Downtown Development Digest | Austin Proper Hotel & Residences

The Proper Place To Live

Proper has hotels in San Francisco, Santa Monica, Downtown L.A., and now Austin, Texas. Opening Fall 2019, the new Austin Proper Hotel and Residences includes 32 stories of glass and skyline views with 244 rooms and suites; 99 branded residences; four unique settings for dining and drinks; a focus on wellness with a dedicated spa and fitness center; plus a variety of atmospheric spaces for events. And it wouldn’t be Proper without a 5th floor rooftop pool deck offering small-batch tequilas and majestic lake views. The limited collection of 99 condominium residences and penthouses is part social club, part high-design hideaway—right in the cultural constellation of downtown’s Second Street District. Austin Proper Hotel and Residences offers an artful immersion in lifestyle and well-being. With emphasis on collaboration, the passionate, compelling vision of designer Kelly Wearstler meets the culinary creativity of Austin tastemaker McGuire Moorman Hospitality. 

“Each Proper Hotel is a reflection of its particular destination. Austin has a vibe, It’s casual yet sophisticated. Intelligent yet unaffected.” -Kelly Wearstler

Photos and information from https://www.properhotel.com/hotels/austin/

Relocating To Austin

No longer a hidden gem, Austin has become an international destination for businesses and tourists alike. Located in the heart of Central Texas and bordered by the scenic hill country to the west, Austin’s mild climate and relatively affordable cost-of-living appeal to many.

Austin is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the U.S., adding about 150 new residents each day in 2017, totaling nearly 55,000 newcomers in a single year. With predictions that the population is expected to double by 2040, we expect demand for housing to continue to strengthen.

While company expansions in Austin and the low employment rate are largely credited for the population boom, make no mistake Austin appeals to many purely from a lifestyle perspective. With ample parks and green space, miles of hike and bike trails and beautiful Lady Bird Lake meandering through the middle of town, newcomers and tourists flock to the city. The creative culture, live music and sheer energy of downtown Austin is contagious. And the tacos. Don’t forget the tacos.

Working with a great Realtor is invaluable when relocating to a new area. Urbanspace Realtors has specialized in the urban core and Central Austin area since 2000 and would love to be your go-to resource for all things Austin. Visit our team page to learn more about us, and our neighborhood page for unique market snapshots. Contact us for personalized assistance.

Click here for more helpful resources to help you with the move to Austin.

Downtown Development Digest | HEB + Favor

Hello Groceries


HEB is giving themselves a name in the digital retail market with Favor becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of their company. HEB and Favor are making a new home for themselves in Austin, Texas. Their creative tech facility and innovation lab will be in East Austin at 2416 East 6th Street. The 81,000 square foot building is being designed by IA Interior architects, and is projected to be complete in Spring of 2019. The building will be within walking distance of HEB’s 7th street store along with coffee shops, restaurants, and others.

In recent years HEB has started their curbside and delivery services that have been booming in cities around Texas. This new development will allow aggressive expansion of these services making our lives a whole lot easier. HEB is optimistic of their new development and is ready for Austin, “Bringing HEB and Favor closer together will allow us to promote collaboration between our two companies as we strengthen our commitment to building out HEBs omnichannel services”, says Jag Bath, HEB’s Chief Digital Officer. HEB being originally based out of San Antonio is excited to expand their footprint in Austin, Texas.  



Photos and information from https://newsroom.heb.com/h-e-b-announces-plans-to-develop-a-world-class-tech-facility-in-austin/ and https://austin.curbed.com/2018/9/5/17823380/austin-new-tech-headquarters-heb-favor


Downtown Development Digest | Waller Park Place

Rejuvenate Rainey


At the corner of Cesar Chavez and Red River keep an eye out for the largest private development project Downtown Austin has seen. The site will be the home to Waller Park Place a three tower development. Tower “A” will be an office building, Tower “B” will become a Multifamily apartment, and Tower “C”, will be a hotel condominium. Mixed-use development is the poster child for pedestrian friendly environments, and Waller Park Place has landed the jackpot for walkability. With so many things to do around the area such as jogging, eating, shopping, or just enjoying the Austin lifestyle, this has it all!

The proposed development by The Sutton Company incorporates the natural curves of the creek and enhances the area with terraces for people to enjoy the scenery. The 3 acre site is said to have 300,000 sq ft of office and residential space, 150 room hotel, 498 residential units, and 600,000 sq ft of retail space. The IBI Group is heading up the architectural design and aims to create a dramatic and sensory experience for all visitors.

This development is going to boost the overall worth of the Rainey Street area so get ahead of the curve and find your way into one of these new towers. Not only is this development going to help the economy and growth of Rainey, but it is also said to be in compliance with Austin Great Streets Program!

Get the best of both worlds with the new oasis being developed in Downtown Austin.



In the News | Why Are Companies Choosing to Expand in Austin?

A great deal of compelling information was shared at the recent Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) Exchange event held at the JW Marriott. One of the sessions, Why Are Companies Choosing to Expand in Austin, included panelists from Google and Merck, both expanding their presence in Austin.

Heather Paffe, Director of External Affairs for Merck, said they plan to hire several hundred people in Austin over the next 10 years. The emerging healthcare ecosystem and Dell Medical School opening made Austin a good fit for Merck. She credited the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce as well as community leaders for being pro-active in working with Merck to get them here.

Gerardo Interiano, Head of Local Market Staffing for Google, emphasized a focus on diversifying in an effort to prevent effects similar to the tech bust in 2000. At about 300,000 square feet and 800 employees in their downtown office, Interiano believes that Google’s growth is directly related to Austin. He noted that Austin’s culture has huge appeal for their employee base, and quipped that the city is the perfect intersection of fitness and food. He indicated that Austin is the ideal pilot market for Google Fiber and self-driving cars.

Paffe added that the spirit of collaboration in Austin is also a draw for Merck, versus the highly competitive environment of Silicon Valley. When asked who Merck is hiring, she said access to top talent is one of the main reasons they chose Austin. Internally, they refer to Austin as the IT hub. They also benefit from working closely with local universities to develop recruiting pipelines, which works well as graduates often state that staying in Austin is a big priority for them. However, she also notes that competition for top talent in Austin is high, and because senior level talent tends to be happy where they are, they must be creative in recruiting.

Interiano said Google staff in Austin consists largely of their recruiting team and sales team. He noted the soft skills for sales and recruiting tend to work well together, making cross-training easier.

Both Paffe and Interiano named transportation and infrastructure as the biggest challenges for their employees in terms of commute time, and both companies are seeking creative solutions. Google offers a Van Pool and picks up the tab on the van and gas for those willing to carpool. They are also trying incentives, like paying employees to find alternatives to driving to work. Merck hosts company events using public transportation to give employees a chance to experience the routes. Paffe says alternative transportation is a big focus for Merck, and that about 50% of the team does not drive themselves to work.

Aside from transportation woes, it came as no surprise that quality of life in Austin is a big draw for companies and individuals alike.

Downtown Development Digest | Arrive

Live Like the Locals

There will be a new kid on the block coming Spring of 2019 for Austin East-siders. ARRIVE is a boutique style hotel that provides rooms, retail space, restaurants, bars, and 3,500 sq ft of meeting/event space. This 83 room hotel will be front desk free putting check in at the bar. You saw it right the BAR! This unique design requires the guest to immerse themselves in the Austin culture right off the bat. ARRIVE is inviting locals to enjoy the restaurants/bars and make them apart of their own social scene.

“East Austin’s energy is magnetic. It is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the country and one we are proud to join and celebrate. And we look forward to embracing and supporting the local community of East Austin.”

ARRIVE opened their first hotel in Palm Springs in 2016. The hotel was a huge success providing a new sense of community for the area. Locals thrive in the spaces provided by the hotel and welcome visitors with open arms. The culture of a neighborhood versus a standard hotel chain is refreshing and creates an environment that people are drawn to.

Invite your out of town friends to drop in and experience the Austin Lifestyle with us at ARRIVE! Be apart of the movement that is making waves! (P.S. you also get a free drink at check in)

Photos and information found  on www.arriveenterprises.com and www.mystatesman.com/arrivehotel

Downtown Development Digest | Hotel ZaZa + Gables Residences

The New Hotel ZaZa will be approximately 24 stories and include hotel rooms and some residences. This boutique hotel is a member of the Hotel ZaZa family, a group of luxury hotels you will only find in Texas. This new building, found at 401 Guadalupe Street, is set to open Summer of 2019. The hotel will go up to the 12th floor, with 160 rooms, and the 13th floor and beyond will be residences, 215 luxury apartments to be specific. The hotel will be considered a Austin Energy Green Building, with a two-star rating, thanks to energy-efficient appliances and other “green” features. The ground floor of Hotel ZaZa will have a fun bar area and a “Za Spa,” open to residents as well as the public. The residences will include a fitness center, a library, a pool and hot-tub, and an outdoor fireplace and lounge. There will be two pool decks, one for the residences and one for the hotel. Both decks and many other amenities on the site will have views of Republic Square Park and the downtown skyline. The residences will begin leasing late Summer 2018, with an opening date the following year. The lot at West Fourth and Guadalupe will add some incredible real estate to the downtown Austin experience.


In the News | Bird Rides Launch in Austin

Bird Rides, a venture-backed rental app based in Santa Monica, launched its electric scooters throughout Austin in early April.

Austin, being a known leader in forward thinking, is an ideal location for Bird to launch their new, modern mobility solution. This modernized approach of dockless and electric vehicle sharing offers communities an easy, eco-friendly way to get around issues of time constraints and traffic congestion. Talk about an innovative form of transportation!

Users of this ride-sharing service are charged $1 to start the scooter and 15 cents per minute that its used, must be over 18 and must consent to a safety agreement. Bird Rides uses their app to unlock the rental scooters and to provide their users with step-by-step instructions, as well as parking and safety reminders.

Bird Rides, striving to work closely with cities, has a mission to make transportation better, more accessible and more environmentally friendly. The dockless scooter and bike company has already partnered with cities throughout California, as well as with Washington D.C..

Since the Austin launch, controversy has hit the city and Austin officials have already impounded over 50 Bird scooters that were left in violation of city code. The City Council originally planned a pilot program for dockless bike and scooters to begin this summer. However – with Bird Rides and LimeBike launching their ride share services earlier than expected – the city has been thrown into a state of playing catch-up, as they continue to determine if any special laws and regulations apply to the companies.

The current situation of vehicle sharing deems to be similar to the Uber and Lyft controversy experienced in 2016. The city is merely aiming to take precautions in regard to the scooter’ safety concerns and the issue of unused scooters being left in highly-trafficked areas, such as side walks.

In response, Bird has promptly directed its users to comply with each city’s specific parking instructions for the vehicles, and is proactively planning efforts to relieve any other issues that may arise with their services. The company has a stern policy regarding those who violate Bird’s terms of service attain the consequence of being removed from the platform.

If you wish to support this innovative and eco-friendly transportation solution staying in the City of Austin, please click here to sign the petition!

Downtown Development Digest | SXSW Tower + New HQ


South by Southwest finally locked down a location for a prominent headquarters spot in downtown Austin. The 13-story tower is going up at 1400 Lavaca Street, in the heart of downtown, yet close enough to the Capital for some great views. In the past, SXSW offices have been small and strewn across varying Austin campuses, so this new tower will give them an increase in space as well as consolidate their groups. The 145,000 square foot building floor plan features a column-less structure. The top 3 floors will be owned by SXSW, for their offices and headquarters.

The 13th floor of the building is where you will find a building penthouse and rooftop garden with a patio deck, with amazing views of Austin’s nearby features. It will also feature rain gardens and a lounge area on the rooftop. This space is available to tenants for private events.  

The tower is located off of the City bus route and bike trail, so tenants and guests may access it with ease. There will also be air-conditioned and security-guarded bike storage rooms for tenants, If buses and bikes aren’t quite your style, five stories of the building are a parking garage, with electric car-charging stations. The tower is also in a great location in downtown, so walk-ability should be a breeze for most downtown Austinites.

The remainder of the tower will be available for businesses, restaurants and retail, to lease. The building will have amenities like a coffee and snack bar in the lobby as well as a popular restaurant, both open to the public. The tower will also feature an onsite gym with spa-like locker rooms, and more.

The $41 million dollar tower is set to be very eco-friendly, in compliance with Universal Recycling Ordinance, hosting lots of plants on-site including a plaza raingarden, xeriscaping, limestone walkways, and equipped with lots of energy-efficient appliances. SXSW also hopes to expand its tech solutions and innovations, so the building will likely be very technologically-friendly and innovative as well. The tower will bring a new, trendy addition to the downtown Austin environment.

Downtown Development Digest | Marriott Austin Downtown

On the corner of Cesar Chavez and San Jacinto, you can find the site for a new 613-room hotel, a new Marriott Downtown. Made to compliment its sister hotel the J.W. Marriott, the new hotel will include a massive pool deck and over 60,000 feet of meeting space. The hotel will have deck areas for guests to enjoy views of Lady Bird Lake, downtown Austin and the State Capitol building. The 31-story Marriott will feature a few bars and restaurants, too.

The new development is currently under construction with a planned opening in Summer of 2020. The Hotel will have an amazing deck and rooftop pool area, event space and an exhibit hall. The location of the site is within walking distance of the Austin Convention Center. Sources say the Convention Center downtown may be expanding, and may even potentially connect to the new Marriott via a Skybridge. Keep your eyes open for the new Marriott Hotel going up downtown, with a proposed opening in 2020. 


Downtown Development Digest | Project Catalyst

Along with the natural expansion of downtown Austin, a plan for a ‘Domain-style’ development has begun to emerge on East Riverside: Project Catalyst.

The project that has been germinating over the past few years will rezone a 97-acre site in Southeast Austin, adjacent to Oracle’s new campus. The site plans are composed of over 5 million square feet of space for thousands of apartments, hundreds of hotel rooms, dozens of shops and restaurants, and plenty of offices.

Due to the rezoning process of the project site not being scheduled for completion until sometime this year or within the next year, construction is not envisioned to begin before 2020. However, once approved by the Austin City Council, the development plans to be built in five phases over a 25-year period.

Nimes Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, is the developer proposing the mixed-used development that will continue to transform Southeast Austin. Their initial goal surrounding the project is to build an “urban village.”

Given the current circumstances of congestion that are overwhelming the downtown districts, East Riverside Drive is the most logical and ideal location to expand into. Preliminary renderings of Project Catalyst show buildings, reaching 16 stories, that would be the tallest to occupy this portion of Southeast Austin. This “urban village” ultimately envisions to be a “third downtown – North Austin’s Domain and Domain Northside duo have already claimed the name of Austin’s “second downtown.”

Currently, the site consists of The Ballpark East apartment complex, comprising of 1,308 units for college students and working-class residents. Throughout the course of a few years, Nimes Capital has bought the apartment complex along with its adjacent land.

If the mixed-use development project proceeds as intended, it will neighbor Oracle’s new 40-acre corporate campus and an exponentially growing amount of nearby apartment complexes, retail establishments and office spaces.

Downtown Austin’s booming market is sure to continue to flourish in East Riverside, especially with Project Catalyst’s proposed plans for expansion.

Downtown Development Digest | North Gateway Plaza

Capella Capital Partners has a $250 million dollar residential and office tower under works, near the Domain. This tower will be the first downtown-style tower in the area and will have a neighboring tower with office, restaurant and retail space available as well, and a shared seven-story parking garage for the two towers. The development will begin construction in North Austin, near the McKalla area, or the spot being scouted for a potential major league soccer stadium. The 22-story tower will host many apartments with varying floor plans, some encompassing multiple stories. Building amenities will include a pool, deck, and fitness center. Capella hopes the development will be finished in 2021, and construction will potentially begin early next year.