South Congress is getting more luxe by the minute with Soho House Austin debuting earlier this year, pristine handbag brand Hermes announcing it would open next year and Nak Armstrong opening its doors most recently.
Award-winning designer Nak Armstrong is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his namesake jewelry brand by opening a flagship boutique next to Austin's new Soho House, where it will be the only local brand in the development.
Opening on South Congress' newest development Music Lane, Nak Armstrong Fine Jewelry opened its doors for the first time last week. The new store carries Armstrong's entire collection, including his diffusion line, Nakard. Though it is Armstrong's first freestanding store, he has been featured in boutiques like Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York and Net-A-Porter.
A designer with a background in architecture, Armstrong has made a name for himself with his signature "stone plissé" setting that imitates ruched fabric and pixelated foliage-inspired designs. The store was designed to emulate Armstrong's complex design with geometric nuance, the brand's signature muted chartreuse and natural influences.
The store has been in the making for three years, as Armstrong sought to create a place that radiated a laid-back atmosphere and felt like Austin. Walking in, you'll see plenty of chartreuse velvet, hand-cut mosaic floors made with terracotta as a nod to Austin's Latin influences and Milanese accents, all brought to life by a team of Austin-based artisans and designers.
"Austin is so informal in some ways, yet people are craving another interpretation of that— something luxe but approachable," Armstrong said. "(It's) like a beautiful residence you wouldn't want to leave."
The jewelry boutique is nestled between Soho House and St. Cecelia Hotel and Residences in a long space where they house jewelry along parallel narrow walls. The space will open up a variety of events, like designer meet and greets, new collection launches, local art collaborations and upcoming 10th-anniversary celebrations according to a press release.
"Austin is not only a place that has fostered and supported my work, but it has also become a dynamic luxury market," Armstrong said. "If you had told me only a few years ago that South Congress was going to transform into a place that could support brands like mine, I wouldn't have believed you. You can feel the shift, and it's exciting to be a part of it."
The store is open from Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
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Austin police have charged Kaitlin Marie Armstrong, a local cyclist, for the murder of Moriah "Mo" Wilson.
Wilson, a rising star in the gravel and mountain bike community, was found dead with gunshot wounds inside an East Austin home on the night of May 11 when she was in town for the weekend Gravel Locos race in Hico, Texas.
Police believe Wilson was having a relationship with a man Armstrong was also in a relationship with. The man, another gravel cyclist, Colin Strickland, has since issued a statement on the murder.
In his statement, he said he had a brief romantic relationship with Wilson in October 2021 before he resumed his relationship with Armstrong, but that he remained friends with Wilson. "There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime. I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.
NEW: Austin professional cyclist Colin Strickland has just released a statement about the murder of cyclist Moriah Wilson, clarifying his relationship with her and expressing “torture about my proximity to this horrible crime.” pic.twitter.com/KnIna3mWrE
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) May 20, 2022
Wilson, a 25-year-old Vermont native living in Colorado, had won a slew of races becoming a fan favorite. She had just become a full-time racer this year.
Anyone with information on this crime can contact Austin police at 512-974-TIPS or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 512-472-8477.
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Austin has added 24-hour security to the city-owned Pecan Gardens property, which will be converted into supportive housing for people exiting homelessness, after the former hotel was found with months of damage and vandalism May 5.
The building, which was broken into and stripped of copper and had people illegally sleeping inside of it, has been secured, Kelly said in a Friday press conference. Kelly said the city confirmed a measure to implement 24-hour security, including updates every 60 days until the property opens up as supportive housing.
"We cannot let this happen to any vacant city-owned property ever again," Kelly said. "This blatant act of disregard and criminal behavior will not be tolerated in our community."
The city bought the former hotel in August 2021 for $9.5 million with plans to renovate the property into a 78-unit supportive housing property. Those 55 or older that are experiencing chronic homelessness can qualify to live at the site once it is completed in late 2022-early 2023.
While the council was set to discuss a $4 million deal with Family Eldercare to begin converting the property Thursday, Kelly pulled the item for a later executive session due to security concerns. But the council did approve an item to authorize city leaders to begin negotiating other renovation contracts.
"I want to thank my colleagues for pumping the brakes on this contract and realizing that we owe the community not only an apology, but reassurance that the protection of the assets the city owns is vital to the success of achieving our intended goals," Kelly said.
When the building was found vandalized May 5, Kelly, who presides over the district containing the property, said damage included:
- Damage spanning all three floors of the building and is in nearly every room.
- The entire hotel was stripped of copper.
- Destroyed washers, dryers, air conditioners and electrical wiring.
- People sleeping at the hotel without permission.
On Tuesday, Austin’s Homeless Strategy Officer Dianna Gray apologized and said there was no security due to a delay in processing the request.
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