Retail is making a comeback as Austinites get vaccinated and ditch online shopping for the in-person experience.
Whether you're looking to do some revenge shopping or just curious about what's going on in the retail community, we've got you covered with the latest in shops and business.
New opening: LoveShackFancy, 1011 South Congress Ave.
In its eighth national expansion, LoveShackFancy is taking on the Capital City. With its pink checkered floors, canopy of florals and pink guitars lining the store, this boutique is everything you want in an Instagram background. Plus, it offers vintage band tees, bandanas, mini-skirts and dresses. "The boutique was created for every generation of Austin girls," Founder & Creative Director Rebecca Hessel Cohen said.
Located on South Congress in the Music Lane development, the boutique will open for the first time Saturday with drinks, a photo booth and music.
Lululemon's window installation
As the Austin Marathon is set to kick off on Sunday, Lululemon on Music Lane in South Congress is recognizing those putting themselves through the grueling run around town. Names of all marathon participants can be found displayed in the store window.
It's been more than a year since the marathon took place, but the show goes on in a COVID friendly fashion.
Kendra Scott partnership
Kendra Scott announced this week it is partnering with Diligent Robotics, a female-founded A.I. company that created robot Moxi, on its Kendra Cares program. Through the partnership and program, the robot will assist healthcare workers by providing social and emotional support to patients in children's hospitals. The robot will ultimately deliver customized pieces of jewelry to patients that will help minimize risk of exposure to COVID.
New opening: Studs, 1510 South Congress Ave.
Looking to get a new ear piercing and earrings? Studs has expanded outside the New York market and onto South Congress. With more than 1,200 on the waiting list to book an appointment last week, Studs chose to expand to Austin where the owners believe a lot of younger residents would like ear piercings.
The shop uses only curated needles, instead of piercing guns, for a precise piercing that will heal better. And unlike tattoo parlors where most typically go for a piercing, they have a variety of ear accessories in store. Studs opened last week and is operating on an appointment-only basis.
New opening: The RealReal, 11700 Domain Blvd.
What started as a luxury consignment online store has since expanded to 10 brick-and-mortar stores. The RealReal is now operating at the Domain. Brands offered at the store include Gucci, Chanel, Prada and Cartier, among others.
- Hermes fashion brand to open location on South Congress - austonia ›
- Music Lane in South Congress brings new business to Austin ... ›
- Here's how to live in Austin with only make $1,000 per month ... ›
- Salt & Time adjusts to the apocalypse - austonia ›
- Austin's new urban center begins construction - austonia ›
- Austin's luxury Soho House opens today for local creatives - austonia ›
- 5 new things in retail in austin, new openings, new products - austonia ›
- 5 new Austin eats for you to try this summer - austonia ›
- 9 Prime Day deals for those living in Austin, TX - austonia ›
- Need a hand? Tesla to create humanoid 'Tesla Bot' to help with mundane daily tasks - austonia ›
- St. Cecilia condo has views as far as the eye can see - austonia ›
- Robots become part of everyday Austin life - austonia ›
- Austin robotics company lands NASA partnership for advancing humanoid robots - austonia ›
By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.
What's new in Austin food & drink this week:
- Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
- Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
- Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
- Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
- Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
- Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
- The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
- Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
- P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.