There’s no shortage of online chatter about Austin. TikTok and Instagram are filled with people documenting their weekend trips with activities like paddleboarding on the lake, enjoying the nightlife and considering a move.
But it’s not just social media hype. A new report by the Downtown Austin Alliance backs up the excitement.
The nonprofit dove into its state of downtown report in an event at Waterloo Park this week with findings that show downtown sees more than 5 million visitors annually. Plus visits in the popular entertainment districts of Rainey Street and West 6th were higher in October this past year than they were pre-pandemic.
While the tourists may be enjoying Austin’s downtown, how is it working out for current residents?
More than 50% of respondents the Downtown Alliance surveyed rated downtown as poor or below average as a place to live. The answer to some of that dissatisfaction may be seen in the priorities respondents said should be addressed over the next two years in downtown, listing parking, traffic congestion and affordability as some of the top issues. In 2021, the report notes downtown asking rent rose 14%.
“Studio rents right now are averaging $2,200 a month downtown,” said Jen Weaver, who founded Weaver Buildings to provide housing that’s affordable to middle-income earners.
“That means to live downtown, you have to make six figures to qualify to pay that rent,” Weaver said, referencing how many lease agreements require renters to earn three times the rent in order to qualify.
With census data reporting that the median household income in Austin in 2020 sits at almost $76,000, that’s out of reach for many. But those costs don’t appear to be changing.
“We have increasing fees, we have increasing property tax,” Weaver said. “So our developers continue to develop only luxury products for downtown.”
Among the developments downtown are 25 projects under construction totaling more than 8 million square feet.
Still, some have hope for increased accessibility downtown with Project Connect moving forward. The plan approved by voters in November 2020 makes promises of transit equity with the mission to bring in light rail, a portion of which will pass through downtown, along with a downtown subway.
Annick Beaudet, mobility officer for the city of Austin, talked about how this fits into her vision for downtown 10 years from now.
“We're going to be doing a lot of work downtown, whether it's building more housing, whether it's revitalizing Sixth Street or it's Building Project Connect, there's going to be disruptions,” Beaudet said. “And we're going to have to work together to find that right balance of getting light rail, moving in Austin as soon as possible, but also balancing the folks who live here, work here and play here now, and it's not going to be easy.”
- Cielo breaking ground on Downtown Austin 46-story tower - austonia ›
- More people looking to live downtown as towers fill with workers ... ›
- Tech's takeover in downtown Austin is just beginning - austonia ›
- Downtown Austin looks like itself again as big tech returns to office ... ›
- Tallest tower in Texas coming to downtown Austin - austonia ›
- Downtown Austin is a great experience, 78% of residents say ... ›
- Downtown court relocation plans draw mounting criticism - austonia ›
- Spotted: Ben Affleck is filming in Downtown Austin - austonia ›
- 43 story office tower coming to downtown Austin - austonia ›
Elon Musk has placed an order for a new, top-of-the-line private jet: a Gulfstream G700, Austonia has learned. Delivery is expected in early 2023.
Billed as offering “the most spacious cabin in history,” the aircraft seats 19 and soars above the rest of us at up to 51,000 feet. Base price: $78 million.
The Gulfstream G700 was awarded the 2022 International Yacht & Aviation Award for excellence in cabin design this year. (Gulfstream)
According to the Gulfstream website, the G700 can fly up to 7,500 nautical miles without refueling, enough range to fly nonstop from Austin to Hong Kong. Powered by two Rolls-Royce engines, it has its own Wi-Fi system, 20 oval windows measuring 28” x 21”, and two lavatories.
The sweet new ride will replace his current top-of-line private jet: a 2015 Gulfstream G650, the aircraft that has been made somewhat famous by the automated @elonjet Twitter account, which tracks and reports his personal aircraft’s movements using public data.
Landed in Austin, Texas, US. Apx. flt. time 44 Mins. pic.twitter.com/jZ7HI0i4iV
— ElonJet (@ElonJet) June 24, 2022
Musk has repeatedly championed “free speech” as a guiding ethic in his planned purchase of Twitter. Last December, Musk offered the teenager who built the @elonjet tracker $50,000 to shut it down, citing security concerns. It’s still up.
According to the @elonjet account, Musk’s jet last traveled to Austin, where it’s been since June 23. The associated data says that his flight to Austin burned $2,573 worth of aviation fuel and discharged 4 tons of carbon dioxide.
- Elon Musk's Austin residence is $12 million Lake Austin home ... ›
- Elon Musk challenges the Kremlin to a fight on Twitter - austonia ›
- Grimes reveals secret baby, a daughter, with Elon Musk - austonia ›
- Elon Musk reportedly bringing new Australian actress girlfriend to ... ›
- Elon Musk attends Charro Days festivities in South Texas - austonia ›
Enjoy live music all weekend long and check out the hotels’ state-of-the-art amenities between sets. Make a splash in the pool, enjoy outdoor fire pits, or challenge your friends in a yard game while enjoying a weekend full of live music! Did we mention the package includes deluxe accommodations and a bucket of beer? Oh, and if you needed more convincing, this pet-friendly hotel means the whole family can join in on the fun.
Explore any of the Court Hotels by Valencia Hotel Group for a memorable escape. Each property offers a unique experience remnant of yesteryear but with all of the modern amenities that make for a fun and comfortable stay. With acres of landscaped courtyards, relax and unwind in an outdoor environment perfect for doing everything or absolutely nothing at all. With locations in Austin, College Station, Irving, and Lubbock your urban retreat has never been so close.
Locals and travelers alike are invited to enjoy the deep roots of Texas music all summer long with a robust lineup of live performances. From the banks of the San Antonio Riverwalk to Irving’s manicured streets, Valencia’s hotels are a place to gather and reconnect, offering uniquely Texan settings for the weekly performances.
“We’re proud of the community we’ve fostered among Texas musicians and the many rising stars who perform at our properties,” says Amy Trench, corporate director of brand marketing & PR for Valencia Hotel Group.
With unique programming at each of Valencia’s properties, there’s something for everyone to enjoy all summer long.
If you’re a Valencia Hotel Group Rewards member, the perks are plentiful. Enjoy up to 10% off the Best Available Rate, and for a limited time, members can save up to 15% off a stay of 2 nights or more, for select stays in 2022.
But that’s really just the beginning. At select locations, you can enjoy discounts on weeknight stays, a complimentary third night, or curated packages for a romantic getaway or a night of watching the Verde at Q2 Stadium. You’ll also find special rates for AAA and AARP Members, educators, and front-line heroes including military, law enforcement, fire, and rescue workers.