Austin's reputation as the "Live Music Capital" is about to make even more sense with plans now in the works for a 20,000 seat amphitheater and entertainment complex near Bee Cave.
The $600-$750 million project, dubbed "Violet Crown," will serve as Austin's first great outdoor venue, according to IDM President Craig Bryan. It will be located northwest of State Highway 71 and Southwest Parkway and is slated to open in two years.
"Austin has been given the moniker of the (Live) Music Capital of the World. By God, I'm going to solidify that with this project," Bryan said.
In addition to the amphitheater, the complex will include "two luxury apartment towers, a distillery and tasting room, a Top Golf-style driving range and a parking garage," according to an Austin Business Journal report.
Other amenities include a driving range, restaurants and nightclubs and a distillery and tasting room. (Violet Crown)
Music, entertainment and leisure will fuse together for residents of the 475 apartment units planned for the two towers, with shops, pools and a pool club, restaurants, a 96-bay driving range and a nightclub and dancehall all located within the complex. The driving range and distillery will also be able to convert into concert venues, with the driving range able to host 3,000 and the distillery hosting a small acoustic space for up to 400 people.
The venue says it will host big-name musical guests for residents and guests alike. The project plans to allow residents to rent out space for concertgoers, and there will be room for one third of all visitors to park alongside residents at the site.
Plans for the project are underway, with the Business Journal reporting that Bleyl Engineering submitted construction permits for the project in August. The permits are still pending.
The complex will be located within unincorporated Travis County in between Barton Creek and Bee Cave, near music venue The Backyard, which is expected to be completed in early 2024 after a revamp.
Although it will technically be out of town, Bryan said the Violet Crown project will maintain Austin's noise ordinances and will take several other steps to limit impact on the environment. Plans include banning single-use plastics, maintaining a low carbon footprint and construction from the area's native resource, limestone. Some funds from ticket sales will go toward a group that focuses on the environment, media, arts education and at-risk communities.
While the amphitheater is scheduled to open on Labor Day 2023, the driving range is expected to open first in spring 2023 with the distillery and tasting room opening soon after. The apartment towers are expected to follow in 2024.
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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.”
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.
This restaurant claims to have the most authentic South Indian food, and from what I've heard, the claims might be true! Their menu features the traditional South Indian dishes of Idlis, Vadas, a variety of Dosas, and more.
If you're looking for an Indian and Tex-Mex fusion cozy restaurant, then look no further! Nasha on East 7th Street prides itself on its specialty margaritas, Tikka con Queso, Biryani, and more creative dishes!