10 Things To Do In Austin This Christmas

10 12 2007

Zilker Trail of Lights

Are you spending your Christmas in Austin this year? Every year the city plays host to many festive shows and events throughout the holiday season. From the Zilker Trail of Lights to Ice Skating on the Plaza at Whole Foods Market, these 10 events are just a sampling of the many things to do and see in Austin this time of year.

Zilker Trail of Lights
Thru 12/23, Zilker Park

Skating on the Plaza
Thru 1/1, Whole Foods Market (6th & Lamar)

 Santa vs. The Snowman 3D: IMAX
Thru 12/31, Bob Bullock Museum

Ballet Austin: The Nutcracker
Thru 12/23, Paramount Theatre

Holiday Pops: Simply Sinatra
12/30-31, Palmer Events Center

Hill Country Lighting Trail

37th Street Lights
(37th St. between Guadalupe and Home Ln.)

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Thru 12/24, Austin Convention Center

Rockin’ Christmas Party
Thru 12/30, ZACH (Riverside & S. Lamar)

First Night Austin 2008
12/31, Downtown Austin

photo provided by: yummiec00kies

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Urban or Suburban: How Much Does it Cost to Own in Downtown Austin?

1 11 2007

There’s no doubt the downtown Austin buzz is growing. It seems there are more than a few people considering a lifestyle change by moving out of the suburban areas and into downtown. Until recently, there hasn’t been a large supply of downtown residential space available. Predictably, demand for condos and lofts in the urban core continues to swell.

For example, the W Hotel & Residences saw 80 percent of their units reserved within a week of breaking ground and the sales center opening its doors (1 reservation = $10,000.00 deposit per unit). That’s remarkable given the expected completion date is still 3 years away… But even if you’re not willing to wait 3 years for your condo, there are at least 10 other projects under construction and roughly 2,000 units due to be complete by the end of next year. All of this begs the question… How much will it cost to own a downtown condo?

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Barkitecture Austin 2007 Photos

27 10 2007

These were a few of our favorites… Click each picture to view. Want to know what these pictures are all about? Click here.

barkitecture_10_20_07-005.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-021.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-022.jpg

barkitecture_10_20_07-037.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-038.jpg    barkitecture_10_20_07-029.jpg 

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Block 21: W Hotel and Residences

24 10 2007

Last week the W Hotel and Residences officially broke ground. To be honest, it’s the first time I’ve seen the letter “W” downtown without an anti-symbol displayed with it. In fact, this seems to be a W that many Austinites are happy to welcome to town.

Block 21 of the 2ND Street District is now the construction site of a $260 million dollar project that once completed, will be home to a 35 story, Platinum LEED-certified structure designed by Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise. Here’s what’s planned for the site: 

  • 250 hotel guestrooms

  • 196 condos  

  • Austin City Limits Studio Theater (2,200 seats)

  • Spa and Pools

  • Signature bar and Restaurant

  • 25,000 sq ft of ground floor retail space (The sales staff shared with me a list of possible tenants including Uchi, Eddie V’s, and a high-end grocer)

Unfortunately, I probably will not become a lucky resident of the W Austin anytime soon, but that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about the legendary “Whatever/Whenever” service the home owners will enjoy. If you’re unfamiliar with the experience, W/W stands for pretty much anything and everything you could possibly request… so long as it’s legal, which some would argue is a relative term here in Austin… Here are few examples of that delightful W/W service:

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The INHABIT INDEX: How to Know When It’s a Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?

22 10 2007


First it’s important to know the definition of both market conditions. In a sincere attempt to avoid insulting anyone’s intelligence, a buyer’s market is characterized by supply outpacing demand. In other words, there are too many homes on the market for the number of buyers. Typically, we see the following in a buyer’s market: 

  1. Flexibility in negotiating price.
  2. Added seller concessions (closing costs, repairs, etc.)

Conversely, a seller’s market is characterized by an insufficient level of supply for the ready, willing and able buyers. In a seller’s market, it’s common to see this happening: 

  1. Multiple offers.
  2. Shortened time on the market.

Regardless of when or where you want to move, generally the market is trending in one of two directions defined above. Yet, it is possible for the market to be stagnating in transition, which is all the more reason buyers and sellers need to anticipate which way the market will move. More specifically, you should have a clear understanding for which direction the particular neighborhood that you’re searching or selling in is trending. The real estate market is not monolithic. Some neighborhoods outperform others (see below).

Markets constantly fluctuate. Unfortunately, by the time we read about it in the paper, it’s already history. So apart from negotiating transactions on a regular basis how can you remain informed and know if Austin is presently a buyer’s or seller’s market? How can you know which way things are headed? (faint drum roll) ….Behold, the INHABIT INDEX. I developed and routinely update this index for my clients to easily gauge how supply and demand is faring in the Austin, Texas real estate market. Here’s how it works.

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30 Designers, 30 Doghouses: Barkitecture in 2ND Street District

17 10 2007


I’ve mentioned before, what attracts me to downtown Austin is that there’s something unique and  different to experience almost everyday. The conversations with people you meet, the condo developments going up and the events going on… this weekend is no exception. From noon to 6pm this Saturday you’ll find a pet-centric design competition taking place in the 2ND Street District. So what is it you ask?   

30 Designers, 30 Doghouses

“The 2ND Street District is pleased to announce Barkitecture Austin 2007, a doghouse design challenge benefiting local Austin animal rescue groups.

30 Austin architecture and design firms have been invited to unleash their creativity while working under a set of guidelines: The doghouses must contain some recycled and sustainable materials.

Awards for distinguished doghouse designs and winners of the silent auction will be announced at 6pm at Design Within Reach (200 W. 2nd Street). Several participating architects and designers will also be on hand to discuss their creations. Winning doghouses will be on display at Design Within Reach for the rest of the weekend.”

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