Project Catalyst, Recently Renamed "4700 East," Still Moving Forward

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In its August meeting, the Austin City Council approved the re-zoning measures required for Project Catalyst, recently renamed 4700 East, to keep moving forward. If the mixed-use development project proceeds as planned, it will sit on a a 97-acre site in Southeast Austin and will neighbor Oracle’s new 40-acre corporate campus.

Often referred to as Austin’s future “Third Downtown" (with the Domain North being Austin’s “Second Downtown”), Nimes Capital has proposed building 4,700 residential units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of medical and dental office space, and 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 4700 East. In short, an “urban village” would be created in this area near the corner of East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road that would basically offer, well, everything!

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The city could require developers to offer hundreds of income-restricted affordable housing units, but it would only do so if the developers build structures above the restricted height of 60 feet. To maintain the promise of affordable housing in the area, the developer is currently promising that 8-12% (400-550) of the units will be income-restricted as a trade off for greater building heights. Additionally, the developer formally committed to reserve 10 units for people who are transitioning out of homelessness. These housing units will be paid for with vouchers supplied by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition.

In order for 4700 East to be built, there are some other buildings that will need to be removed for this project to move forward. For this reason, developers have been slowly purchasing apartments in the area over the course of the past several years. The buildings that would be removed, which are roughly 60% student-occupied, are The Ballpark North and Town Lake, as well as the Quad East, West and South. The properties account for a total of 3,702 bedrooms and 1,308 units, according to city documents. Developers will also ensure gradual displacement of current residents in the area—250 of the existing units on site will not be redeveloped or demolished for five years in an effort to defray displacement.

Construction is not envisioned to begin on 4700 East before 2020. However, once the project is officially approved by the Austin City Council, the development will be built slowly over a 25 year period in five different phases along the way. The developer will return to the city council for a third and final hearing in September, at which it will need to receive at least six votes in favor to pass.

Austin FC

The City of Austin has it all—live music, great food, hike & bike trails, and fantastic schools.  But, for a long time, the city has lacked one ingredient that some would say is essential to a major city.  In fact, as the 11th most populous city in the United States, it is highly unusual that Austin doesn’t yet have several of these yet... 

What ingredient are we talking about?  That’s right—a professional sports team.  The University of Texas hasn’t minded the absence, as college sports have basically been our pro team of choice in Austin.  Avid pro fans can also always look north to Dallas, south to San Antonio or east to Houston to scratch the itch even more.

In 2016, the Austin Sol (ultimate frisbee) became the very first professional sports team in Austin, although most Austinites would be hard pressed to tell where and when they play (Can you?).

However, on September 5th, everyone will know that a PROFESSIONAL sports team is coming to town.  Austin FC, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team will host a groundbreaking ceremony for a $242 million North Austin soccer stadium. The stadium site, located on 24 acres at McKalla Place near The Domain, is on track to host the league's 27th team beginning in the spring of 2021.

According to the Austin Business Journal, Dave Greeley, the president of the Austin FC parent company Two Oak Ventures, hopes to make an additional announcement in the coming weeks about the details of a separate training facility for the team that is also in the works. 

In addition, we all know one of the investors in Austin FC. We know him not just from the movies, but also from his face at all of the UT home games.  Matthew McConaughy has joined the investor group bringing the team to town.  According to McConaughy, "Austin FC is a healthy investment in our city's culture and future. The most diverse and borderless game in the world is now coming to one of the most multicultural, creative and diverse cities in the world."

So, Austin…How should we react to getting our first MAJOR professional sports team?  Well, in the words of McConaughy, I guess we should all just say, “All right. All right. All right!”

Improvements Around Austin's Capitol

If you are traveling FOR THE NEXT 1, 060 CALENDAR DAYS near the Capitol and are planning on using North Congress, or 16th, 17th, 18th, streets between San Jacinto & Colorado, you may want to check your route. That area is going to be torn up due to construction of an eight block transformation of Austin’s Capitol Complex.

The city has launched and secured funding for Phase 1 of the Texas Capitol Complex Project , scheduled to be completed by June 2022. The 1-million-square-foot, $581 million Phase One of the Texas Capitol Complex project has two main parts to it: two new office buildings and a pedestrian mall that will replace a section of Congress Avenue and include five levels of underground parking. This pedestrian-friendly street will provide plenty of green space right in the middle of Congress and provide more tourism venues for the city to hold concerts, festivals and the like.

As for the two new office buildings, details are starting to emerge. One building will be located opposite from both the Bullock museum and Blanton Museum of Art. The 14-story, 603,000-square-foot building, to be named after George H. W. Bush, will take over the surface level parking lot at 1801 Congress Ave. The new state office building will include display and performance spaces, & a cafe and food service on the first floor. Pairing with the two museums, the Bush building’s first floor will create what the state calls the “Museum Plaza,” serving as a cultural gateway to the Capitol and connected to the Capitol via the pedestrian mall. The Texas Lottery Commission is the only tenant named for this building so far.

Just south at 1601 Congress Ave., a new, unnamed, 12-story, 416,000-square-foot office building will include a state childcare facility, along with other tenants who have yet to be named.

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In addition to the above construction, a new 9-story Texas Health and Human Services Commission office building is being constructed at the corner of West Guadalupe and 46th Street. The building will be built with a 7-story parking garage and should open by May 2021. According to the state, this building should save taxpayers $7.4 million in lease expenses.

44 East

Artist’s rendering:

Artist’s rendering:

More development is on its way to downtown Austin’s bustling Rainey Street District.

44 East is a new residential development located on East Avenue on the corner of Cummings Street, overlooking Lady Bird Lake. It is slated to be 51 stories and will rise approximately 545 feet tall. 322 residences will be for sale. Some smaller 1-2 bedroom residences will be available, all the way up to 4 bedroom residences with impressive penthouse views. The building will be constructed to take maximum advantage of the spectacular views up and down Lady Bird Lake and northwest toward downtown.

Approximately 3,000 square feet on the ground floor will also be available for retail/dining space. An on-location parking structure will include over 500 spaces for both tenants as well as some for the public.

44 East Avenue’s groundbreaking is planned for the spring of 2020 with delivery scheduled for fall of 2022.

Start planning your move to the Rainey district! Keep up to date on the latest 44 East News by clicking the link below.

Republic Square

When you stand in the middle of Republic Square (422 Guadalupe), you are standing on a rich piece of Austin’s history. Edwin Waller’s original design of Austin consisted of a grid with a central square (Capitol Square) and four smaller, secondary “public squares.” Republic square, previously called Hamilton square, was one of these four smaller secondary public squares, and the home of Austin’s “Auction Oaks.” In 1839, Austin’s original 306 lots were sold at auction under these historic trees. Afterwards, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the park had strong associations with the Mexican-American community due to the concentration of Hispanic citizens that lived in the neighborhoods surrounding the square.

Later in the city’s history, Austin’s leaders saw very little use for maintaining these public squares as green spaces, and the city quickly found other ways to use these spaces for storage, garbage dumps, or other city services. Between 1950 and the early 1970s, Republic Square functioned as a parking lot.

In 1976, as a part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebration, Austin’s leaders began to focus on returning Republic Square back to its original purpose as a public green space. It was then given the name Republic Square in tribute to the Republic of Texas.

In more recent years, Republic Square has served as the first site of the city’s summer “Movies in the Park” series, and every Saturday is home to the Sustainable Food Center’s Downtown Farmers’ Market. The newly renovated square is a green space unlike any in Austin. Daily programming and featured events, modern amenities, beautiful art and a café make it a uniquely Austin experience.

Other development has begun in and around Republic Square as well. One of Austin’s best combination butcher shops & restaurants, Salt & Time, is opening a new cafe within downtown’s revamped Republic Square Park at 422 Guadalupe Street, opening sometime between late summer to early fall. The downtown outpost will serve sandwiches, salads, charcuterie, and more. There will be dedicated breakfast dishes, like bowls, sandwiches, and pastries. Drinks will include alcoholic options (a first for the park), like canned and kegged beer and wine, as well as coffee, juice, kombucha, and soda. The cafe will also feature future collaborations with vendors from the SFC Farmers Market Downtown, which takes place at the park every Saturday.

The Hotel ZaZa/Gables Republic Square tower at 401 Guadalupe Street is supposed to deliver sometime in 2019. This tower will be a mix of both a chic boutique apartment community and a renowned boutique hotel, allowing residents to experience the amenities of both, plus have easy accessibility to the entertainment and events at Republic Square. In addition to the Gables building, there is an assembly of vacant properties at the corner of Fifth and Lavaca Streets that will soon be coming down to make way for a 44-story Hanover Republic Square apartment tower, which would mean 310 more apartments, hundreds of parking spaces and possibly another new restaurant near Republic Square.

Although the square has seen many different seasons and years of history, the current revitalization and development of Republic Square means that the most promising years under Austin’s “Auction Oaks” are yet to come! Visit Republic Square for a Saturday Farmer’s Market or a Movie in the Park and take advantage of all this public square has to offer Austin residents.