.The North Burnet/Gateway plan's vision is to ultimately create clusters of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in the 2,300-acre area north of U.S. 183 bounded by Walnut Creek, Metric Boulevard, Braker Lane and MoPac Expressway.The final plan will allow developers to build denser than anywhere outside of downtown and as high as 15 stories or 180 feet, and up to 30 stories or 360 feet in areas closest to planned commuter rail stops.Phase 1 immediately designates a zoning overlay district in the area to allow vertical mixed uses and other urban design elements, and to preclude interim development not in concert with the plan.



The initial Domain site consists of 57 acres and stands on the former site of Century Oaks Park, a multi-purpose recreational facility for IBM employees and their families. The park was so named for the century-old trees contained within. The land was purchased from IBM, and demolition of the park began in 2004.

Additional land for The Domain is being reclaimed from vacant IBM manufacturing and administrative buildings, as well as driveways and parking lots that were once part of the original IBM campus.

The developers were granted tax subsidies in 2003 from the City of Austin and Travis County. Total developer compensation from taxpayer money over the life of the agreement could reach $60 million. The developer keeps 80 percent of the city's sales tax for the first five years and 50 percent for the next 15 years. Plus, 25 percent of the property tax is rebated back to the developer for the entire 20-year period. The city of Austin expects to take in about $40 million in sales and property taxes over the 20 years of the incentive agreement.
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2007, 6:17 PM
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I am really excited about what they are doing up there and I can't wait to see some of the cranes for these larger buildings to pop up. Has anybody heard any updated news about the Twelve Hotel at the Domain? When is construction on it supposed to start and is it still slated to be 28 stories?
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Old Posted Oct 21, 2007, 11:41 PM
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What I'm really excited about is the idea of being able to go downtown, park there, and take a train to the Domain and vise-versa. Can you imagine? Also if they ever get a line coming south of the river you'd pretty much not even need a car then for your transportation all the way to North Austin. Amazing.
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 1:42 PM
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What I'm really excited about is the idea of being able to go downtown, park there, and take a train to the Domain and vise-versa. Can you imagine? Also if they ever get a line coming south of the river you'd pretty much not even need a car then for your transportation all the way to North Austin. Amazing.
GRRR. M1EK SMASH.

Try parking downtown, riding shuttle bus to Convention Center (no parking at train station itself or any of the next three), riding infrequently running train up to Domain (every half hour during rush hour but limited reverse commute support; only one trip in middle of day; probably none on weekends), transferring to shuttle bus, riding shuttle bus to Domain, then getting off.

Versus just driving to Domain.
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 2:25 PM
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What I'm really excited about is the idea of being able to go downtown, park there, and take a train to the Domain and vise-versa. Can you imagine?
No, I can't imagine downtown as an ideal park-and-ride lot.

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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 2:29 PM
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Man, I love the sound of all this, but I-35 is going to be a nightmare, and the toll projects won't do enough to relieve it. How are the mass transit plans correlated with this new area???
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 3:39 PM
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The first commuter rail line will link downtown and this domain/arboretum area.

Personally I can and do walk anywhere downtown from the convention center [the downtown stop location]. From the Burnet Rd. stop [5 stops from downtown I believe] I would be more than happy to walk anywhere in the Domain.

M1 will follow proven analytical methods with his distances and I agree with these... however with the train running so infrequently you will have a few hundred poeple that wil do that type of walking. If the train ran more frequently I would be concerned.
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 4:51 PM
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The first commuter rail line will link downtown and this domain/arboretum area.

Personally I can and do walk anywhere downtown from the convention center [the downtown stop location]. From the Burnet Rd. stop [5 stops from downtown I believe] I would be more than happy to walk anywhere in the Domain.
Have you ever actually tried to walk anywhere up there? Granted, fifty years from now, if the area is redeveloped, it might not be horrible (would still be way too long), but right now you'll spend about half of the walk in a ditch.

Hint: I used to work in the pink IBM buildings, and rode my bike up/down both Burnet and Metric a few times. Even guys like me would drive to the rec site on the other side (where the Domain is now) because the walk was so unpleasant.
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 6:39 PM
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Man, I love the sound of all this, but I-35 is going to be a nightmare, and the toll projects won't do enough to relieve it. How are the mass transit plans correlated with this new area???
Glad you brought up about the traffic on I-35. Its been more than a month since SH130 opened from 290 E to 71 near the airport and it just proves my assumption that these toll roads are not going to do Jack crap in lessening I-35 traffic. The state swore it would help but it hasnt. Its just as bad as ever and no toll road is going to change that. We need to do something about I-35 and we need to do it now. The city government should push the state and Federal Governments to do something about it make it a top priority on the national transportation system for upgrading.
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 7:01 PM
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NO new road is ever going to clear up I-35, because people will just fill in the empty space on I-35. The point of SH-130 is to give people an alternative to I-35, but the state couldn't get past its developer-loving split personality enough to build a good bypass, so it's doing a poor job at both being a bypass and being a sprawl-inducer.

And, no, I-35 will never be expanded downtown. If/when the magical tens of billions of dollars show up, oil prices will make it moot.
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Old Posted Oct 22, 2007, 7:32 PM
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The state and/or federal governments won't do anything to fix I-35. They suggested a quadruple-decker freeway, so that tells you what's going through their mind.

And it's not I-35 we should be worrying about when talking about this second downtown... 183 and Mopac are the two freeways we should be concerned about. For example, South Mopac at 183 goes from 3 lanes to 2 lanes because the 183 flyover is an exit-only lane. I've never seen that flyover backed up in the 8 years I've lived here.

Oh, and don't forget the frontage roads that don't cross over the RR tracks between Braker and Burnet. Who the heck thought of that?
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2007, 3:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrewDizzle View Post
No, I can't imagine downtown as an ideal park-and-ride lot.
Well now, of course not. I'm not saying downtown should be a park and ride lot. lol That came out wrong. I was more excited about the idea of being able to take a train between downtown and The Domain, or to any point in between.
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2007, 1:10 PM
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Well now, of course not. I'm not saying downtown should be a park and ride lot. lol That came out wrong. I was more excited about the idea of being able to take a train between downtown and The Domain, or to any point in between.
OK, except you can't.

You can take the train from the Convention Center to a train station behind the pink buildings at IBM - which is nowhere near The Domain. Shuttle-bus ride on each end (maybe walk the downtown end). Only if reverse-commute service is running that time of day. And the spots in between you can hit? Plaza Saltillo, to which you could take a bus in about three minutes. And don't forget Lamar at Airport. YEE-HAW!
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2007, 1:36 PM
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Just curious... Where will the initial stations be located? I've seen a list, but I'm not sure if all will open at the time the line begins service. Highland Mall's stop comes to mind as one that will not open initially.
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