Notice cranes in the Austin skyline or fenced-off city blocks with deep holes in the ground? The constant construction is building the Austin of tomorrow, including five major mixed-use developments that span the South shore of Lady Bird Lake to the northeast tech corridor and are due to be completed over the next two decades.
EastVillage is a forthcoming mixed-use development in Northeast Austin. (EastVillage)
This $1 billion, 425-acre mixed-use development will be located on Parmer Lane, across from the Samsung Austin Semiconductor plant and in the heart of the northeast tech corridor. Developer Reger Holdings refers to the area as Austin's Upper East Side.
The first phase of the project, which includes a 312-unit apartment complex, recently broke ground and is due to be completed next spring. By 2028, when the development is expected to be completed, it will feature 2,000 multifamily units, 466 single-family homes, three hotels, 319,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 810,000 square feet of office space and 150 acres of wooded preserve.
The Capitol Complex will add a tree-lined pedestrian promenade on Congress Avenue between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. (Texas Facilities Commission)
The Texas Capitol Complex master plan is a state effort that aims to centralize state agencies and construct a pedestrian mall along Congress Avenue between 16th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The $895 million project is due to be completed in three phases, according to the Texas Facilities Commission. The first phase includes the construction of two new state office buildings, the pedestrian mall and a two-story water utility plant, which are due to be completed between July and next May. The second phase is expected to be finished in 2025. There is also the possibility of a third phase, although funding and a timeframe have not yet been established.
The HealthSouth redevelopment has been called a catalyst project for the city's burgeoning health innovation district. (City of Austin)
The city's burgeoning health innovation district—a nexus of academic, business and public tenants focused on new health policies, systems and products—includes Dell Medical School, Dell Seton Medical Center and the redeveloped HealthSouth property.
Austin City Council recently entered into preliminary negotiations with Aspen Heights Partners regarding HealthSouth and its parking garage, on Red River Street, which could serve as the district's catalyst project. As proposed, it would include multi-bedroom affordable housing and affordable on-site childcare, live music and art venue space and publicly accessible open spaces.
Over the next decade, the district could create nearly 3,000 jobs, increase land value and property tax revenue, and generate $800 million in economic output, according to an analysis commissioned by the Downtown Austin Alliance.
South Central Waterfront
The South Central Waterfront plan will guide redevelopment of the area's 32 private parcels, the largest of which is the Austin American-Statesman building. (Endeavor)
Austin City Council adopted the South Central Waterfront Framework Plan in 2016, which will guide the redevelopment of 118 acres along Lady Bird Lake over the next 20 years. The area is made up of 32 private parcels, including the Austin American-Statesman property.
The $252 million plan charts out a network of connected green streets, public open spaces and a goal of 530 new affordable housing units. As proposed, the Statesman site will be redeveloped to include several buildings, some as high as 40 stories; an extension of Barton Springs Road from South Congress Avenue to East Riverside Drive; and 12.5 acres of public space, including a waterfront park.
The Austin Economic Development Corporation, which is helping to manage the plan, intends to create a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, to help finance the project, which would require approval from Austin City Council. A TIRZ uses future tax revenue to finance new development.
The controversial River Park development is due to open in phases over the next two decades. (Sasaki)
This 97-acre mixed use development is slated for the intersection of Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road and will include more than 400 affordable housing units as well as 10 million square feet of offices, shops, hotels, parks and homes. It is scheduled to be built in phases over the next two decades, with a preliminary start date planned for 2023.
Bordered by Guerrero Park and Country Club Creek, the development will include access to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail and more than 30 acres of public parkland and urban trails. It will also be served by a forthcoming light rail line planned under Project Connect.
Developed by Presidium, River Park has faced controversy and prompted concerns about gentrification. Defend Our Hoods—a local advocacy organization that Austin police has said overlaps with the antifa group Mike Ramos Brigade—protested zoning changes for the site, which its members call the Domain on Riverside. The University of Texas at Austin student government also asked Austin City Council to vote against the changes or replace the affordable student housing currently in the area.
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East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
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