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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2010, 11:59 PM
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Exclamation Is it politics, money, class, or elitism?

Is it politics, money, class, elitism, or all of them. Why is it that San Antonio keeps getting snubbed all the time when it comes to construction projects downtown. Our lucky neighbor to the north has just announced that they're getting a new 75 story building, or 78, I don't remember.. I have heard San Antonio referred to as a blue-collar city. Now how many companies want to invest in a city that "others" refer to as a "blue collar" city? I think that we're not quite the "Detroit" of the South, but we're more along the lines of the Fort Worth of Central Texas where Dallas in the Metroplex keeps sucking up all the investment in the area. Even our own AT&T left for Dallas. It just doesn't make sense! We are the 7th largest city in the United States, and the 2nd in the State of Texas when it comes to the population within the city limits. Who knows, maybe some billionaire will toss a couple of billion dollars our way to get us to shut up. It just looks grim when it comes to investment in downtown San Antonio. We deserve more!
     
     
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Old Posted Apr 14, 2010, 5:27 AM
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It's just business.

There isn't a need or demand that would justify that and no one will build just for the sake of building. That's just ridiculous, and I don't know why people keep asking these questions over and over.

Stop thinking in terms of city limit. Why would you do that? Once you do that you'll get closer to reality.
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2010, 2:56 PM
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First of all, what building are you speaking of in Austin? All I know of is the T Stacy that is on hold as far as office goes.

San Antonio does have a lot of great 'white collar' businesses and I don't believe it is really getting snubbed. Austin has the major advantages over San Antonio of having the state capitol, and a tier one uni located right next to the CBD (Although I believe San Antonio has just as many if not more college students per capita than Austin) both which are major draws for companies looking for highly educated individuals. You also have to remember that San Antonio for the longest time WAS "The big city" for Austinites really up until the mid 90's....not so much anymore.

To compete with in the "coolness" category, SA is really going to have to start focusing on creating the atmosphere for people to want to live down there (ie River North) The lack of centrally located nightlife, live music etc. is a major buzz kill. Once this happens companies will take notice that DT is a liveable area. But SA cannot rely on companies to just move downtown. SA has missed out on MANY opportunities in the past to attract big corporations to downtown i.e. Whataburger, Tesoro, Valero, Rackspace etc. The incentives have to be there bc of the fact downtown real estate is so much more expensive. I believe SA is finally on track to lure corporations into the CBD, but more has to be done if they are really serious about it.

Personally, I look at SA's downtown and the things that would be missing for me are a grocery store, and the ability to walk to shops and cafes....because what would be the point of me moving downtown if I have to drive outside of downtown to do everything else? Might as well move to say....oh....Stone Oak if I'm going to do that.

SA CAN be cool. It already has a great culture, the most laid back feeling of any city in the state, and a city government that is beginning to heavily invest itself in the idea that downtown needs to become the identity of the city, and not a tourist trap. Now its time for them to build on it.
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2010, 8:16 PM
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That's funny, everybody I talk to from outside SA loves the place. I've got a guy in my class here at UM-KC begging me to let him go with me next time I come down there because he loved SA so much the first time (he's 21, btw).

Guess everybody's too busy getting drunk on the Riverwalk to notice the lack of tall buildings
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2010, 9:32 PM
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Exclamation Now whose throwing away money?

Austin vs. San Antonio occupancy rates:

It seems that our neighbor to the north may be overextending itself when it comes to building new downtown infrastructure.
They say that "if you build it they will come". Well, that may not be the case anymore when it comes to more recent office occupancy rates between Austin and San Antonio.

The vacancy rate for top-quality, or Class A, office space in Austin, Texas was 24.9 percent at the end of 2009, according to Oxford Commercial, which tracks the office market. The rate was unchanged from last year's third quarter but remained at its highest level since the end of 2004, when the vacancy rate was 26.8 percent.

Rents for premium office space in Austin averaged $27.64 a square foot per year in the fourth quarter of 2009, the lowest level since the end of 2006, when rents averaged $26.19 per square foot annually.

On the other hand, at the end of the third quarter of 2009 brought on San Antonio’s highest office space vacancy rate in five years – 18.4 percent. With all of the doom and gloom of the office space sector in San Antonio, rental prices still continue to increase: rental rates for San Antonio stood at $20.41 per square foot in September 2009, compared to $20.24 September 2008. Many times, however, the concessions that are being offered by landlords may affect these prices.

The question is, "Now who's throwing away money in terms of wasted investments, Austin or San Antonio?" The fact is that the office vacancy rate and the price per square foot on prime downtown office space is now lower in San Antonio than it is in Austin.

Sources:

Austin American Statesman Newspaper:
http://www.statesman.com/business/re...printArticle=y

VIP Realty:
http://www.viprealtysa.com/blog/spac...g-momentum.htm

Last edited by max7; Apr 14, 2010 at 9:52 PM.
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 1:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max7
It seems that our neighbor to the north may be overextending itself when it comes to building new downtown infrastructure.
They say that "if you build it they will come".
That statement is not totally accurate. There's been very little new office space built in Austin in the last 5 years. The small amount that has been built was already spoken for, except for some suburban space that was built in North Austin. Most suburban space is speculative anyway though no matter what city you're talking about, but you said downtown space.

There have only been 5 office buildings that can be called highrises built in and around downtown Austin since 2000. The Frost Bank Tower in 2004 obviously, then 300 West Sixth (a 23-story office tower in 2002). And then 4 specially built buildings. Whole Foods' headquarters in 2005, Texas Monthly Magazine's headquarters in 2008, and 1108 Lavaca in 2008, which is for state offices.

All of the new buildings we're getting in downtown Austin now, have been residential. And only one of those has a hotel component coupled with the residential. There's actually a lack of hotel space right now for large conventions, so I believe the next boom will bring more hotels. San Antonio is definitely beating Austin in the hotel race.

Quote:
Originally Posted by max7
The question is, "Now who's throwing away money in terms of wasted investments, Austin or San Antonio?" The fact is that the office vacancy rate and the price per square foot on prime downtown office space is now lower in San Antonio than it is in Austin.
Higher office rent prices would suggest one of two things (maybe even both). One is that there might be a lack of office space in the market so it is driving up rents. It's a matter of supply and demand. But as you pointed out, the office vacancy rate is up there a bit, so that's probably not the reason, although 24% vacancy isn't that bad. The other possible reason (and more likely one) for a higher rent, is the quality of the space. What amenities does it offer? Where is it located? Do tenants want to occupy that space? How new is the building? These are factors that can effect office rents. For instance, when the Frost Bank Tower was last sold a few years ago, it fetched a record sale price for a whopping $43 a square foot. That was a Texas record. The previous record was also set in Austin with the sale of 300 West Sixth, which went for around $35 a square foot. Both are the newest office towers in Austin, so the high sale price makes sense since they represent the most up to date urban highrise office space in the metro.

From a standpoint of seeing the lower price, that can be good and bad. It just depends on how you look at it. The lower price can be bad because it suggests those office properties aren't renting as fast as real estate companies would like. The good side to that is that if you're a company you get to snatch up some quality highrise office space for a good price. The vacancy rates are obviously good measures of the health of a market, but the rent prices are just as important. You can use both as a way of judging the health and desirability of a market.

Obviously a newer building is going to fetch a higher office rent price since it has many more bells and whistles, than an older building, even if that older building is right across the street. It's really no different from anything else. A new car will sell for a higher price than an old one will.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 8:22 AM
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Do we really need to get into another Austin v. San Antonio discussion? This is REALLY ridiculous. I don't think San Antonio is EVER presented in this light in Austin threads, so why is Austin routinely presented like this here?
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wwmiv View Post
Do we really need to get into another Austin v. San Antonio discussion? This is REALLY ridiculous. I don't think San Antonio is EVER presented in this light in Austin threads, so why is Austin routinely presented like this here?
What comments have you read in this thread disparaging Austin? The OP is complaining that SA isn't seeing the kind of growth and development that Austin has (given SA's growth in the past few years, I'm not even sure what the OP is complaining about). Several SA forumers then responded with why Austin is in a better position for growth. No one has attacked Austin.

Edit: I do see where max7 claims Austin is overextending itself and "throwing money away." (Brutal insults!) Since he provides some data to back up his opinion, I think he's entitled to it. No one has yet agreed with him.
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Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 6:22 PM
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Yeah.... I don't get it Max7; on one post, you want to see investments come our way, as you claim they are coming to "our neighbor to the north." And then you post saying that Austin is overextending itself.... I don't get your argument (if you have one.) Like kornbread said; stop thinking in terms of city limits... Just for thought: Greenville, S.C. has a population (in the city limits) of 56K. They have alot of new develompents in West-end.




What explains their developments???

Amenities? Parks? Size? It sure isn't their population size. Or maybe it is. I'm sure there are other contributing factors, but it could be that they are still small (~600K MSA) enough to not have ever had the decay of their downtown effect it as much. My point is, the evolution of their growth allowed them to build on the trend a bit easier... kind of like OKC, Raleigh.
Actually, I feel that if we hadn't grown so much in the last 30 years, we might've had more developments in the past 10.
Timing is everything: there are phases of certain "eras" that can be seen. Can you imagine if we had a cluster of buildings around The Tower Life Building? We would've had a nice(r) stock of older buildings had the Market not crashed in 1929. Had we had more office space available in the years following the crash, we might've had a stronger core and maintained a stronger office market in the CBD today. It just didn't happen that way.
There are alot of "what-if's?" and the market just hasn't demanded a massive increase in developments downtown. We are, naturally, coming to that point though, and we should, however, continue to support the smaller developments as they add to the overall goal of a better living environment DT.
We've had over 500 condos/townhomes, and 1000 apartments added/constructed (or still under construction) since 2005 in or near DT. If we continue adding units, even at the small increments, we will see a difference at some point.
We've got about 1000 units "on hold" and as soon as those finally break ground, there are a few more that will come online. This'll build up a good base for now. If the trend is now "urban" or "walkable," there are a handful of places in SA that can offer that kind of development and then those units will hit us.
Patience....
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Last edited by miaht82; Apr 15, 2010 at 7:16 PM.
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 9:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boquillas View Post

Edit: I do see where max7 claims Austin is overextending itself and "throwing money away." (Brutal insults!) Since he provides some data to back up his opinion, I think he's entitled to it. No one has yet agreed with him.
Have you SEEN the title of this thread? Oh poor San Antonio this, poor San Antonio that. By all means continue the ressentiment outbursts. They'll get you lots of places.
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 10:10 PM
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weird thread, but i'm looking forward to visiting san antonio someday, seems like my kind of town out of all of em in texas.
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wwmiv View Post
Have you SEEN the title of this thread? Oh poor San Antonio this, poor San Antonio that. By all means continue the ressentiment outbursts. They'll get you lots of places.
What do you mean "you?" I don't think I've ever had anything negative to say about Austin in 4 years here as an SA forumer. Every other SA forumer besides the OP has taken issue with his premise. There was no city v. city here until you showed up.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wwmiv View Post
Have you SEEN the title of this thread? Oh poor San Antonio this, poor San Antonio that. By all means continue the ressentiment outbursts. They'll get you lots of places.
Have you READ the rest of Max7's posts? These "kinds" of posts seem to be coming from the same place. There are plenty of chances to not take the bait.
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  #14  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2010, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by wwmiv View Post
Do we really need to get into another Austin v. San Antonio discussion? This is REALLY ridiculous. I don't think San Antonio is EVER presented in this light in Austin threads, so why is Austin routinely presented like this here?
The real question is, do you really need to interject yourself into another San Antonio thread, since you've shown a penchant for killing discussion by beating people over the head with your opinions and self-admitted Austin bias. Please go away.
     
     
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