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Austin Ranks as “Best-Performing” City Once Again

Austin Ranks as

“Best-Performing” City Once Again

 

Photo taken from Aquila Commercial. 

 

For the third year in a row, Austin took the No. 3 spot on the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities report.

Milken’s index ranks cities on a variety of metrics, including jobs, wages, salaries and technology output. It’s designed to help the public and private sectors evaluate and compare cities throughout the nation. It is particularly handy for Realtors, job recruiters and site selectors.

Placed in the “tier 1” category that includes 13 large and 13 small cities, Austin ranked number 3 right after (1) Provo, Utah and (2) Palm Bay, Florida, demonstrating its improvement in many indicators including “one year job and wage growth” and “five year job and wage growth”. No other Texas cities were in the top 10.

Among the many advantages of living in the Lone Star State, Austin offers a low tax rate and plenty of space for expansion and development. Austin boasts a relatively low cost of living despite a thriving tech sector and has marketed itself as friendly and open to business relocations. Dell, Apple Inc., IBM, and Samsung Austin Semiconductor are all major employers, and BAE Systems recently announced a new Austin campus, which plans to bring an additional 800 jobs to the city. The state capital is also home to the University of Texas at Austin, which is a major research university with strong ties to industry. Oracle, the world’s second-largest software maker, also recently announced plans to move its headquarters to Austin from Redwood City, highlighting the city’s magnetic tech pull.

Despite a tumultuous 2020 globally, the large public sector has helped stabilize the economy. The federal, state, and city governments each employ over 6,000 people, contributing to a 16th place rank in short-term job growth. Housing affordability, however, will continue to be an issue beyond the pandemic, especially with the growth in housing costs in recent years.

 

CALIFORNIA LOSES STEAM

Municipalities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area — known lately for sending thousands of new residents to Texas — took a beating in the Milken report.

San Francisco, which took the top spot in last year’s breakdown of U.S. cities, fell 23 places. San Jose, which was No. 5 last year, came in at 22. And Oakland dropped 48 spots, going from 17 to 65.

But the biggest declines in the country came from some of the Bay Area’s outlying cities. Salinas suffered the largest drop of any U.S. metro area, falling 90 places from 41 to 131. The Santa Cruz-Watsonville metro area went from 52 to 124, a 72-point drop.

“A notable common characteristic of the cities that dropped the most is their proximity to larger ‘superstar cities,'” according to the report from the Milken Institute, which is based in Southern California. “Most of these metros also have low levels of high-tech industry concentration and extremely high housing costs. In Oakland’s case, these pressures have displaced many residents and decreased socioeconomic diversity.”

“The pandemic has had an outsized impact on cities where the economic effects of the current recession are exacerbated by high-housing costs,” said Kevin Klowden executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics and California Center.

The Milken rankings measures economic vitality in 200 large metropolitan areas and 201 small metropolitan areas using job creation, wage growth and innovation industry metrics. The 2021 version of emphasized jobs, wages and high tech growth, housing affordability and household broadband access.

To download the full report from the Milken Institute, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tech Scene: Austin-area Tech Employers

The Austin Tech Scene: Austin-area Tech Employers

 

Photo from: 9TO5Mac
Photo from: 9TO5Mac

 

Austin, Texas, has become one of the hottest relocation hotspots for tech talent during the pandemic. Ranked by the number of Austin employees, check out the top 10 tech employers with offices in the Austin Area.

The tech companies included provide some sort of proprietary technology that changes the way business is done. They include hardware and software makers, internet-based services, e-commerce companies, semiconductor corporations, manufacturers, biotech firms and artificial intelligence businesses, to mention just a few.

Information for the list is gathered from ABJ surveys, news coverage and company websites.

 

1. DELL TECHNOLOGIES

  • Address: One Dell Way, Round Rock, 78682
  • Brief Description: Dell Technologies helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live and play with an innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era.
  • Sector: Hardware, software, IT, services
  • Number of Austin Employees: 13,000
  • Products & Services: IT products and services
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1984

 

2. APPLE INC.

  • Address: 12545 Riata Vista Cir., Austin, 78727
  • Brief Description: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) is an information technology company headquartered in Cupertino, Calif. that provides consumer electronics, software and services.
  • Sector: Hardware, software, services
  • Number of Austin Employees: 7,000
  • Products & Services: Mobile communication, computers, music players, related software/services, peripherals, third-party digital content and apps
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 2004

 

3. IBM CORP. 

  • Address: 11500 Burnet Rd., Austin, 78758
  • Brief Description: IBM Corp. focuses on the intersection of business insight and technological innovation through five business segments: cognitive solutions, global business services, tech services and cloud platforms, systems and global financing.
  • Sector: Hardware, software and IT
  • Number of Austin Employees: 6,000
  • Products & Services: IT infrastructure, services, consulting, hardware/software, microelectronics, research
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1967

 

4. ACCENTURE PLC 

  • Address: 323 Congress Ave., Austin, 78701
  • Brief Description: Accenture is a global professional services company with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security across more than 40 industries.
  • Sector: Technology consulting
  • Number of Austin Employees: 4,500
  • Products & Services: Professional services with leading capabilities in digital, cloud and security; Strategy and Consulting, Interactive, Technology and Operations services
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1976

 

5. AMAZON.COM LLC

  • Address: 11501 Alterra Pkwy., Austin, 78758
  • Brief Description: Amazon.com LLC is an online retailer based in Seattle with distribution center in San Marcos and an office at the Domain.
  • Sector: E-commerce
  • Number of Austin Employees: 4,000
  • Products & Services: Online retailer with distribution center in San Marcos and an office at the Domain
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 2015

 

5. NXP SEMICONDUCTORS

  • Address: 6501 W. William Cannon Dr., Austin, 78735
  • Brief Description: NXP is a semiconductor designer and manufacturer of smart chips for automotive, mobile, and the industrial IoT.
  • Sector: Semiconductor
  • Number of Austin Employees: 4,000
  • Products & Services: Semiconductor design and manufacturer of embedded processors, such as microcontrollers and digital networking processors
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1974

 

7. SAMSUNG AUSTIN SEMICONDUCTOR LLC

  • Address: 12100 Samsung Blvd., Austin, 78754
  • Brief Description: Samsung Austin Semiconductor, a US-based subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., is one of the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the world with more than 3,000 employees and 2.45 million square feet of floor space.
  • Sector: Semiconductor
  • Number of Austin Employees: 3,000
  • Products & Services: Broad semiconductor processors including mobile, graphic, consumer, networking/high performance computing, Internet of Things, RF and automotive
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1996

 

8. AT&T INC. 

  • Address: 816 Congress Ave., Austin, 78701
  • Brief Description: AT&T is a modern media company headquartered in Dallas whose mission is to inspire human progress through the power of communication and entertainment.
  • Sector: Communications
  • Number of Austin Employees: 2,800
  • Products & Services: Advanced IP-based business services, wireless high-speed Internet access and voice service
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1881

 

8. INDEED

  • Address: 6433 Champion Grandview Way, Austin, 78750
  • Brief Description: More people find jobs on Indeed than anywhere else. Indeed is the #1 job site in the world (comScore, March 2018) and allows job seekers to search millions of jobs in more than 60 countries and 28 languages. For more information, visit indeed.com.
  • Sector: Internet, software
  • Number of Austin Employees: 2,800
  • Products & Services: Job search engine, job postings, job advertising, resume subscriptions, employer branding products, company pages, skills tests
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 2004

 

10. APPLIED MATERIALS INC. 

  • Address: 9700 E. Hwy. 290, Austin, 78724
  • Brief Description: Applied Materials is the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world.
  • Sector: Tech manufacturing
  • Number of Austin Employees: 2,510
  • Products & Services: Materials engineering for the semiconductor, advanced display and adjacent industries
  • Year Est. in Austin Area: 1992

 

 

Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Space Strategy

Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Space Strategy

 

Shoal Creek conservancy is excited to announce their draft public space strategy that envisions the potential future of the district on their Cypress & Shoal Public Space Strategy community engagement headquarters. Input on transforming Cypress & Shoal Creek is highly valued by the conservancy, who will be accepting input from the public until January 31st. Below you can view the public outreach summary from 2020, as well as detailed information on each of the five project areas, including: a summary of existing conditions and public input, imagery to illustrate proposed design concepts, and the Draft Public Space Strategy for the area. Please visit the Cypress & Shoal Creek Public Strategy Page to leave your feedback.

 

PUBLIC OUTREACH SUMMARY: SPRING 2020

MARGARET MOSER PLAZA
  • congested plaza and street
  • confusing bike connection
  • not enough space for all uses
  • too many cars
  • no scooter parking
CONVERGENCE PLAZA
  • creek trail is poorly lit and feels unsafe
  • trash not cleaned regularly
  • blind crossings and hairpin turns are challenging for cyclists
  • could use more places to sit
MARKET PLAZA
  • confusing vehicular intersection
  • dangerous crosswalk
  • redundant drive streets
  • not enough bike parking
  • poor landscaping and maintenance
  • not enough shade
BOWIE STREET UNDERPASS
  • create safe connections for bikes and pedestrians
  • wider sidewalks
  • put vacant land to good use
  • deal with train noise
SHOAL CREEK TRAIL
  • widen the trail
  • create a safer trail
  • clean up trash and unsafe behavior
  • create passive seating areas

 

EXISTING BIKE & TRAIL ROUTES

 

CYPRESS & SHOAL CREEK: PROJECT AREAS

 

 

1. MARGARET MOSER PLAZA & 3RD STREET BRIDGES

Area of 3rd Street between the 360 Condos and Third + Shoal buildings, continuing over Shoal Creek via two renovated bridges.

 

MARGARET MOSER PLAZA & 3RD STREET BRIDGES: TODAY

PUBLIC FEEDBACK SUMMARY

  • congested plaza and street
  • confusing bike connection
  • not enough space for all uses
  • too many cars
  • no scooter parking

OPPORTUNITIES

  • streamline traffic for safety and convenience
  • create easier bike connections
  • restore historic railroad bridge for pedestrians
  • provide views of Lady Bird Lake
  • improve water quality of street stormwater runoff

CONSTRAINTS

  • city utilities spanning Shoal Creek
  • decaying railroad bridge
  • narrow commuter bridge
  • busy plaza
  • flood plain of shoal creek

 

 

MARGARET MOSER PLAZA & 3RD STREET BRIDGES: CONCEPTS

  • separated pedestrian and bike lanes across new bike/ped bridge
  • people-dominated plaza plaza specs where cars yield to pedestrian traffic
  • wider pedestrian bridge for bikes, scooters, pedestrians and pets
  • green streets with shade trees for health and comfort
  • clear directional signs
  • gateway element for district identity
  • restoration of the historic rail line
  • park space on old trestle bridge

MARGARET MOSER PLAZA & 3RD STREET BRIDGES: IN THE FUTURE

PLAZA GOALS

  • manage bikes, cars and people
  • improve safe crossings for all
  • narrow drive lanes and slow cars
  • improve and widen sidewalks
  • streamline the bike connection
  • incorporate sustainable design techniques

BRIDGE GOALS

  • new, wider commuter bridge
  • restore trestle bridge for public use and creek crossing
  • no impact to creek flood plain
  • provide a new, safe trail under bridges

KEY PLAN

 

 

 

2. CONVERGENCE PLAZA

Area between The Independent and the Austin Energy substation, at the convergence of 3rd Street and the Shoal Creek Trail.

CONVERGENCE PLAZA: TODAY

PUBLIC FEEDBACK SUMMARY

  • creek trail is poorly lit and feels unsafe
  • trash not cleaned regularly
  • blind crossings and hairpin turns are challenging for cyclists
  • could use more places to sit

OPPORTUNITIES

  • provide a continuous trail along the creek
  • improve lighting along the creek trail
  • widen paths for pedestrians and bikes
  • improve areas around Austin Energy land for public use

CONSTRAINTS

  • overhead and underground utilities
  • confusing traffic crossings and conflicts
  • significant grade changes

 

 

CONVERGENCE PLAZA: CONCEPTS

  • dedicated bike lanes
  • wider paths
  • dog park for residents and to reduce landscape damage
  • educational and wayfinding signage
  • use special paving colors or patterns to aid in wayfinding
  • utilize open space
  • provide space for seating

 

 

CONVERGENCE PLAZA: IN THE FUTURE (OPTION 1)

PLAZA GOALS: EAST-WEST

  • dedicated bike lanes
  • reduce bike and pedestrian conflicts
  • connectivity to new development
  • utilize open space
  • wider paths

CREEK TRAIL GOALS: NORTH-SOUTH

  • continue trail under bridges
  • interpretive/educational signage
  • wider paths
  • safer conditions

 

 

KEY PLAN

 

 

CONVERGENCE PLAZA: IN THE FUTURE (OPTION 2)

PLAZA GOALS: EAST-WEST

  • dedicated bike lanes
  • reduce bike and pedestrian conflicts
  • connectivity to new development
  • utilize open space
  • wider paths

CREEK TRAIL GOALS: NORTH-SOUTH

  • continue trail under bridges
  • interpretive/educational signage
  • wider paths
  • safer conditions

 

 

KEY PLAN

 

 

 

3. MARKET PLAZA

Area of 3rd Street and Power Plant Drive between Trader Joe’s/Seaholm Residences and the Gables West Avenue apartment building, reimagined as a public plaza.

 

 

MARKET PLAZA: TODAY

PUBLIC FEEDBACK SUMMARY

  • confusing vehicular intersection
  • dangerous crosswalk
  • redundant drive streets
  • not enough bike parking
  • poor landscaping and maintenance
  • not enough shade

OPPORTUNITIES

  • provide safer intersections
  • introduce more shade
  • improve water quality from street runoff
  • designated bike path
  • better pedestrian experience
  • re-vegetate the median with native plants

CONSTRAINTS

  • vehicular access and parking needs
  • fire department access
  • Austin Energy overhead power lines
  • pet relief needs

 

 

 

MARKET PLAZA: CONCEPTS

  • dedicated bike lane
  • dedicated pedestrian plaza
  • pop-up retail opportunities
  • stormwater treatment from street runoff
  • safer crosswalk
  • tighter turning radius for cars and shorter crosswalks
  • bold graphic markings to slow traffic
  • speed hump slows cars at crosswalks

 

 

 

 

MARKET PLAZA: IN THE FUTURE

GOALS:

  • reduce vehicular dominance
  • repurpose redundant parallel streets for pedestrians and bikes
  • provide safer crossings and reduce confusion
  • provide dedicated bike
  • improve pedestrian experience
  • maintain street parking
  • increase retail opportunities, such as pop-up markets
  • manage stormwater runoff
  • connect to future Bowie Street underpass

 

 

KEY PLAN

 

 

 

 

 

4. BOWIE STREET UNDERPASS

Connection of Bowie Street underneath the Union Pacific rail line, linking up with Sandra Muraida Way and ultimately to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake.

 

 

BOWIE STREET UNDERPASS: TODAY

PUBLIC FEEDBACK SUMMARY

  • create safe connections for bikes and pedestrians
  • wider sidewalks
  • use vacant city-owned property next to the train line for improved streetscape

OPPORTUNITIES

  • create designated bike & pedestrian connection to Pfluger bridge
  • create safer crossings
  • provide shaded sidewalks

CONSTRAINTS

  • Union Pacific active railway
  • Austin Energy overhead power lines
  • narrow roadway
  • significant grade changes

 

 

 

 

BOWIE STREET UNDERPASS: CONCEPTS

  • wide shared path
  • trestle underpass structure
  • street trees
  • improved crossing
  • gateway element

 

 

 

BOWIE STREET UNDERPASS: IN THE FUTURE

GOALS:

  • create a designated bike & pedestrian connection to Pfluger bridge
  • create safer crossings
  • provide wider sidewalks
  • provide shaded paths

 

 

KEY PLAN

5. SHOAL CREEK TRAIL AT RIO GRANDE STREET

Shoal Creek at Rio Grande Street and 4th Street where Little Shoal Creek daylights, including improvements to the Shoal Creek streambank and trail.

 

 

 

SHOAL CREEK TRAIL AT RIO GRANDE STREET: TODAY

PUBLIC FEEDBACK SUMMARY

  • widen the trail
  • create a safer trail
  • clean up trash and make space feel more space
  • create seating areas

OPPORTUNITIES

  • widen the trail
  • create passive seating areas
  • showcase historic Little Shoal Creek
  • remove invasive species and restore native habitat

CONSTRAINTS

  • narrow conditions
  • flood plain
  • utilities spanning creek

 

 

 

SHOAL CREEK TRAIL AT RIO GRANDE STREET: CONCEPTS

  • capture runoff from the streets in forebays to treat pollutants before entering the creek
  • provide educational signage
  • provide scenic overlook areas

 

 

 

 

SHOAL CREEK TRAIL AT RIO GRANDE STREET: IN THE FUTURE

GOALS:

  • widen trail to provide seating for people watching
  • create scenic overlooks
  • showcase historic creek outfall
  • remove invasive species and re-vegetate with native plantings
  • create a safer environment
  • provide lighting at night
  • clean up trash
  • provide educational elements

 

 

 

KEY PLAN

 

 

***Please visit the website linked here to give your input. 

 

Multifamily Project Winner: The Independent

The Independent is Named the Top Multifamily Project

in ABJ’s 2020 Commercial Real Estate Awards

 

 

Category: Multifamily development

Companies involved*: Buyer broker: Constructive Ventures

Seller brokers: City of Austin (land sale), Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors (condo sales)

Lead developers: Aspen Heights, CIM Group

General contractor: Balfour Beatty

Primary architect: Rhode Partners

Primary MEP: Garza Bury

Landscape architect: Studio Balcones

Interior designer: Rhode Partners

Civil engineer: Urban Design Group

Structural engineer: LAM+DCI

Title companies: Heritage Title (land sale); Heritage Title and Stewart Title (condo sales)

Financiers: CIM Group, Bank of the Ozarks

Law firms: Dubois Bryant & Campbell LLP, Winstead PC

* all information provided by nominator

Why it won: The Independent tower’s Jenga-like design marked a welcome addition to the downtown skyline when it was completed in 2019.

Austin’s tallest tower at 58 stories, The Independent has also turned heads with its unique crown — which is now illuminated at night to give the tower a special glow at all hours of the day. There’s enough intrigue in The Independent that the story of it’s design and construction has been featured in a Science Channel program called “Impossible Engineering.”

And the hits just keep coming: The Independent has now been honored with a 2020 CREA Award for a new or rehabbed multifamily development.

The Independent features 363 condo units across 950,000 square feet while resting upon just 1.7 acres, maximizing the land and taxable value. The $300 million-plus project has helped the city of Austin reinvigorate a portion of downtown that has gone from hosting power and water plants to towering, new buildings that welcome people day and night.

Aside from its architectural prowess, The Independent has met LEED Gold certification standards for environmental efficiency and sustainability — its application for official LEED Gold certification is currently pending.

What’s more, project co-developers Aspen Heights and CIM Group contributed more than $1 million to various funds that helped improve the infrastructure and beauty of the area.

 

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