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  #681  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 12:16 PM
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I agree that it's naive to call the Domain a second downtown or a "midtown" or "uptown" to Austin, but I think in time the developers and marketers will realize that this is silly and retool their advertising scheme. The simple fact is, the Domain is too far away to be considered a second city center both mentally and physically.

For example, Uptown Houston is not that close to Downtown, Midtown Manhattan is not very close to the Financial District, Downtown LA is at a considerable distance from Century City and the Westside, to name a few...however, there is enough going on between the two nodes of those cities to keep their respective two major nodes connected.

Currently, the majority of all activity in Austin is still centered around Downtown, and aside from the A-ring border of new mixed-use projects surrounding the the Domain's main shopping center, it is still nestled within a web of freeways, boulevards and subdivisions. If Austin's north side were to blossom into a network of districts similar to LA's center of gravity between Downtown and Century, or Houston's developing critical mass between Downtown and Up, then the Domain could see an increased vitality. Truthfully, at present, I'd liken it more to The Woodlands, outside of Houston, or to La Cantera in San Antonio than to, say, even Buckhead in Atlanta. At best, it has potential to become a sort of satellite "city" within the greater Austin area...and the developers would be wise to market it as such, so at least the residents and businesses they sell/lease to will know what they're really in for.
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  #682  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 1:01 PM
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I think SSP posters are the only people referring to the Domain as a second Downtown. As I recall it was only mentioned by the developer as a possibility a few years ago in one article. We keep giving that nonsense traction.
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  #683  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 2:12 PM
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If the Domain ever becomes a "2nd" downtown I will eat my hat. Thats like calling 281 or the Quarry San Antonio's "2nd" downtown.

If anything is a possibility for that honor it's going to be the new area North of the Capital and South of downtown... which I know is probably properly part of "downtown".. but we have a very large downtown in square miles, the likelyhood is it will be 50 years before Austin is going to really be in need of something like that.
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  #684  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 4:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SecretAgentMan View Post
Most of the streets in Domain are private. Cap Metro can't run buses on them without the owner's consent. To date, they have not wanted buses inside the property. The Alliance for Public Transit is running a campaign to try and convince the Domain to allow Cap Metro access.
Oh, wow, I never knew that. Well, it be nice if they did allow it. It would be smart for the Domain to let it happen as well. It would bring them more foot traffic and bring them more business.

Speaking of being private streets... wouldn't that say in and of itself that it's not really a neighborhood?
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  #685  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 6:45 PM
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I think if the developers/owners of the Domain truly want it to be a success they'll have to change the perception of it being just a private property shopping center. The fact that Capitol Metro isn't allowed access there and that there aren't any pedestrians at night (and probably few during the day even), pretty much proves it just comes off feeling like a mall. People go where they feel comfortable, and I'm not talking about crime. I'm talking about just your average person not wanting to go somewhere if they think they aren't supposed to be there, like around a shopping center at say 2 am. Have you ever driven, walked or biked through a shopping center parking lot at that hour? You feel like you shouldn't be there, like you're trespassing. I think most people would worry they'd be hassled by security for being there at that hour. And they'd be right. Also for us photographers who enjoy taking photos of our city, we could be run out of the Domain and not allowed to take photos on the basis that it's private property. In downtown that doesn't happen. If you're on a public street, even if you're photographing a private property, it could be a house, a Dunkin' Donuts, or the Frost Bank Tower. You'd have the right to stand there and take a picture because you're on a public street and not on their property. I will say one thing, I was surprised they let Google Street Cars in there to photograph the area. Most of the time Google Streetview doesn't photograph streets or roadways that aren't public/city streets, so it's interesting that they were allowed to do that.
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  #686  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 7:30 PM
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I don't think the Domain is overly interested in Bus Stops going there.

The Domain is going for a higher end clientel in both the food and stores that are there. While you do have some of your mall staple stores at the Domain, it's also the only Nieman, Barney's or Burberry in Austin.

My guess is the Domain doesn't want bus stops there because thethey don't want people who ride the bus at the Domain. Or more importantly, they want their heigh end clients to feel like shopping at the domain is an "exclusive" experience reserved for the wealthly and the 30,000 dollar millionairres who like to think they are wealthy.

Not that this view is "right", but I think it's the reality of the situation.

I say this as someone who had a 17 year old girl roll her eyes at me and mutter "I hate people" to her mom at the Bergdorf Goodman in midtown while she was trying to look at some 10,000 dollar jeans.
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  #687  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 7:45 PM
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Originally Posted by StoOgE View Post
I don't think the Domain is overly interested in Bus Stops going there.

The Domain is going for a higher end clientel in both the food and stores that are there. While you do have some of your mall staple stores at the Domain, it's also the only Nieman, Barney's or Burberry in Austin.

My guess is the Domain doesn't want bus stops there because thethey don't want people who ride the bus at the Domain. Or more importantly, they want their heigh end clients to feel like shopping at the domain is an "exclusive" experience reserved for the wealthly and the 30,000 dollar millionairres who like to think they are wealthy.

Not that this view is "right", but I think it's the reality of the situation.

I say this as someone who had a 17 year old girl roll her eyes at me and mutter "I hate people" to her mom at the Bergdorf Goodman in midtown while she was trying to look at some 10,000 dollar jeans.
Well, after reading this... i just don't see how anyone on here could like the Domain at all. I also don't see why we, the progressives, would support the Domain and its brand in any way even if its "infill" or "mixed-use". It's beginning to sound like a terrible terrible development on all cylinders. If we want to adapt "urbanism" and "diversity" this project isn't a good presentation at all. Period.
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  #688  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 7:53 PM
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Originally Posted by migol24 View Post
Well, after reading this... i just don't see how anyone on here could like the Domain at all. I also don't see why we, the progressives, would support the Domain and its brand in any way even if its "infill" or "mixed-use". It's beginning to sound like a terrible terrible development on all cylinders.
Well, the thing to remember is that the Domain is a mall. A mall with wine bars and resteraunts that is open late and you can live there if you just really love the mall. Also, there are hotel there. In case you ever woke up and were like "Man, you know what I'd love? To vacation at a mall". It has some nightlife until around 12PM most nights because of North and that wine bar next to North. The rest of it is pretty dead after 9PM-10PM.

But it's not really urban. I mean, even if you lived there and you wanted to go to the new whole foods once it opens you would basically have to drive to the Whole Foods and then drive back to your apartment.

The upside is, it will probably help redevelop a part of town that needed it. With the Pickle research center taking up a large swath of space it would take a large scale destination like this to anchor redevelopment. IIRC it replaced a driving range.

All that said, I really like Barneys. They sell Nudie Jeans :p
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  #689  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 8:10 PM
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Originally Posted by StoOgE View Post
Well, the thing to remember is that the Domain is a mall. A mall with wine bars and resteraunts that is open late and you can live there if you just really love the mall. Also, there are hotel there. In case you ever woke up and were like "Man, you know what I'd love? To vacation at a mall". It has some nightlife until around 12PM most nights because of North and that wine bar next to North. The rest of it is pretty dead after 9PM-10PM.

But it's not really urban. I mean, even if you lived there and you wanted to go to the new whole foods once it opens you would basically have to drive to the Whole Foods and then drive back to your apartment.

The upside is, it will probably help redevelop a part of town that needed it. With the Pickle research center taking up a large swath of space it would take a large scale destination like this to anchor redevelopment. IIRC it replaced a driving range.

All that said, I really like Barneys. They sell Nudie Jeans :p
Yes, that's the contention that's being made. Many include the Domain, or at least some here on ssp, as a neighborhood, when what we are saying is that it is nothing more than just a shopping mall with condos.

Its original plan was intended to be a 2nd downtown. The current plans would be to develop the entire area just like the Domain. So imagine if the entire area becomes one huge block of a mall and all of it is designed to where no transportation passes through it. Essentially the entire area from Mopac to Braker Ln would be catered to rich people who drive to it in their Prius. That doesn't sound like a good plan at all.

The entire area was envisioned to promote density and mixed-use projects. What its beginning to sound like, is the same thing that happened in the 60s when they built I-35 segregating essentially the minorities from downtown. Only instead of a freeway, you're building wide parking lots and make it increasingly difficult for foot traffic to get there.
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  #690  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 8:18 PM
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Let me jump right in and say that I think the Domain is an upscale shit hole. It is devoid of any soul. It is basically a destination shopping mall disguised as some kind of urban village. It is a village with no pedestrian access unless you count driving your car to a parking structure or parking lot and then walking as true pedestrian activity. I agree that local SSP forumers (who are often overly enthusiastic about any project that they think will generate some kind of skyline) have jumped on the hype bandwagon about this pox of a development. I just refuse to go there. I'd rather patronize the Arboretum or Barton Square. At least those two venues don't try to pretend to be anything other than what they are. Plus the view from the parking lot at Barton Square looking towards downtown can't be beat. It reminds you that there is a real center to this state of mind we call Austin. The Domain just plain sucks. Let's stop talking about it.
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  #691  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 9:01 PM
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Yes, that's the contention that's being made. Many include the Domain, or at least some here on ssp, as a neighborhood, when what we are saying is that it is nothing more than just a shopping mall with condos.

Its original plan was intended to be a 2nd downtown. The current plans would be to develop the entire area just like the Domain. So imagine if the entire area becomes one huge block of a mall and all of it is designed to where no transportation passes through it. Essentially the entire area from Mopac to Braker Ln would be catered to rich people who drive to it in their Prius. That doesn't sound like a good plan at all.

The entire area was envisioned to promote density and mixed-use projects. What its beginning to sound like, is the same thing that happened in the 60s when they built I-35 segregating essentially the minorities from downtown. Only instead of a freeway, you're building wide parking lots and make it increasingly difficult for foot traffic to get there.
I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I think it's a pretty bad development if what you wantted was an urban development or 2nd downtown. These outdoor mall concepts were all the craze 5-10 years ago because people got this really foolish notion that they were urban. When they look and smell like a shopping mall.

You can't force an "urban" environment where there isn't one and density doesn't make it urban or pedestrian friendly. Throwing apartments onto the top of a shopping mall and connecting parking garages to sidewalks was never going to make that part of Austin Urban. The Triangle is a better attempt at an Urban environment in Austin, and the new mixed use stuff on South Lamar near downtown even better. 2nd street a roaring success. The things these have in common is they are already in largely walkable parts of town with good retail, dining and nightlife in the area.

You can't just decide to build an urban core in the middle of a field.

I would argue that the Riverside development in Clinton/Upper West Side or Battery Park City are both largely "suburban" despite being in the most densely populated island in the country for many of the same reasons. I was looking at an apartment for a friend this weekend on 11th avenue and 57th street. 5 blocks from Columbus circle.. and I had to walk most of the way to Columbus Circle before anything approaching street life reared it's head. Lots of 600 unit high rise apartment buildings, but nothing "Urban".

A strong urban core is something you can foster or encourage, or even stimulate... but it's not something you can will into existance.
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  #692  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 9:08 PM
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Let me jump right in and say that I think the Domain is an upscale shit hole. It is devoid of any soul. It is basically a destination shopping mall disguised as some kind of urban village. It is a village with no pedestrian access unless you count driving your car to a parking structure or parking lot and then walking as true pedestrian activity. I agree that local SSP forumers (who are often overly enthusiastic about any project that they think will generate some kind of skyline) have jumped on the hype bandwagon about this pox of a development. I just refuse to go there. I'd rather patronize the Arboretum or Barton Square. At least those two venues don't try to pretend to be anything other than what they are. Plus the view from the parking lot at Barton Square looking towards downtown can't be beat. It reminds you that there is a real center to this state of mind we call Austin. The Domain just plain sucks. Let's stop talking about it.
AMEN. Back to the real mutha fuckin Downtown!
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  #693  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by StoOgE View Post
I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I think it's a pretty bad development if what you wantted was an urban development or 2nd downtown. These outdoor mall concepts were all the craze 5-10 years ago because people got this really foolish notion that they were urban. When they look and smell like a shopping mall.

You can't force an "urban" environment where there isn't one and density doesn't make it urban or pedestrian friendly. Throwing apartments onto the top of a shopping mall and connecting parking garages to sidewalks was never going to make that part of Austin Urban. The Triangle is a better attempt at an Urban environment in Austin, and the new mixed use stuff on South Lamar near downtown even better. 2nd street a roaring success. The things these have in common is they are already in largely walkable parts of town with good retail, dining and nightlife in the area.

You can't just decide to build an urban core in the middle of a field.

I would argue that the Riverside development in Clinton/Upper West Side or Battery Park City are both largely "suburban" despite being in the most densely populated island in the country for many of the same reasons. I was looking at an apartment for a friend this weekend on 11th avenue and 57th street. 5 blocks from Columbus circle.. and I had to walk most of the way to Columbus Circle before anything approaching street life reared it's head. Lots of 600 unit high rise apartment buildings, but nothing "Urban".

A strong urban core is something you can foster or encourage, or even stimulate... but it's not something you can will into existance.
Ok, understood! Some things just got lost in translation there.

And ditto on the Triangle. It's exactly what I definitely feel the Domain should have gone for.

Last edited by migol24; Jul 24, 2012 at 10:35 PM.
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  #694  
Old Posted Jul 24, 2012, 11:11 PM
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Again, migol24, you miss the point. I'm not saying it's a neighborhood right now. The point is that the buildings and streets will be there longer than the current retailers or owners. In fact, one day it will just be another (public) part of the city and buses will run on it all the time. What's important is the buildings. It wouldn't matter if the place were run by full-fledged Nazis. Austin benefits from the buildings they will leave behind when they're gone.

You see, a lot of people can't venture to think in the long-term like this, but I do. Whether the roads are private or public transportation goes there are small, fleeting issues. In the long term, it won't even be a question. The mixed-use buildings will remain, and they will be a legitimate part of our wider urban fabric.

I, for one, think simply building mixed-use and creating demand for mixed-use living has value, because it will lead to more being built and a change in the paradigm. Instead of developers building box stores and subdivisions of suburban houses, they'll be tempted/pressured to build mixed-use. And when/if the shit hits the fan and the economy collapses (again), high-end retailers will close up shop and move and hopefully more practical and useful tenants (like grocers) will move into that retail space.

Lots of you are looking for cool points in denouncing the Domain, but I still think that's a bit contrived and myopic. No one is saying that it's anything close to a second downtown, at all. No one.
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  #695  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2012, 2:20 AM
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You can sign the petition to get bus service in the Domain here:

http://allianceforpublictransportation.org/

The "2nd Downtown" reference was a quote from former Council Member Brewster McCracken. He was actually referring to the North Burnet Gateway Master Plan, and specifically the TOD zone around the Kramer Lane station. It allows buildings up to 300 feet or so, and was used as precedence to allow taller buildings within the Domain like the Twelve project.

None of this guarantees the area will ever be anything like a 2nd Downtown, but there is potential for the area to be significantly denser and more mixed-use than just about any other 'suburban' location in Central Texas. The Domain is an indication of the potential of the market for this type of development, although significant retail outside of the Domain itself is more limited.
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  #696  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2012, 2:54 AM
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I think the Domain is a nice place based on what it really is. But I've never gotten used to it's being right in probably the most drab looking area in the city. Parts of the surrounding area are really disgusting eyesores. And I don't know how that area is ever going to be any different than it is now. Well, at least anytime soon.
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  #697  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2012, 3:23 AM
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In that link it says that are working on building more than 543 multi family units at the Domain...That would be huge, the 400+ foot tower downtown will only have 359....I wonder what that is.
No. It the units it mentioned have nothing to do with Novare-Andrews Urban.
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  #698  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2012, 3:23 AM
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maybe the perception of the Domain will be different when its all done in a few years or so.
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  #699  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2012, 4:46 AM
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No. It the units it mentioned have nothing to do with Novare-Andrews Urban.
That was in reference to a link to Graystar, not Novare Andrews.
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  #700  
Old Posted Jul 25, 2012, 6:34 AM
migol24 migol24 is offline
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Again, migol24, you miss the point. I'm not saying it's a neighborhood right now. The point is that the buildings and streets will be there longer than the current retailers or owners. In fact, one day it will just be another (public) part of the city and buses will run on it all the time. What's important is the buildings. It wouldn't matter if the place were run by full-fledged Nazis. Austin benefits from the buildings they will leave behind when they're gone.

You see, a lot of people can't venture to think in the long-term like this, but I do. Whether the roads are private or public transportation goes there are small, fleeting issues. In the long term, it won't even be a question. The mixed-use buildings will remain, and they will be a legitimate part of our wider urban fabric.

I, for one, think simply building mixed-use and creating demand for mixed-use living has value, because it will lead to more being built and a change in the paradigm. Instead of developers building box stores and subdivisions of suburban houses, they'll be tempted/pressured to build mixed-use. And when/if the shit hits the fan and the economy collapses (again), high-end retailers will close up shop and move and hopefully more practical and useful tenants (like grocers) will move into that retail space.

Lots of you are looking for cool points in denouncing the Domain, but I still think that's a bit contrived and myopic. No one is saying that it's anything close to a second downtown, at all. No one.
What makes you think I'm not understanding you? I get what you're saying completely. What I'm saying is that for now, what it is is not a neighborhood and only time will tell if it will or will not become a neighborhood and that we should also keep close tabs as a community by not letting this kind of development to continue by paving huge parking lots without any proper public transportation. What's gonna happen to the huge parking lots that surround this "future neighborhood"? If it becomes public domain in the future, how do you think we're gonna stop some corporate businesses to continue paving more parking lots, banning more public transportation and catering only to rich folks? You wanna wait another 30 years for that to happen, or until "shit hits the fence" again? This example is best illustrated in the Seaholm Power Plant. What was it, 50 years after we've decided to make use of it in an urban mixed way(not sure when its original use was abandoned)? Well we had that opportunity but voila, another project bites the dust to some corporation and what was hyped to be a "mixed use project" now will only serve for offices.

What I'm saying is this, what's with this attitude of "well maybe its not progress but at least it's something" attitude? Nah man, grow some balls of steel, gather as a community and protest that shit. At some point we gotta realize that one step forward, two steps back approach really isn't progress. Austin is growing really really fast and quite frankly there is no time for these types of developments to keep happening just so that we can wait for "shit to hit the fence" then we'll see some mom-and-pop shops starting to gear steam another 20 years from now. To me, quite frankly, that is not progress.

Ultimately, I respect your views, and I hope that it happens the way you predict. How long would it take for that to happen is the big question cause I'm getting a little tired of Texas developing another pseudo-urban development and everyone praising it as progress. I don't understand that mentality, but who knows maybe it will work eventually. I've just yet to see a true urban landscape anywhere in Texas and that's where "shit really hits the fence".

And also... just to make things clear. I've said this before that I'm actually not quite as passionately against the Domain, per se. I enjoyed going there, well because it looks a little cool to me and I liked going to the Apple store there and it definitely beat going to Barton Creek Mall. I'm just calling it as it is. The Domain ain't really "progress". And as for people's denouncing of the project. It's completely warranted to an extent if you ask me. Unless you really really really like shopping malls that much.

Last edited by migol24; Jul 25, 2012 at 7:11 AM.
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