Crane spotting: Construction in full swing on numerous projects in Northwest Austin

Construction cranes have emerged in Northwest Austin as tech companies and entertainment options target the growing area.

In 2019, several major projects, including Apple’s second campus and Austin FC’s soccer stadium, broke ground. However, cranes and crews are at work on several other projects in the area as demand for hotel rooms and multi-family units increases. The slideshow shows a look at some of the projects underway in the area. Click to read more at www.communityimpact.com.

Austin council members divided over hire of outside attorney in property protest rights lawsuit

The first court date in the lawsuit between City Council and a group of citizens fighting for the right to protest property rezonings that result from the city’s ongoing land development code rewrite is less than a month away, and City Council has hired an outside attorney to defend them in court. Some City Council members, however, objected to the city spending up to $121,000 to hire Austin-based firm Scott Douglas & McConnico to argue that property owners have no formal protest rights during comprehensive revisions of the land development code. City Council Members Leslie Pool, Kathie Tovo and Alison Alter voted against the city using taxpayer money to fight against what Pool said are taxpayer interests—the right to formally protest their property’s rezoning. Council Member Ann Kitchen abstained from the vote. Together, the council members were the four nays in the 7-4 vote to approve the first reading of land development code rewrite in December. “My reason for voting against this is I don’t believe we should waste taxpayer dollars on outside attorneys to deny people the right to a valid protest,” Pool said to a handful of claps from the City Council Chambers audience Jan. 23. Click to read more at www.communityimpact.com.

Austin outranks major West Coast city in new projection of office job growth

It’s Bat City versus the City by the Bay in a new projection for the growth of office jobs in 2020. Commercial real estate services company CBRE predicts Austin will see a 2.6 percent rise in office jobs this year compared with last year. That puts Austin in first place for anticipated office-job growth in 2020 among U.S. markets with at least 37.5 million square feet of office space. Office jobs include those in the tech, professional services, and legal sectors. Austin edges out San Francisco for the top spot in CBRE’s forecast, published January 9. The company predicts a 2.5 percent increase in San Francisco office jobs this year versus last year. Personal finance website WalletHub recently ranked San Francisco and Austin third and fourth, respectively, on its list of the U.S. best cities to find a job. “It’s not surprising that the forecast for Austin is extremely bright, and we expect that technology companies and professional firms will still drive the demand for more [offices],” Troy Holme, executive vice president in the Austin office of CBRE, says in a January 22 release. Click to read more at www.austinculturemap.com.

McAllen On The Move

A powerhouse city. Boomtown. The epicenter of the Rio Grande Valley. There are plenty of ways to describe McAllen, Texas, but they all have one
thing in common: growth. “With the volume of consumers that comes in to
McAllen daily, our city has developed a robust economy,” says Rebecca Olaguibel, the city’s Director of Retail and Business Development. The numbers are incredible for a city its size. With a population of around 140,000, McAllen generates more than $3 billion in gross retail sales thanks to 18 million people (an average of 39,000 people per day) who visit the city every year. It’s just 10 miles north of the Mexican border, so international visitors flow through it via McAllen International Airport and the two international bridges managed by the city. “It’s truly a geographic jackpot,” says Olaguibel, who has worked for the City of McAllen for 12 years. Its retail offerings are part of the draw of McAllen, making it the premiere shopping destination in South Texas and northern Mexico. While new
shopping centers and big box retailers open up new locations there, city leaders say it’s important to recognize the critical role small businesses play in the overall success of McAllen. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.

City Council Will Hear Thoughts From Residents On Comprehensive Revision To Land Use Rules At Weekend Hearing

Austin City Council is scheduled to cast its first vote on the latest draft of a comprehensive revision of its land use rules and zoning maps Dec. 9. Ahead of the vote, elected officials are holding a public testimony over the weekend for anyone to weigh in on the changes. The city’s land development code governs which and how structures can be built in the city, and the accompanying zoning maps dictate where specific development can occur. Significant makeovers to both pieces have been proposed in response to Austin’s rapid growth and will directly impact the physical character of Austin for years to come. The hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Austin City Hall, is the second such weekend public hearing on the land use code rewritten this fall. The Austin Planning Commission held a similar hearing in October ahead of its own vote on the revision. The window to sign up to speak will be open between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Speakers will get 2 minutes to speak to City Council. Saturday’s hearing marks the home stretch of the revision effort that extends back to 2012 and has directly cost taxpayers more than $8.5 million in costs associated with the rewrite. Click to read more at www.communityimpact.com.

Apple Starts Construction On $1B Austin, Texas Campus

Dive Brief:
Apple has started construction on a new $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, the company announced this week. The facility is located near its Mac Pro facility, which began producing the firm’s latest top-of-the-line computer this month. The general contractor of the project has not been publicly identified. The 3-million-square-foot development, which is slated to be completed sometime in 2022, will be able to accommodate 5,000 employees at first, but Apple’s plan includes an eventual 15,000. Apple will power the buildings with solar power generated on-site, and the 133-acre campus will feature a 50-acre nature preserve, which will help the company achieve a total of 60% green space. The Austin campus is part of the company’s commitment to make $30 billion of capital investments in the U.S. from 2018 to 2023. During a press conference earlier this year, Kristina Raspe, vice president of global real estate and facilities for Apple, said that construction of the first building should take between 30 and 36 months.​ Click to read more at www.constructiondive.com.