The New South Congress

If you haven’t driven down South Congress Avenue in a while, you might be surprised at some of the developments that are popping up in the South Congress/St. Elmo area.

Here are just a few of the projects that you can already find in development in this revitalized area of town:

  1. The Public Lofts (4361 S Congress)- The PUBLIC is the first residential community in this revitalized area of South Congress and St. Elmo. The PUBLIC offers loft-style homes with open floor plans and outdoor terraces. Amenities include a rooftop fitness center & pool, a lounge, yoga & meditation studio, a shaded courtyard square with outdoor fireplace, and an off-leash dog park. Our very own Skelly Home Renovations is one of the storefronts located at the bottom of the The Public Lofts, as well as Urban Betty salon, Fawn and Blu, Flourish!, and many more!

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2. St. Elmo Public Market (4329 S Congress Ave)- Modeled after Pike Place Market in Seattle and Chelsea Market in New York, the St. Elmo Public Market will attract restaurants, music, entertainment, media, technology and related companies to the available office space building around the market. Some food vendors who have already signed on to come into St. Elmo Public Market are Mignette, a bakery and modern diner, a butcher shop/restaurant by the owners of Salt & Time, the Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company, and a new restaurant from Lick Honest Ice Creams and Family Business Beer Co.

Saint Elmo Public Market will be a place of business for local craftsmen, restaurateurs, farmers, artists and musicians. For the public, it will be a place to gather, dine, or have a drink with friends and family in a relaxed and inspiring environment. Additionally, the market and surrounding spaces will focus on the unique culture of Austin - which includes some of the best food and live music in the world.

The St. Elmo Public Market is expected to deliver sometime in late 2019.

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3. Aloft Hotel (South Congress at East St Elmo)-The site plan & permit have been approved for a 135 room Aloft Hotel on a 2-acre sight right at South Congress and East St. Elmo. Visitors to Austin can stay on South Congress and explore all the Austin culture that this trendy part of town has to offer.

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4. The Yard (440 E St Elmo Rd)- The Yard is a 200,000 square foot complex offering both manufacturing and retail space to artists, makers, creatives and social entrepreneurs, all in the same place.


Once completed, the site will be home to a diverse mix of businesses including The Austin Winery, Drophouse Design, Vuka, Impact Hub Austin, Music Lab, Still Austin Distillery, SUP ATX, The Spokesman, St. Elmo Brewing Co., Soursop, wakaNINE, Raw Paw, Enabler, Sauceda Industries, Blanton Design, ECO Roof & Solar, El Famoso, MADabolic Fitness, Wooly's Beach Volleyball, Sign Depot of Austin, The Loud Juice, and more!

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So, whether you are a local looking for something to do on a Saturday, or a tourist looking to explore Austin this weekend, come check out the new South Congress. You’ll find many good surprises in this newly revitalized part of town.

48 East Condominiums to be Zoned as a Hotel

48 East is the one of the latest and most unique condominium development projects to be approved in the Rainey Street District.  It’s unique because the Austin-based STG Design building will actually be zoned as a hotel, which will be powered by Airbnb.   

It’s confusing, but innovative. The concept is a 33-story, 239 unit building that combines the comfortable qualities of a short-term residential rental with the amenities and efficiency of a hotel. 

Once constructed, the building will offer units for sale in the price range of $300,000 for a 454 square feet studio to up to $1.2 million for a 1390 square feet, multiple bedroom condominium. Residents will have the opportunity to rent out their units via Airbnb for up to 180 days per year. 

Airbnb plans to charge 25% off the top and will provide “MasterHost” services at each property for items such as guest check-in, cleaning and linen service.  An added amenity will be local “Airbnb Experiences” for guests—events that involve hosts sharing their own takes on local culture and activities.

Condominiums can be purchased furnished or unfurnished and will feature additional features such as an extra lockable closet to store sensitive belongings and digital locks for keyless entry.    The building itself will include amenities available to all owners and guests, including co-working spaces, hotel-style food and beverage offerings, a spa-inspired fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck.

Property owners will be responsible for hotel occupancy taxes as well as property taxes and will not be allowed homestead exemptions on property taxes. 48 East is expected to open in 2021. 

What is your opinion of this condo/hotel/Airbnb concept?  Do you like the idea of a downtown condominium building built for short term rentals? Make your opinion known in the comments below!

Bouldin Creek Development to Add Needed Office Space to South Lamar

Austin’s next high end office development is coming to the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood at South Lamar and Oltorf.

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The Bouldin Creek Office Complex will house 165,000 square feet of office development and 2,500 square feet of retail shops, all fronting South Lamar. The location of this office complex, just 1.2 miles from downtown, will attract many potential tenants, including technology, marketing and financial services firms, as well as law and accounting firms.

The project will have an open-air feel and beautiful views of downtown, as it plans to house a rooftop deck and two acres of green space bordering Bouldin Creek.

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When can we expect to see shops and offices open at Bouldin Creek? This project is designed by Austin architect Michael Hsu and is expected to deliver by the summer of 2020.

Interested in homes in the Bouldin Creek Area? Homes sold for a average price of $630,000 in this area last year! Check out all available listings here:



Zoho to Move Its American HQ to Austin

The Silicon Valley continues to shift to the Silicon Hills of Austin, TX, as another global business software company, Zoho, plans to move its HQ to Austin by 2021.  

The company has purchased a 375-acre plot of land in southeast Austin near the airport (Texas State Highway 71 near Kellam Road), and is planning to build a 100,000 SF campus on this site that houses at least 500 employees. 

According to Zoho’s founder, Sridhar Vembu, Zoho is moving its headquarters to Austin because “Austin is how San Francisco used to be 30 years ago. It had the weirdness. It had all this stuff. The artists and the live music.”  And Vembu has pledged that Zoho will help keep Austin weird by doing things a little differently. 

Here Are 5 Ways That Zoho Will Help “Keep Austin Weird”

1. Zoho is privately owned and debt free.  Without the pressure from Wall Street or outside investors, Zoho doesn’t have to worry about making certain numbers and is free to exert more independence in creating a very unique company culture.

2. Zoho doesn’t merge or acquire products from any other company; instead, it develops all of its own software.

3.  Zoho is not going to seek incentives from local or state government or ask for tax abatements on the property. 

4. Zoho is moving to a piece of farmland on the outskirts of Austin rather than renting a space in downtown Austin because it’s a money saver. In fact, it actually costs less to buy the 375-acre plot of land out by the airport than it did to buy Zoho’s other 45-acre main campus in India!

 5.  Zoho plans to start an in-house education program called Zoho University that works closely with local schools to teach students skills and to educate its own employees to advance their positions within the company.  This program, Zoho University, is an alternative to a traditional college education and has been remarkably successful in India. At the school, Zoho pays students to learn how to create and use Zoho software. It hires many of its graduates. In fact, 15 percent of Zoho’s engineering workforce is made up of graduates from Zoho University.

"We create our own talent with Zoho University," said Vembu. And the company is able to acquire talent from a pool of people that end up with a clear understanding of the way things work, and, a respect for the culture that Zoho has created."  Zoho hopes to work closely with local high schools and Austin Community College to develop the American version of this program.

A strong value for independence, a unique culture, and a tech firm (and potential university!) landing out on a piece of farmland near the airport. Welcome to Austin, Zoho; it sounds like you’re a perfect fit here.

Zoho is 23 years old and has grown to 45 million users worldwide across 180 countries.  Bringing the HQ to southeast Austin area should increase property values in the area and create yet another tech “hub,” but this time in the south of Austin!  Are you looking to purchase a home in this area?  Do it now and watch your property values increase as Zoho continues to expand its Austin influence! 

As Austin Develops, Should We Protect All 35 of Austin's Capitol View Corridors?

What is a “Capitol View Corridor” and why are these corridors so important to building development in Austin, Texas?  Ever since the Texas State Capitol was created back in 1888, there has been a city initiative to protect and preserve the views of the Capitol from various viewpoints around the city.  Capitol View Corridors are a series of legal restrictions on construction in Austin aimed at preserving the visibility of the Texas State Capitol. This is a common practice in many state capitols, and most strictly enforced in our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C..

 In 1931, the city of Austin decided that no building within a particular zoning ordinance would exceed 200 ft.  This rule would maintain views to the capitol building and emphasize it as one of Austin’s most important structures. 

Over the years, however, the city flexed from time to time, allowing exceptions to this 200 ft rule as long as the buildings maintained a certain setback or stair-step effect that still allowed capitol views.  If you look at some of our main corridors along Congress Avenue or Lamar, you will notice some of these unusually shaped buildings that had to make adjustments to maintain a clear capitol view.  In response to the historical bending and flexing of the city rules, a state statue was passed in 1983 that established an official “Capitol View Corridor” in Austin, TX.  All buildings built within this corridor would now undeniably have to follow state regulations.

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If we count all the views protected by both the city and the state, there are 35 Capitol view corridors today. Some are just a few city blocks while others, are extremely long, like the corridor that goes out to the 360 bridge.

map courtesy of ftp.austintexas.gov

map courtesy of ftp.austintexas.gov

Today, as development is at a premium in downtown Austin, there has been much discussion if all 35 viewpoints of this capitol corridor still need to be protected today. What is your opinion? Do you think it is important that the city & state maintain a Capitol View Corridor? Should the Texas State Capitol remain the centerpiece of Austin’s skyline? As development pressure increases, time will only tell how many “exceptions” or “revisions” will be made to these state statutes in the future. But for now, enjoy those views of the dome and the goddess of liberty that you see from over this beautiful city.