downtown austin is changing
You’re either going to love or hate this.
I’ve identified 97 major changes to downtown Austin. From skyscrapers to a bike-share system to massive annual parties, this city is going through an unparalleled growth spurt that is altering the way people live, work and play downtown.
In no particular order, here’s what’s popping up — or will soon. Don't forget to click the links to see the photos, renderings and stories with each item.
And a bigger Fan Fest downtown promises to rev up the nightlife surrounding November’s Formula 1 race.
When X Games rolls through, downtown will play a major role.
Waller Center, a complex of three towers, is just one of 97 things that'll change downtown Austin as we know it. But it's not all skyscrapers. Expect more walking trails, bike kiosks and annual parties that'll consume city streets.
This new University of Texas dorm on the northern fringe of downtown is worthy of MTV show "Cribs." Have a look.
Due Forni, Italianese for “two ovens,” will make its local debut in mid-October in the historic Littlefield Building downtown.
Austin is outgrowing its City Hall and city workers are pouring into adjacent office space originally built for tech company CSC Corp.
Five of Austin’s biggest office towers are getting new owners, though the faces in management will likely stay the same.
A downtown train system is getting people talking.
And for suburban commuters, Capital Metro’s Red Line also just got a big boost.
The historic Scarbrough Building is getting a makeover. We gave readers a peek before you needed the secret password to get in.
These three sister skyscrapers on the drawing board are getting cheers from those who appreciate urbanism and jeers from those who hate to see Austin grow up.
A Houston software company that just picked up funding is about to land downtown.
Lumber from the old Spaghetti Warehouse on Fourth Street is finding a new home in the lush hills of Northwest Austin. By the way, they're still working on that old building.
Travis County Courthouse planners are still trying to figure out how big to build on one of the few remaining parking lots downtown.
The new Departure Lounge offers patrons an odd mix of coffee, wine and travel – plus some pretty cool chairs.
Construction is under way on a five-story office tower at Congress Avenue and Fifth Street between the Frost Bank and Bank of America towers. For years it was a bank branch.
Down by the river at the site of the old Green Water Treatment Plant, the plan for a skyscraper about 40 stories high is coming into focus. Be sure to click the link in that story so you can see the rendering on Skyscraper’s page, where commentors are slamming it for being akin to the decades-old buildings dotting Dallas’ Galleria area.
Oh, and it was supposed to be space for a nonprofit and a bunch of other stuff that would bring in millions of dollars of new taxes, but city officials have decided to save these big trees at the appropriately named Green site.
The old site of bar 219 West on Fourth Street in the Warehouse District is going vertical.
We’re still talking about sinking I-35 underground through parts of downtown. Here’s the skinny on the plans from state transportation planners.
Hotel Van Zandt has broken ground on Rainey Street. See what the 322-room hotel will look like here. For the big picture about our changing Rainey Street, see this article.
After moving in a couple of months ago, business incubator TechStars is giving 10 companies a boost from its new downtown home.
It’s not technically downtown but it’s a stone’s throw away, so I’ll mention that there are some spectacular buildings going up at St. Edward’s University in case you hadn’t noticed.
Here’s a sneak peek at a $250 million project on East Riverside Drive called South Shore District. It’s one of a few projects that have downtown’s density popping up south of Lady Bird Lake.
A TV chef is opening this bar on Rainey Street.
And the long-awaited Container Bar is finally in the works after more than a year delay.
The developer of the largest J.W. Marriott in the country, which is going up at Second Street and Congress Avenue, has spent months in a tussle with the city over construction wages and $3.8 million in waived fees.
Gatehouse Media, which operates small newspapers and magazines around the country, is on the hunt for space in or near downtown that can hold 200 employees.
It isn’t the biggest project, but I think this one is among the coolest. I’m looking forward to watching some concerts on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake when that retro-looking building that used to suck water into the Seaholm power plant gets a new life.
A tech company that can tell other companies what you drink, wear and where you go based on Internet data just expanded downtown.
BMW is bullish on electric car sales downtown. This August announcement chronicles the new showroom.
Grab your quick-serve Mexican grub while you can, because the Taco Cabana across from the new Zach Theatre is about to be demolished so nine stories of housing can be built on the waterfront. It was a controversial proposal.
Zilliant Inc. engaged architectural firm Gensler Inc. to come up with some brilliant design ideas for its new space in the Perry Brooks Tower.
Construction started in August on the Westin hotel at East Fifth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard. It’ll rise 17 stories and offer 366 rooms.
A growing startup that manages the Twitter accounts of brands such as Target Corp. and Samsung finds that downtown is the place to be.
Dropbox Inc. is another head-turning tech company hot on downtown.
International Bank of Commerce’s new downtown offices will be the newest addition to the city’s skyline. It’s just a shell now but we have renderings of what the 13-story building will look like here.
New clubs such as Rio proves they can swoop in and grab market share — at least in terms of alcohol sales.
The old spot of Emo’s on Sixth Street doesn’t have a clear fate, but from time to time life is breathed into the building.
An up-and-coming beer company is interested in finding a home downtown.
Austin city officials are working to bring bike-share kiosks to downtown.
If you’d rather bike in the air conditioning, check out this new indoor cycling club downtown.
If it’s been years since you visited the Austin Museum of Art’s Congress Avenue location, you can catch up on the evolving nonprofit here.
The downtown Hyatt is almost done with its expansion.
Three buildings became one. Reporter Jan Buchholz brought in the story.
Toy Joy moved downtown after finding Guadalupe to be a drag. Find a virtual tour of the toy store via this article.
Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. is planning to build a 16-story office building on this site downtown.
Anticipation for Austin’s new medical school on the north side of downtown is building.
When Waller Creek is redone, the clubs along Red River Street could vanish.
At last look, a speculative real estate buyer put on hold plans to get the plot next to the Austonian ready for something huge. You probably know the site as the home of the Austin Children’s Museum.
The bus routes are changing. Capital Metro is moving them off Congress Avenue and onto adjacent streets, and more changes are in the works.
This article is a couple of months old, but it summarizes two new restaurants downtown.
Downtown developers face new rules from Austin City Hall.
The Austin Music Hall staved off redevelopment as office space. But the former owners have since filed bankruptcy.
Many of downtown Austin’s beloved food trailers have had to make use of their mobility due to the building boom.
Speaking of building booms and losing something Austinites loved, RunTex’s flagship store is history.
Fran’s Hamburgers on South Congress Avenue is missed, too. I was driving by as they took down the famous sign so I snapped a picture.
And pretty soon we’ll all say good-bye to the popular bar Lustre Pearl, because it’ll be replaced by a high-rise.
State lawmakers have made it tough for private developers to get their hands on land near the Capitol.
WP Engine moved into Lavaca Plaza. Here’s that story.
And here’s one about your favorite Business Journal moving into the same building. The renovations underway by the relatively new owner Brickman are coming along nicely.
Austin City Hall has been doing a lot to ensure bars, clubs and music venues don’t disturb the growing number of neighbors.
A company that sells cooking oil proves that’s enough to make it downtown.
This jaw-dropping skyscraper, The Fairmont, will undoubtedly alter the downtown skyline.
Speaking of head-turning projects, if you missed the planned revamp of Waller Creek downtown you’ll certainly want to see these renderings.
Downtown Austin proved it’s so cool, that even a sinkhole in the road can become a Twitter sensation.
Auditorium Shores is getting an upgrade.
Restaurant Searsucker opened downtown after being hindered by a fire.
Chick-file-A also debuted, and can probably boast of having the longest lines on opening week.
More offices are going up at Third and Colorado. It’ll be a biggie.
Austin’s building a 21st century library downtown. See what it’ll look like here.
A new music recording studio downtown will give Texas musicians a place to lay down tracks when they aren’t touring or playing local clubs.
The Mansion on Judges’ Hill is getting a new life as a hotel.
Gus’s Fried Chicken is opening a downtown location. I hadn’t heard of the Tennessee-based company until recently, but apparently it’s popular elsewhere.
The debate over whether downtown is going to have too many apartment continues. Here’s what experts say, plus a list of apartment projects in progress and on the horizon.
Popular restaurant Truluck’s in the Warehouse District is taking on a $2.5 million expansion and renovation.
Opal Divine’s had to say good-bye to its downtown spot on West Sixth Street.
Some out-of-town lawyers swooped into Austin and took the top floor of 100 Congress. Since then they’ve been hiring lawyers left and right.
Chipmaker Cirrus Logic Inc. has been not-so-quietly planning an expansion of its downtown campus.
Austin city officials are ready to put some prime land just east of I-35 into developers’ hands.
Some money-minded Houston businesspeople at U.S. Capital Advisors are now doing work out of a downtown office.
A site near Stubb’s Bar-B-Q will go from being an ugly parking garage to a fancy hotel.
Austinites started experimenting with turning downtown alleys into works of art.
The Seaholm Power Plant is on its way to becoming a massive new development that’ll offer homes, shops, offices and public space.
Trader Joe’s is still on track to open at Seaholm.
Austin no longer mandates that developers provide ample parking when they build something downtown.
An office tower is planned to pop up near Whole Foods Market Inc.'s headquarters.
Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, downtown office space is going for an arm, leg and head now. Here’s where we were at mid-year.
Houndstooth Coffee started supplying Frost Bank tenants with liquid energy a few months ago.
Also a few months ago, the famed music venue Antone’s officially left downtown to reopen on East Riverside Drive.
We’re almost done building that mammoth tunnel underneath downtown so Waller Creek won’t flood.
And we continue to make “Great Streets.” Although the Great Streets program is really about creating fabulous sidewalks and skinny streets that urge commuters to leave their cars at home.
Republic Park and the area around it is blossoming. The new federal courthouse is just one of the many new neighbors the park can expect.
Whit Hanks chose this current boom to cash out of downtown. He’s really bullish on the area around Dripping Springs, and that’s where his money has been going lately.
404 Rio Grande, one of the first modern downtown living projects, is getting a new look.
And finally, all those bars burdened by its criminally convicted owners have found new life.
Did I miss anything? Without a doubt, so email me any big changes downtown you know about and I’ll consider including them in this wrap-up or future articles.
Original post: Austin Business Journal
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