Austin’s a “Brain Drain” City For Tech Talent — Is That Good or Bad?

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin is once again a top 10 city for having the most talented people working in the tech industry. In CBRE’s 2019 “Scoring Tech Talent” report, Austin beat out other Texas cities like Dallas-Forth Worth and Houston. “[Austin’s] the envy of just about every other tech city, not only in the United States but globally,” said Spencer Levy, Chairman of Americas Research & Senior Economic Adviser. Highlights from the report include: Total tech occupations went up by almost 3,000, from 69,610 in 2017 to 72,360 in 2018. The average office rent went from $34.99 in Q1 2018 to $37.62 in Q1 2019. Austin is poised to become one of the largest tech growth markets in the next five to 10 years. Levy told KXAN, “Talent, infrastructure and foreign money. The more you can get in all three of those things, the more you’re going to be able to attract and retain the talent in your market.” Click to read more at

Reshaping South Texas Commercial Real Estate

ANN EATON, Opportunity Zones Manager for the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department:
• First authorized in 2017, San Antonio has OZs located in 9 parts of town: Brooks City-Base, Downtown, East Side, Far South, Far Southeast,
Near South, Near Westside, Northeast Corridor, Port San Antonio, and Lackland Air Force Base.
• We’ve created a new mapping tool and website related to economic development opportunities in specially designated areas to market the
assets and needs in our OZ clusters.
• The Westside Strategic Plan will be available in September. Working in partnership with Wendell Davis & Associates, this plan will identify
business and commercial corridors in need of investment and community redevelopment. Click to read more at

Hotel Building Boom Underway in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto

From the behemoth Kalahari Resorts & Conventions—expected to offer 975 hotel rooms at completion in November 2020—to the boutique 39-room Ruby Hotel that opened in February, the hospitality industry is alive and well in Round Rock. “We definitely are seeing a building boom, or increased interest, in hotel development in Round Rock,” said Bradley Dushkin, Round Rock’s assistant director of planning and development. For projects in the works, the size and price point of the new hotels are varied, Dushkin said. A Tru by Hilton, which opened in February, offers a “no-frills” option for business travelers, he said. Large to medium-sized hotels, including the Embassy Suites and the Four Points by Sheridan, will offer needed conference room space when they open. Kalarahi, the hotel arguably making the biggest splash, is a resort-style getaway complete with the nation’s largest indoor waterpark. Click to read more at

As Tax Protests Begin, Travis Central Appraisal District Catches Heat

In a year when rising property taxes have consumed political attention throughout the state, the Travis Central Appraisal Dis­trict’s handling of local taxpayers’ assessments is consumed with controversy. Already facing possible litigation over its highly criticized purchase of multiple listing service (MLS) data about home sales, TCAD has decided it will not offer face-to-face informal hearings to any property owners this year. This is a major change from its past handling of appraisal protests, but TCAD hasn’t communicated this clearly to the public, or to the consultants who represent property owners, even as formal protest hearings began this week. Each spring, TCAD mails Travis County property owners the assessments that determine how much county residents will pay in property taxes to more than 100 jurisdictions (the county itself, Austin and 20 other cities, school districts, Austin Community College, Central Health, and numerous utility and emergency service districts). Click to read more at

Omni Barton Creek resort reveals details of $150 million makeover

Some 30 years after the property opened to guests, the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa has laid out the details of its $150 million renovation project that will significantly boost its number of rooms.

The project, to be undertaken by design-build firm The Beck Group, will begin on Nov. 13 with a projected completion in mid-2019. The Southwest Austin property at 8212 Barton Club Drive is owned by Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts.

When completed, the project will boost the resort’s number of rooms from 309 to 493.

According to the Omni Hotels’ Oct. 25 announcement, the focus of the makeover will “blur the lines” between indoor and outdoor experiences that take advantage of the scenic Hill Country surroundings.

Click to read more at Austin Business Journal. 

Brackenridge gets a developer; Hospital site to be turned into skyscraping homes, shops and offices

Redevelopment of the Brackenridge tract — a 14.3-acre parcel in downtown Austin that could be transformed into a thriving medical and commercial district — will be in the hands of Wexford Science & Technology LLC, a Baltimore-based company that specializes in medical and research development.

The Central Health Board of Managers voted Wednesday to proceed with negotiations with Wexford as the master developer of the site near 15th Street and I-35, currently home to University Medical Center Brackenridge. The hospital was replaced earlier this year by the nearby Dell Seton Medical Center.

Click to read more at Austin Business Journal.