Exclusive: Tequila 512 finally reveals its secret plans for the iconic building at Mopac and Lake Austin Blvd
Want to know what’s going on in that big yellow building on the corner of Mopac and Lake Austin Boulevard? Spoiler: It’s not the tasting room or merchandise store you thought it might be.
Tequila 512 CEO Nick Matzorkis and business partner Josh Keller have spent months preparing for the big reveal. The building, which has frequently changed hands over the years, made headlines in September when it debuted a cheeky billboard poking good fun at Elon Musk. Now, its billboard reads “2❤️22,” foreshadowing a host of surprises that will come to be revealed over time starting in January.
The building won’t host a tasting room and won’t even sell its Jalisco-made tequila—instead, 2201 Lake Austin Blvd will serve as an “interface with Austin culture and all the things that people equate with Austin, from fitness and running, to stand-up paddling to Tequila 512,” says Matzorkis. Instead of a sales-driven venue, the building will be a community hub with different access for “friends of the brand” as well as the average Austinite.
“We're going to protect this little intersection of Austin. If you look downtown Austin is changing dramatically day by day—everything around Austin is changing—this intersection has not changed a bit” Matzorkis told Austonia in an exclusive interview. “This building is here to be that physical representation of those brands and to open it up to the value that it has in terms of its proximity to things.”
While he said he isn’t ready to divulge the full extent of what is in store for the building, Matzorkis said a few things are certain for now.
What will the building be used for?
A better question is, what won’t the building be used for? The space is divided into two sections: Austin by day, which will be a community water sports hub, and Austin by night, a private stage and studio that will allow local musicians to host a jam session.
Sometime in the first three months of the year, a SUP ATX truck will park outside and provide paddleboards free of charge to anyone, with seating out front inviting you to relax after a day out on the lake.
A love of water sports led Matzorkis, who is originally from California, and Keller to create SUP ATX when he missed the ocean upon moving to Texas. When it started in 2007, the surf shop and paddleboarding company raised awareness about the sport on a road trip from Malibu to Austin.
“I'm very much an ocean beach guy and I love Austin,” Matzorkis said. “I just wanted to bring the ocean surfing culture to landlocked states (and) to have a vision for turning every lake and river across the country into a place where you can experience the many joys and benefits of interacting with water via surf-shaped boards.”
Matzorkis is currently working on getting all 300 of its branded paddle boards moved to the building so he can share them with Austin. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
Additionally, a RunTex truck will park on the other side, featuring running clinics starting in January by Paul Carozza. Coming full circle, Carozza originally welcomed SUP ATX into the building when it was still occupied by RunTex.
SUP ATX got its start parking in the RunTex lot and is now repaying the favor. (Courtesy of Nick Matzorkis)
Union Square Media HQ
The corner building will also serve as the faceless HQ of digital marketing company Union Square Media, which Matzorkis and Keller started after they met back in 2005, when they created the “world’s first internet band,” the ClipBandits. After a viral stint with features on Good Morning America and The Tyra Banks Show, the pair continued their business together by starting the media company in Keller’s home state of New York, with Matzorkis holding down the fort in Austin.
The media company grew exponentially, with offices in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Austin. It has since gone entirely remote and moved its home base to Austin—Matzorkis said that it has also grown to double the revenue with 10% of the workforce when compared to fellow Austin-based creative agency GSD&M.
“This building right here is actually the world headquarters for Union Square media. It's faceless, for now,” Matzorkis said, teasing an undisclosed surprise.
Since Union Square Media, soon to be named USM ATX to christen its Austin placement, is all remote, the building will not serve as an office but rather a shared space to Tequila 512 sister brands who can use it.
A big billboard
Though the yellow exterior is striking, Matzorkis and Keller plan to use it as a backdrop to promote the things, artists, musicians and companies that are near and dear to Austin’s collective heart.
The exterior underwent a full makeover for ACL season, promoting Jack Harlow’s set. Matzorkis, who spent years as a promoter in the music industry, discovered Harlow years ago at the beginning of his music career and said he wanted to give him the recognition he deserved.
“That was the first example of the use, which was letting a friend of the brand use the building to promote something locally that we believed in,” Matzorkis said. “In that case, we believed in him as an artist and that he would make it.”
Harlow's set drew over 35,000 people—the largest crowd he had ever played.
What’s the catch?
It may sound too good to be true but there doesn’t seem to be a catch—the facility will only be open to the public on specified occasions but anyone is welcome to grab a board or take a running clinic.
With COVID taking a toll on the fun of life in Austin, Matzorkis said he just wants to give back to the community that he has loved and has loved him in return.
“It's all just love, just trying to bring positivity into the world. We're trying to build off of that, specifically with the heart,” Matzorkis said. “This whole thing is about something much larger than just the promotion of these brands, we're really trying to make it mean something more.”
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Fourteen students and one teacher are dead after a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas—a small town an hour and a half west of San Antonio—on Tuesday afternoon.
Abbott said the suspect, an 18-year-old male, is believed to have been killed by the police. The Uvalde Police Department said the shooting began at 11:43 a.m. Tuesday.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “He shot and killed—horrifically, incomprehensibly—14 students, and killed a teacher.”
Texans are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime & for the community of Uvalde.
Cecilia & I mourn this horrific loss & urge all Texans to come together.
I've instructed @TxDPS & Texas Rangers to work with local law enforcement to fully investigate this crime. pic.twitter.com/Yjwi8tDT1v
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 24, 2022
According to University Health Hospital officials, a 66-year-old woman and 10-year-old girl arrived in critical condition. Uvalde Memorial Hospital reportedly received 13 children for treatment and two individuals who were already deceased.
The shooter prompted a lockdown at the elementary school of just under 600 students, with San Antonio Police sending SWAT, and Eagle chopper and Crime Scene Investigators.
According to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, President Joe Biden has been briefed on the tragedy and “His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event, and he will speak this evening when he arrives back at the White House.”
This is the U.S.'s 213th mass shooting of 2022.
“Especially here in Austin, there's a really, really high interest in electric vehicles and keeping that zero-emissions goal in mind,” said Rachel Reid, a spokesperson for General Motors. "And then just like anywhere in Texas, trucks are something that people use in their daily lives for things from carrying different furniture or anything from a job site or even just having the family in the backseat and being able to carry something along with them.”
Pickups play a major role in Texas culture, so much that the Texas Standard notes auto companies sometimes approach their marketing strategy by the regions of North, East, West and Texas. So, here’s a look at the pickup options in the coming years if you’re looking to go electric.
Production site and release schedule
The Silverado is being made at the company’s first fully dedicated EV assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. Known as Factory ZERO, it’s named as such to reflect the company’s vision of a world with zero crashes, emissions or congestion.
The Cybertruck, meanwhile, will be produced at Giga Texas. At the recent opening of the factory in southeast Travis County, CEO Elon Musk addressed delays on the truck and said it would be out in 2023.
Orders are closed for the 2022 F-150 Lightning, but 2023 versions are just around the corner. They are being produced at Ford's EV center within their Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan
The Silverado has an estimated MSRP starting at $39,900 with a reservation cost of $100. Depending on which feature options are added, the truck could end up costing around $80,000.
The Cybertruck also requires a reservation cost of $100 and a final price varies by the number of electric motors. So the price ranges from $39,900 for a single motor and $69,900 for a tri motor.
This year’s F-150s ranged in price from $39,974 to $90,874.
You’ll have to be at the wheel and alert no matter which car you choose since no vehicle is fully autonomous.
Chevrolet has compatible roads that drivers can use their driver-assisted technology, known as Super Cruise which includes adaptive cruise control, lane centering and hands-free operation with an attentive driver.
The Cybertruck order site doesn’t appear to have many details on what its tech will include, but Tesla has previously made plans to launch a new self-driving computer with the pickup.
The more expensive Lightning models have Blue Cruise available, which is Ford’s hands-free driving system that can be used on prequalified sections of divided highways. It includes a driver-facing camera to ensure the driver has their eyes on the road and Ford has said there’s potential for future enhancements.
Charging time and range
If you’re looking to take some road trips outside of Austin, then this is one of the critical factors you’ll consider while EV shopping.
The Chevy is estimated to reach 400 miles of range. With a 10 minute charge on a fast charger, it’ll be able to get about 100 miles of range.
It will vary by battery pack, but the Environmental Protection Agency shows the Lightning as capable of traveling between 230 and 320 mile range.
It’s yet to be realized, but Tesla is currently boasting the highest of the three with up to 500 miles of range on its Cybertruck.
Screens and storage
Of course, there are things you can do to keep busy while charging.
Generally, Tesla screens can display navigation, apps and a media player where you can access the radio and streaming services.
When it comes to loading up the vehicle, the Cybertruck flexes enough storage in the back for a motorcycle that you can transport up with a ramp.
The Silverado has a screen above the wheel that functions as a traditional dashboard and another larger screen. Chevy also replaced the space up front where an internal combustion engine would be with a “frunk.”
The Lightning also has a frunk, with Insider listing it as one of the reasons it’s perfect for road trips.
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