Soho House, a members-exclusive club open in 27 locales across 10 countries, has opened its luxurious doors in Austin on Tuesday.
The Austin branch, located on South Congress' Music Lane, will become a new hub for creatives and socialites looking for a taste of Austin culture.
While the House has only provided renderings of the project, it has confirmed the club includes 46 bedrooms, a rooftop pool and a screening room. The club floor and rooftop pool opened today, while rooms will be available to book online once the hotel is complete later this summer.
Austin is the latest addition to a chain that has branches in New York, London, Hong Kong and more cities across three continents; Austin will be the first Texas location. While the Texas capital seems to be an outlier, CEO of local travel site, Localeur, Joah Spearman said that the newest Soho House is representative of Austin's "boomtown" status and its reputation as a cultural hub.
"While we don't have the diversity of some of these larger cities, like in LA or New York, we definitely have a lot of cultural capital here," Spearman said. "Soho House, I think, is going to be a place where creators... have a lot of that cultural exchange."
Spearman, who has been a member of the Soho House committee since 2017, said that interest has only been growing in the newest club. Unlike other exclusive hangouts in the city, Spearman said that admission to the Soho House will be based more on Austin creatives than on wealth.
"You get a good cross-section of people who work for startups, creative agencies, creative professionals, photographers, designers, DJs, musicians," Spearman said. "I really think that it's going to be a nice kind of connecting spot for creative professionals in particular in Austin. There are other membership clubs that have opened in Austin that I think are more based on affluence."
Joah Spearman, founder and CEO of Localeur, a travel site born in Austin, is a charter member of Soho House. (Localeur)
As a reflection of its emphasis on creativity, the Soho House will be located on 1011 S. Congress, Building 2, sandwiched in between music venues, iconic Austin eateries and more on South Congress' new Music Lane.
Bedroom rates start at $205 per night, while membership to every Soho House is $3,500 annually and membership to just the Austin Soho house is $2,290 annually. For those under 27, membership to every house is $1,750 annually and membership to just the Austin location is $1,140 annually.
Soho House was unavailable to be photographed at the time of publication, but Austonia will provide an update when available.
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Officials are asking certain residents in Bastrop State Park to evacuate as crews work to put out a “very active fire” that is currently 0% contained.
The Texas A&M Forest Service has responded to help local fire departments with the Rolling Pines Fire at 100 Park Road 1A, which is consuming 300 acres. Residents of Pine Hill Drive, Pine Tree Loop, Linda Lane and Lisa Lane are being asked to evacuate.
Today’s Bastrop Rolling Pines Fire is burning along Power Plant Road towards Lake Bastrop South Shore. pic.twitter.com/YCvJkIAg1u
— BastropCntyTexas OEM (@BastropCntyOEM) January 18, 2022
Aviation resources have been called to assist.
According to the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management, the wildfire sparked during a prescribed burn that took place today, despite wildfire warnings. Park Road 1C from Harmon Road to Park Road 1A had been closed for the prescribed burn.
The blaze is in the same location as the Bastrop Complex Fire of 2011, which burned for 55 days, killing two people, destroying 34,000 acres and around 1,700 homes and buildings. The fire, which started in 2011, became the most destructive wildfire in Texas at the time.
A hotbed for fires, the Hidden Pines Fire started at the same location in 2015, destroying 4,600 acres and 64 structures.
Some road closures have been put in place at State Highway 21 South Shore Lake Bastrop and East State Highway 21.
This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.
After months of record-setting periods for Austin real estate, the Austin Board of Realtors announced Tuesday that the metro's housing market accounted for over $23 billion of economic activity in 2021, making it the biggest year yet for both home sales and median home prices in the metro.
The Austin-Round Rock MSA saw 41,316 homes sold in 2021, 2.5% more than a record-setting 2020. Median home prices skyrocketed as well, rising 30.8% from 2020 to $450,000. The housing market also saw unprecedented impact on Austin's economy, with sales dollar volume jumping to over $23.38 billion, and more homes hit the market in 2021 than any previous year, increasing by 5.9% to 46,449 total homes listed.
(Austin Board of Realtors)
As many recent Austin homebuyers have experienced firsthand, Austin Board of Realtors 2022 President Cord Shiflet said 2021 was the most "exciting, complicated, fast-paced and record-setting housing market" in Austin's history.
Shiflet dubbed the market as "complicated" for a reason—Austin became a case study on supply and demand in 2021, with demand far outpacing the number of active listings, which dropped by 48.2% to 2,348 homes in 2021.
The metro ended the year with 0.6 months of inventory, a far cry from a "healthy" six-month supply, and houses were snatched at breakneck speeds, spending 25 fewer days on the market when compared to 2020. The average home was on the market for 20 days.
But low inventory is more due to high demand than a stagnant homebuilding market, Mark Sprague, Independence Title's state director of information capital, said in the report.
“In 2021, the record number of homes sold were demand-driven transactions and that demand was influenced greatly by companies continuing to target the region for job creation and expansion," Sprague said. "Even though more homes are being built, listed and sold than ever before, our region is still nowhere close to having a comfortable amount of supply to meet the demand, which is why home prices continue to rise steadily.”
Over 23,000 jobs have been promised by companies across the metro as of December 2021, breaking the 2020 record, according to Opportunity Austin, the economic development arm of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. With an influx of major factories and offices, including Tesla's Giga Texas, Samsung's Taylor plant and a planned 33-floor Facebook office, Sprague said the region's booming market paired with a struggling inventory and supply chain issues could be a double-edged sword in 2022.
"In short, 2022 will see a robust market for home sales and property values, but the region must do more to address inventory, ” Sprague said.
Shiflet recommended that potential homebuyers make a decision ahead of predicted increases in interest rates and home prices and said that he hopes local politicians will continue to prioritize affordable housing in the election year.
Still, Shiflet said a record-breaking housing market reflects Austin's growing reputation as a hub for talent, tech jobs and a good quality of life.
"With all the new jobs across the region from exciting companies like Tesla and Samsung, Austin was put on the world’s stage and captured the hearts and attention of so many," Shiflet said. "We are lucky to call Austin our home when it has so much to offer from a great quality of life to a wonderful destination for innovation and opportunity.”
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