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The towers giving Rainey Street an ongoing makeover

(City of Austin)

The Rainey you know now will have some striking differences in the coming years. What was once a neighborhood occupied by homeowners has transformed since rezoning about 17 years ago paved the way for commercial development.

Now, it’s an entertainment district facing a transformation as new buildings bring the closure of favorites like Container Bar, Bungalow and Reina. “This city is changing, and though we must embrace the change, it doesn’t mean we can’t live it up like the good ole times until it’s here,” Reina said when announcing its last day was coming.

These are a handful of developments that will soon join Rainey's mix of food, nightlife and housing.

80 Rainey

This 49-story tower will stand at 550 feet once it reaches completion in 2025. It’ll house nearly 650 residences, with approximately 20 of those being affordable units. And there will be an abundance of drinks and food from the ground up. People will be able to wander to the basement for a speakeasy or the 11th floor for a rooftop bar. There will also be multiple restaurant spaces and a coffee and cocktail lounge.

The Modern Austin Residences

With a name that nods to its design style, the Modern is set to reach 56 stories that will offer one to five bedrooms. Currently, prices for the condos set to open at 610 Davis St. in 2024 are listed from the $600s to $15 million. With that, residents will get amenities spanning three levels that include perks like an outdoor theater, a pool and spa, a yoga and pilates studio and sky lounge areas.

When the building was announced last year, architecture firm Page said they were excited to team up with others on the tower. "Careful consideration has been given to every aspect of the project," Brandon Townsend with Page said. "From locating the pool deck for ample sunlight and fantastic views; to the thoughtful finishes within the unit, The Modern will redefine classic design with timeless elegance."

98 Red River

With 74 stories that will include more than 350 apartments, 686,000 square feet of office space and a hotel, this high rise could become the tallest building in Texas. In June, the Austin American-Statesman reported that the project’s civil engineering firm said the building will be more than 1,000 feet tall. Plus, it landed luxury brand 1 Hotels for the anticipated 251-room hotel with a 16th-floor pool.

The Travis

Located at 80 Red River St., this 50-story apartment tower has an expected completion in fall 2024. Boasting a height that's comparable to other downtown buildings with for-sale units, the Travis will have more than 400 units available for rent. The luxury development will include proximity to hike and bike trails and amenities like a clubhouse, rooftop pool, a coffee shop and fitness facilities.


‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”

Austin's 7 Best Indian Restaurants

We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.

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