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Old 10-31-2012, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
12,065 posts, read 10,776,068 times
Reputation: 7136

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I would much prefer 5-10 story "Paris" style development with each building having unique character than to have a "Manhattan" style skyscraper development with each building a stark glass and concrete building.

Not saying that skyscrapers should be banned, but unique architectural gems should be built in midrise way. Think something like the French Quarter in New Orleans. Most buildings are 2-4 stories, but the feel is very much urban.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:38 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,940,042 times
Reputation: 2546
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark311 View Post
I still don't understand how the solutions that you're proposing can actually change anything. The city of Austin has no power over Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, Kyle, etc. Those cities are where the most sprawl is happening. Are you stating that the State or the Federal government needs to get involved to strong-arm the city of Austin or these other "sprawling" cities? The city of Austin does not provide emergency services, utilities, or anything really to these "suburbs" that provide affordable single-family housing as part of the sprawl.

Also, will your plan bring down the property values of current Central Austin residents or even its surrounding areas? Because, if that's the case, the fight will be never-ending. While your intentions may be good, it's a battle that can't be won. If every person in power within Austin is poised to lose hundreds of thousands on their $500K plus valued Central Austin properties, you will never win. They will vote down everything to save their property values which is the same reason why you're seeing things develop the way they are now. I applaud you for fighting for what you believe in, but my vote for Gary Johnson is just as futile.
700K 1500sf bungalows are not sustainable. If we want the center city to be more than an enclave on 1%ers and trust fund babies we need more supply. There are a whole host of other benefits that come with bring people closer together as I have mentioned many times and won't bother to repeat. As fars as the exurbs, the can do what they wish, but if Austin creates the kind of supply we need then the growth rates in the suburbs will be drastically curtailed. No one likes sitting in epic traffic Jams...but that is where we are headed on current path. A few lucky of us who bought in early enough and the new Californians get to enjoy the center while Austin becomes more like Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix with each new resident.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:24 PM
 
2,627 posts, read 5,828,868 times
Reputation: 1222
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
700K 1500sf bungalows are not sustainable.
Where are you finding these? Have you looked for real estate in central Austin recently? You can get a nice 2000 square foot house in Rosedale for about $500K. You can get into the type of 1500sf bungalow that you're talking about in the $300,000's. And I do think that is sustainable and can even go up higher as people move away from the areas that actually have $700K 1500sf bungalows.

Even Hyde Park is much cheaper than what you're stating here. You can get around a 2000 square foot single family home in Hyde Park for under $425K. If you still consider Allandale central, then you can find a home even cheaper. The situation isn't what you're making it out to be and with the way Austin is growing, the demand is for the cheaper housing that feeds into quality schools. Unless you're going to plop down highly rated public schools and activities for kids along with the mixed-use high density housing, people are going to continue to fill up the suburbs and the roads. It's a "problem" throughout the U.S., especially the West and it's not something unique to Austin. If Hyde Park had Eanes quality public schools, it would be double or triple the price that it is now.

Families don't live in downtown San Diego, downtown LA, or downtown San Francisco. If anything the Austin model of putting high cost luxury apartments in downtown and nothing else is the same Western model. It really does remind me a lot of San Diego in its growth pattern and I wouldn't be surprised if a place like San Marcos really starts to explode with growth within the next 10 years.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,795 posts, read 39,760,064 times
Reputation: 24264
A top to bottom 1500 sq. ft. 3 bedroom home in the Barton Hills area just minutes (biking distance) from downtown and with lots of walkable amenities and more popping up every day is currently listed for $370,000, just a hair over half what you're claiming. There IS a house for just over $700,000 listed in that same area, but it's almost 3,400 sq. ft.

There's a 1900+ sq. ft. house also listed for about $725,000 that is closer to downtown and Zilker, is historical, and had some pretty impressive renovating - and it has a pool.

The rest of the houses in that area (walkable to Zilker Park and businesses on Lamar - I know, I've done it, heck, my 10 year old did it!) are in between in size and cost.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:49 PM
 
Location: SW Austin & Wimberley
6,208 posts, read 16,049,344 times
Reputation: 5288
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
But here's the real irony... all this density does not foster any of the "weirdness" that Austin is known for and beloved for, it just wipes it out. None of the new highrise buildings have or will have one iota of whatever "weirdness" that they are replacing. None. ....
I agree. My wife and I went to see a condo on Barton Springs Rd. a couple of weeks ago, just out of curiosity. We keep thinking that we want to move downtown, or to BS Rd. in a few years when the kids are gone. Get rid of a car, work part time, have a moped, etc. Be beatniks or something I guess. We are not condo Realtors so we haven't been inside many of the newer modern condos. We only deal in houses.

I was surprised at how let down I felt. My wife too. She said "no thanks, I just want to stay in the house". To me, the interior was cold, hard, uninspiring, small. The standard wood-granite-stainless interior. Not warm or welcoming at all. We were both most put off by the vanilla colored interior hall space, with no artwork or creativity at all. It quite frankly felt exactly like (a thinner version of) the interior hallway of the assisted living places I'd been in visiting my grandpa and my dad before they both died. Depressing. It certainly was not "keeping it weird". More like antiseptic.

That said, it's the only one we've been in and we plan to see others eventually. I'm not sure what we were expecting, but that wasn't it. We know others who live downtown and really like the lifestyle and find it to be worth the cost, but we've never been in any of their units.

To the broader topic, I don't see how Austin can continue to try to govern growth with one-size-fits-all regulations (i.e. Casa De Luz - read the recent story) and not lose it's organic, impulsive energy and spirit. It's become over-regulated, not funky anymore. Almosst like an over-deciplined free-spirit kid who slowly gets all the non-conformity squeezed out through new and stricter rules. Too much focus on high-minded ideals, and not enough common sense and practical thinking. The STR debacle is aother example. Housing is not going to get cheaper in the core. "Sprawl" will continue. I'm not judging it as good or bad, but it's definitely changing and will continue to do so.

Steve
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:41 PM
 
Location: central Austin
7,234 posts, read 13,841,054 times
Reputation: 3891
FWIW: Hyde Park feed into Lee Elementary an exemplary school and highly desired. Ridgetop used to be less well-regarded and under-enrolled, now it has a very popular dual language program and is thriving.
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,795 posts, read 39,760,064 times
Reputation: 24264
Quote:
Originally Posted by austin-steve View Post
I agree. My wife and I went to see a condo on Barton Springs Rd. a couple of weeks ago, just out of curiosity. We keep thinking that we want to move downtown, or to BS Rd. in a few years when the kids are gone. Get rid of a car, work part time, have a moped, etc. Be beatniks or something I guess. We are not condo Realtors so we haven't been inside many of the newer modern condos. We only deal in houses.

I was surprised at how let down I felt. My wife too. She said "no thanks, I just want to stay in the house". To me, the interior was cold, hard, uninspiring, small. The standard wood-granite-stainless interior. Not warm or welcoming at all. We were both most put off by the vanilla colored interior hall space, with no artwork or creativity at all. It quite frankly felt exactly like (a thinner version of) the interior hallway of the assisted living places I'd been in visiting my grandpa and my dad before they both died. Depressing. It certainly was not "keeping it weird". More like antiseptic.

That said, it's the only one we've been in and we plan to see others eventually. I'm not sure what we were expecting, but that wasn't it. We know others who live downtown and really like the lifestyle and find it to be worth the cost, but we've never been in any of their units.

To the broader topic, I don't see how Austin can continue to try to govern growth with one-size-fits-all regulations (i.e. Casa De Luz - read the recent story) and not lose it's organic, impulsive energy and spirit. It's become over-regulated, not funky anymore. Almosst like an over-deciplined free-spirit kid who slowly gets all the non-conformity squeezed out through new and stricter rules. Too much focus on high-minded ideals, and not enough common sense and practical thinking. The STR debacle is aother example. Housing is not going to get cheaper in the core. "Sprawl" will continue. I'm not judging it as good or bad, but it's definitely changing and will continue to do so.

Steve
This. Very well said and describes it perfectly.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:06 PM
 
243 posts, read 229,019 times
Reputation: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
But here's the real irony... all this density does not foster any of the "weirdness" that Austin is known for and beloved for, it just wipes it out. None of the new highrise buildings have or will have one iota of whatever "weirdness" that they are replacing. None. So logically, if we keep doing what we've been doing, at some point it will all be gone. And with it, a lot of the uniqueness that gives Austin its personality.
True, unless change the motto to "Keep Austin Rich People Weird".

Because Austin has such a good reputation and thus demand for housing is high, maybe there is no solution to keeping Austin affordable.

But if the City is keeping prices artificially high with their policies, then something should be done.

Of course, I'm for a change in leadership anyway, due to their overspending and ridiculous regulations.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Not Moving
970 posts, read 1,649,993 times
Reputation: 500
Can we just get over the whole "weird" thing which WASN'T weird when I came here over and over again back...........well, way back when.

The "weird" thing has become a cottage industry.....taken up by other cities that want to be "weird." ICK!

I'm all for progress.....and progressing.....

As I've said many times, Austin is going through what Houston did in the '70s and Dallas did in the '80s.

Progression..............it's a good thing!
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:42 PM
 
1,402 posts, read 1,889,398 times
Reputation: 1898
Quote:
Unless you're going to plop down highly rated public schools and activities for kids along with the mixed-use high density housing, people are going to continue to fill up the suburbs and the roads.
This is what I mentioned in my original post. The apartments going up in north central areas like Burnet Rd and Lamar are marketed to young professionals. Density alone means nothing without the things that make it develop into an area that can be enjoyed by all types of people and families, too.
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