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  #1  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 12:18 AM
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Shooting through the smoke in Austin


Every May it's always the same, farmers in Mexico burn off brush and weeds in their fields, and we get the smoke from it thanks to gulf breezes. It can make photography this time of year kind of difficult.

The view from Saint Edward's University in South Austin.








South Congress.



























Rainey Street. In 2005 this single family neighborhood that is part of downtown was rezoned for higher density development. Since then a handful of residential highrises have sprung up. Some more that are proposed for this area could be some of the tallest buildings in Austin, including one 65-story tower. Many of the remaining homes have been turned into bars















The crane on the left is working on what will be the tallest building in South Austin. It's a 19-story apartment tower. It'll be the tallest building between downtown Austin and the north side of San Antonio.







I-35 traffic.


























































































Keep an eye on this area of the skyline.











~Thanks for looking.

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  #2  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 1:04 AM
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Doesn't look too smokey! The change in Austin's skyline over the last several years has been astonishing.
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  #3  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 1:40 AM
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Some new vantage points I've never seen...Austin's skyline either looks super spread out or super dense depending on the angle, but it continues to look better from all angles!
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 2:35 AM
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Everytime there's a new Austin thread I swear its a different city. Judging by the cranes and construction, I'll see a different one next time, too. Good shots.
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  #5  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 3:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fflint View Post
Doesn't look too smokey! The change in Austin's skyline over the last several years has been astonishing.
I cleaned these up quite a bit. May is sort of the last cool month before we get into the summer heat, so even with the yucky smoke, I try to get out for photos as much as possible.

Thanks, guys.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 3:26 AM
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Brilliant as always. Thank you Kevin!
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 4:10 AM
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Austin is surely coming along nicely. I'm really enjoying the city's growing skyline. Thanks for posting these.
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  #8  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 5:26 AM
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This is definitely not a Chamber of Commerce shot. The Travis County Criminal Justice Center and the ugly Westgate condo tower which arguably planted the seed for the Capitol View Corridors which have seriously curtailed downtown high rise development.

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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 5:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
I cleaned these up quite a bit. May is sort of the last cool month before we get into the summer heat, so even with the yucky smoke, I try to get out for photos as much as possible.

Thanks, guys.
Nice pictures. The smoke from the Mexico/Central America agricultural fires doesn't seem as bad this year as in previous years. I guess the prevailing wind direction is the difference.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 5:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fflint View Post
Doesn't look too smokey! The change in Austin's skyline over the last several years has been astonishing.
It really is, I grew up in northern California and when we came here Austins downtown was neck n neck with Sacramento. At that time both cities had lots of towers planned during the boom. Seems like most of Sacramentos got cancelled and all of Austins got built. It's fueled by tech and Univ of Texas and their huge alumni base.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 8:33 AM
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Kevin, this is my favorite picture:



There still isn't anything that yet centers the skyline, so it's good when you can find something natural - the river in this case - to pull it all together.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 1:06 PM
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^ Good point LMich.

I like this shot:



A strong tall in the middle would really make a bold statement.

All that said, Austin first came on my radar back in the 60s. This is definately not the same city. The change since then is astounding. Great stuff.

Thanks for the pics Kevin, look forward to more.
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  #13  
Old Posted May 29, 2013, 7:41 PM
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There might be a major tower on the way that would be in the middle of the picture that Ex-Ithacan posted above.

In the middle of that photo there is a midrise just below and to the right of the Frost Bank Tower. It's that silver colored one. The block across the street to the north of that building (to the left from this angle), is a completely vacant full block that has no height restrictions placed on it. Travis County purchased that block a while back with the idea in mind to replace the aging county courthouse. The old courthouse which is a 7 blocks north of there was built in 1930. So as you can imagine it's very crowded. The plan for this vacant block is for a 17-story courthouse tower. We haven't seen any artist renderings yet, but there are massing renderings showing several different scenarios indicating the size/height and possible layout of the development. The county wants 500,000 square feet of space. This could be in a tower of 250 to 300 feet tall according to the rendering. But this courthouse tower would only occupy half of the block. The block is cleared for up to 1.9 million square feet of space. So it would be possible to put another tower on the other half of the block with up to 1.4 million square feet of space. The county is thinking of partnering with a private developer to let the other half of the block be developed with private space. This could be a hotel or residential space or a combination of that with office space. There are several different scenarios that include two separate towers, one for the courthouse and the private tower. Or the courthouse could be on the lower floors. The shortest plan has the courthouse occupying the base of the development with two towers rising above the podium to about 650 feet and 46 floors. The tallest plan has two towers, one for the courthouse and one private tower. The private tower would be 70 floors and easily 900 feet according to the diagram they showed. In the photo above that Ex-Ithacan posted, the large blue rectangular tower to the right of the Frost Bank Tower is the W Austin Hotel & Residences. In the massing diagram I'm looking at, the private tower would be at least twice as tall as that tower. The W Austin Hotel & Residences is 472 feet tall with 37 floors. There's even a chance that private tower could be a supertall, although that hasn't be mentioned.

As of February the county was looking for consultants on the courthouse project. They're planning to let this go to voters to decide on the funding, which worries me a little. Regardless, the county is running out of space and most of the buildings are old and are costly to repair. Whatever gets built on that block will have no height restrictions to contend with and it's cleared for a lot of space.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 7:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fflint View Post
The change in Austin's skyline over the last several years has been astonishing.
I was thinking the same. Can't exactly remember how it was when I first came to the forum, so the impression may be inaccurate, but it looks like it almost doubled since then to me.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 7:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
...They're planning to let this go to voters to decide on the funding, which worries me a little...
It worries me a lot that the voters will decide this. Austin's rapid growth and downtown development have led to lot of people wanting to put the brakes on everything.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 8:27 PM
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I was trying to think of a recent US parallel to the explosion of the Austin skyline and I really can't. Charlotte in the 1990s is close, but that was really just 4-5 office towers (though hugely transformative in their own right).

I used to think of Austin in that same 'Sacramento' type skyline category as well. It's clearly not.

I suppose the next ideal leap would be a few more towers in the 600-800ft range. Even just one or two.
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Old Posted May 29, 2013, 8:59 PM
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There are at least 2 stated possibilities (meaning announced) for towers in the 700 to 900 foot range. There's also a few other projects being kicked around and a couple of properties that are being eyed that could include something of considerable size. The one I'm holding out hope on is the so called courthouse block that I mentioned above. It has no height restriction, is away from the river and adjoining neighborhoods, and has an allowed build out that would let a large tower be there.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 2:36 AM
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Austin's looking good!
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 5:15 AM
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Austin is easily the nicest city in Texas. Orlando's skyline blossomed in the mid to late 2000's but geesh Austin's went all supernova it seems.
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Old Posted May 30, 2013, 7:37 AM
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I've heard Austin is a nice place to live, anyway the new buildings look pretty good; and great photos. Thanks for posting.
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