In early February, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk told fellow Texas transplant Joe Rogan that Austin was the "biggest boomtown that America has seen in half a century."
Days later, thousands across the city had no access to running water or power as Winter Storm Uri devastated the region.
The jury's still out on whether or not the record-breaking storm will impact the city's recent "Texodus," where thousands of Californians and tech companies began setting their sights on Austin.
Regardless, Austin felt like anything but the nation's most up-and-coming city as residents were forced to endure the cold in their powerless homes and search for drinkable water.
Austin and all of Texas could face a push-and-pull situation as the state decides whether or not to keep some of the policies that may have led to the tech boom in the first place. On one hand, lax taxes, low utility costs and more bang-for-your-buck real estate brought in Californians looking for a cheaper cost of living; on the other, Texans learned the hard way that "you get what you pay for" as city infrastructures failed and the power grid shut down, paradoxically, in the nation's most energy-rich state.
Austinite and Tech Crunch Senior Writer Mary Ann Azevedo said that while she isn't sure where the funding will come from, she hopes to see leaders turn toward the future and invest in city and state infrastructures.
"One would hope but if the past is any indication, we are unlikely to see many changes," Azevedo said. "However, if enough noise is made and change is demanded, then perhaps we will see some changes in terms of investing in updating current infrastructure. Where those funds will come from remains to be seen as it's highly unlikely we'll get state income taxes."
On Friday, Azevedo saw for herself the devastating effects of the storm on an unprepared city. While in the process of rationing bottled water and hoping for her faucets to once again turn on, Azevedo wrote an article for Tech Crunch pondering the question: could this storm set back Austin's recent tech migration?
Azevedo asked the public in a tweet to which she received mixed responses.
Some agreed that the storm was a historic event that Texas could have never properly prepared for. Because of the community's resilience and teamwork, some saw the event as a story of coming together more than the failure of the city or state.
What I saw here in Austin was community coming together
Neighbors helping each other. Taking in friends and strangers. Local restaurants stepping up, even after a year of a pandemic crisis.
I've lived here my entire life, it's the community that makes it great, always will
— Mark Magnuson (@MarkMagnuson) February 19, 2021
Others saw it as a moment of reflection for city and state infrastructure as the economy looks to make up for lost time.
I hope businesses put pressure on politicians to ensure that the infrastructure of TX is sound. The lost productivity over the last several days and potentially into the future is huge, not to mention the lost of life and trauma. (Oh & our offices flooded due to a main break.)
— Kate Moon🇺🇸 (@Katemooooon) February 19, 2021
A few outsiders looking in agreed that they would or had avoided Austin because of its location in Texas in the first place.
I'm not a founder, but I chose to move from SF to Portland, OR rather than Austin precisely BECAUSE Austin (the great city that it is) is located in the state of Texas. 🤷🏽♀️
— Debra J. Farber (@privacyguru) February 18, 2021
Winter Storm Uri may have brought communities together, but it also brought questionable Texas leadership national attention, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz's decision to travel to Mexico during the crisis. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also faced the spotlight after it was revealed that he traveled to Utah in the midst of the storm.
Some said the state's power failure could look costly for companies who may choose to be under different leadership after the storm.
Startups & Tech don't want to have to build out their own utilities in addition to the rest of their infrastructure. Until Texas solves this energy incompetence they will take a pass.
— Clayton Slaughter (@schmubba) February 19, 2021
Of all who answered, Azevedo said she found most thought the winter storm would make no difference on the "Texodus," but she's not so sure that's rooted in logic.
"Mixed reactions, but the majority of people here in Austin and Texas seem to think it will have little to no impact," Azevedo said. "And as many people pointed out, each region has natural disasters that impact them in one way or another. But I think it's a bit unrealistic to think this won't be a turnoff for some."
To Azevedo, the disaster may not take away all of Austin's current allure, but it's likely that some will see the city in a new light after Winter Storm Uri.
"It's tough to say but I do think it does make Austin a little less appealing," Azevedo said. "Here we are supposed to be the next 'boomtown,' yet last week so many of us were either out of power or water, or both—largely due to aging infrastructure on poor decision-making on the part of our leaders. It's not the best look."
Although the power and water failure may not be the greatest advertisement for prospective tech companies, some such as Tesla, Oracle and Samsung have already taken root in Austin. Azevedo said that these companies are undoubtedly unhappy with the situation but likely won't be leaving anytime soon.
"They chose to base their headquarters, build factories or large campuses here for reasons and they will likely stand by those decisions still," Azevedo said. "However, if any of those decision-makers had to endure what many of us did last week, I can imagine it was disappointing and a bit of a reality check."
The hard freeze is over, but Winter Storm Uri's rippling effects will likely be seen for weeks or months. It's hard to say whether that will make Austin, Texas a "boomtown" no more.
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Atop one of Austin's signature rolling hilltops, 1501 Ridgecrest Drive is similar to one of the plush palaces that one might find in Calabasas. For $10.9 million, the home has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and caps at 10,498 square feet.
Park in the massive, fully air-conditioned garage before walking in, where you'll have eight full spaces to park your collection of cars. If you're not a collector, the garage makes an excellent studio space.
The wide-open living spaces will draw your eyes to the two-story ceilings, glass catwalk, integrated fireplace and wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the pool.
Though the house was built in 2011, it doesn't show its age. Sleek, clean lines lead seamlessly from the formal living area to an elite open-plan kitchen. Separated by a 25-foot waterfall island that can seat at least eight people, the kitchen is fitted with only the finest Miele and Subzero appliances. The custom cabinets are just as pricey as the rest of the place, finished with custom high-gloss Aston Martin (you read that right) paint.
Upstairs in the sprawling master's suite, there are enough amenities to never have to set foot outside again. Armani tile floors, space for living and a walk-in showcase closet lead into the resort-style bathroom, where you'll find dual vanities, a walk-in shower and a lounging bathtub.
The bedroom is a quick elevator trip away from the "party" room, complete with a bar, wine room and movie theater, only the best for entertaining. If your guests are staying over, rest assured they'll be comfortable with the kitchenette, washer and dryer and spa-like bath in their suite.
Though summer has passed, you can still enjoy the grand lap pool's unobstructed Hill Country views, many private lounging areas, grill a homemade snack at the outdoor kitchen or shoot some hoops at the newly-added court.
The listing is held by Compass' Gary Dolch.
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In what could be one of their least energetic showing to date, Austin FC was outperformed by home team San Jose in a 4-0 road loss late Wednesday night.
As the first team officially out of playoff contention in a loss on Saturday, the team seemed defeated from almost the moment they hit the pitch as Quakes standouts Chris Wondolowski and Javier "Chofis" Lopez scored on the team.
A 10th-place San Jose maintained a clean sheet in the match as they inched closer to a last-minute spot in playoffs.
Just as they did in their 1-0 loss Saturday, it was Austin FC who struck first in the match. Captain Alex Ring forced a save from Quakes keeper JT Marcinkowski in just the second minute of play, while star forward Sebastian Driussi followed soon after.
A little over 10 minutes later, San Jose responded with a shot of their own as Austin keeper Brad Stuver was forced into action with a diving save. But with a failing backline and a lack of energy throughout, a frustrated Stuver wouldn't be enough to stave off the home team Quakes in their four-goal triumph.
After a slow first half, San Jose star Chofis was the first to strike after sneaking past Stuver to make it 1-0 for the home team to kick off the second half.
Just five minutes later, Quakes midfielder Benjamin Kikanovic broke free with a fast-paced drive in a play that saw two Asutin FC players hit the ground to double the lead. Stuver and other players were immediately outraged in the controversial call after an apparent handball in the box.
MLS' top all-time scorer Chris Wondolowski capitalized on the slow Austin defense next, taking a pause in the box to score the third goal unmanned in the 59th minute.
Finally, Carlos Fierro clinched the win for the home team after placing a header from six yards out off of a cross and corner kick to end the match 4-0 for San Jose.
Austin Head Coach Josh Wolff attempted to staunch the wound with a series of subs starting at the beginning of the second half, subbing in native Austinite McKinze Gaines for Moussa Djitte and Rodney Redes for Cecilio Dominguez. But no subs were enough to push back against the 'Quakes as the team lost their second match in a row.
Austin FC has four final matches to end the season, including two remaining home matches against the Houston Dynamo at 4 p.m. on Sunday and a final match at Q2 Stadium against Sporting Kansas City at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
Here's a live blog of the match:
85' San Jose makes it 4-0
Austin FC once again can't plug holes in the box as San Jose scores their fourth goal of the match off a set piece and header to make it 4-0 in the 85th minute. The Quakes' Carlos Fierro scores on a header from close up after a well-placed cross from Cristian Espinoza as a frustrated Stuver is unable to block the six-yard shot.
Frustrated and sluggish, Austin FC appears to have lost their chance at a win or draw in one of their worst losses by scoring margin this season.
59' Wondolowski scores for the "Quakes
Just a minute after he hits the pitch, MLS' all-time top scorer Chris Wondolowski tacks one more onto San Jose's lead as the home team leads 3-0 in the 59th minute. A beleaguered Austin leaves Wondolowski undefended as he receives the ball in the box, pauses and scores in the bottom right corner of goal.
It's looking to be an especially bad match for Austin, who already sit at the bottom of the West. The Verde and Black continue to be outperformed in their late-season road matches.
53' Austin doubles the lead
After a rough-and-tumble drive that saw two Austin FC players take a fall, San Jose's Benjamin Kikanovic shoots past Stuver to score the second goal of the match for the home team. The play drew ire from Austin FC players including Stuver, who said there was a handball in the box. Austin's defense continues to be outperformed in the match.
47' San Jose scores first
The Earthquakes finally capitalized on a sluggish Austin FC as San Jose's Javier "Chofis" Lopez snuck one past keeper Brad Stuver and a last-ditch dive from Austin's Jhohan Romana to net the first goal of the match. The goal is Lopez' 12th on the season.
40' Romana gets yellow carded
Romaña is trying to play flag football 😂 #AustinFC— Seth Davis (@sethdavis512) October 21, 2021
Austin FC's Jhohan Romana is the first to get yellow carded in the match after grabbing a jersey in the 40th minute of play. Seconds later, Austin nearly gets an opportunity as San Jose keeper JT Marcinkowski fumbles a blocked shot, but he passes the ball off before the Verde and Black can get one in off the rebound.
The Quakes repeat the move in the 41st minute as they nearly get one past Stuver, who is able to hold it down unguarded and grab a shot from Jeremy Ebobisse.
18' Stuver keeps it clean
Just like Saturday, it was Austin who struck first with a shot by Captain Alex Ring in just the second minute of play. Star newcomer Sebastian Driussi came soon after with a shot of his own, but the ball was once again kept out of goal.
Just over 10 minutes later, Austin keeper Brad Stuver got his first big test as the Quakes' Jeremy Ebobisse shot one towards the bottom left corner. In signature fashion, Stuver was able to keep a clean sheet.
Austin's "strongest lineup yet" may not have been able to finish in Saturday's loss, but they created plenty of chances. Wolff seems to have confidence in the starting XI and hasn't changed much for tonight.
Nick Lima is in for right back in Hector Jimenez's stead, while Cecilio Dominguez, Moussa Djitte and Sebastian Driussi lead up front. Center back Matt Besler remains out on concussion protocol.
Tesla's third-quarter profits were released on Wednesday afternoon and current richest-man-on-earth Elon Musk topped the charts since his high-profile transition to Austin.
Q3 held record-high deliveries for the electric vehicle manufacturer, despite chip shortages and supply chain issues. Revenue came in slightly shy of expectations but still yielded the most profitable quarter thus far for Tesla. Plus, adjusted earnings per share are also on the rise.
"A variety of challenges, including semiconductor shortages, congestion at ports and rolling blackouts, have been impacting our ability to keep factories running at full speed," Tesla said in a statement. "We believe our supply chain, engineering and production teams have been dealing with these global challenges with ingenuity, agility and flexibility."
According to Tesla's update, the EV giant's Q3 revenue came in at $13.76 billion—a big year-over-year increase as Tesla recorded $8.77 billion in Q3 of 2020. The expectation was $13.9 billion and though the company came in just a few million lower, it was the company's ninth-straight profitable quarter.
Though earnings were a touch lower than expected, adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.86, where expected had been $1.67, and a year ago was 76 cents per share.
An accomplishment for Tesla this quarter was delivering more than 241,300 vehicles worldwide from its California factory—almost half of what the company delivered throughout all of 2020.
This Q3 update comes on the heels of Tesla's announcement that it would move its headquarters to the capital city. Additionally, the new Gigafactory in southeast Travis County is looking more complete by the day. While full-scale production isn't slated to start until 2022, the factory has already begun testing its robotic assembly line.
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