Urbanspace opening 2 restaurants in Rainey Street high-rise

Urbanspace opening 2 restaurants in Rainey Street high-rise

‘Top Chef’ winner tapped to helm kitchens; Hot coals no easy feat within a skyscraper

Chef Gabriel Erales, left, with Merrill Alley and Kevin Burns of Urbanspace. The new 44 East Ave tower will soon host Bacalar and Tomalo, two new restaurants.
Photo by Arnold Wells

“Top Chef” winner Gabe Erales will open a restaurant in the Rainey Street district downtown, working with Urbanspace Hospitality.

Urbanspace started as a real estate brokerage in Austin and has continued to grow its divisions, most recently moving into development and the hospitality space. While many may fear jumping into the low-profit-margin restaurant industry — especially in an uncertain economy — Kevin Burns, founder and CEO of Urbanspace, has high hopes for the company’s new effort.

Executive chef and co-owner Erales will be working on two concepts: a two-story, sit-down restaurant called Bacalar and Tomalo, a taco, agua fresca and coffee takeaway window. The two eateries will sit on the ground floor of 44 East Ave, a new condominium tower on the edge of Lady Bird Lake developed by Intracorp Projects Ltd. Flintco is the general contractor and Urbanspace oversees condominium sales.

Burns said the restaurants are slated to open in late spring.

Read the full story at Austin Business Journal »

Austin’s Top Chef competitor to open Mexican eatery in trendy downtown district

Austin’s Top Chef competitor to open Mexican eatery in trendy downtown district

Photo by Mackenzie Smith Kelley

A taste of the Yucatan is coming to the Rainey Street District, care of an Austin-based top chef.

Chef Gabe Erales, currently a contestant on season 18 of Bravo’s Top Chef and a champion of Mexican cuisine, will open his first restaurant — a Mexican-inspired eatery called Bacalar that will draw influence from various regions of the Yucatan Peninsula, where Erales has family roots.

Scheduled to open in the fall of next year, Bacalar will anchor the ground level of the 44 East Ave Residences, the slick skyscraper currently under construction on the banks of Lady Bird Lake.

Read the full story at CultureMap Austin »

Two Popular Austin Bars to Be Bulldozed

Two Rainey Street establishments — Container Bar and Bungalow — are on track to be bulldozed to make way for a 53-story hotel and apartment tower.

On March 23, the Austin Historic Landmark Commission is scheduled to consider a proposal to demolish Bungalow, a former residence at 92 Rainey St. that dates back to the early 1900s. Container Bar, at 90 Rainey St., also is set to be torn down.

The developer of the high-rise plans to incorporate both bars into the new building. “The bars will stay open up until we start construction next year,” Kevin Burns, CEO of Austin-based Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors, tells CultureMap.

The 582,513-square-foot, 606-foot-tall project features:

  • 349,508 square feet of hotel space, including 424 guest rooms.
  • 227,180 square feet of residential space, offering 198 studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments. Nineteen of the units are earmarked for affordable housing.
  • 5,825 square feet of restaurant and bar space.

At 606 feet, the Rainey Street tower would be about 150 feet taller than the nearby Fairmont Austin hotel, which is the third tallest building in Austin (excluding its 139-foot-tall spire). The proposed site of the skyscraper covers a little over one-third of an acre.

Burns says construction is expected to start in mid-2021.

Read the full article at CultureMap.com »


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