HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForum About
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Texas & Southcentral > Austin


Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Jun 16, 2019, 9:59 PM
Syndic's Avatar
Syndic Syndic is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,668
Are we building interesting places?

I don't really know where to put this as we don't have a general discussion thread but this question has been nagging at me.

Are we building interesting places?

I'm not just talking about interesting-looking architecture but actual places for us to go and enjoy ourselves.

Of course it's possible that some of these buildings will have nice restaurants that aren't so insanely expensive that we can experience one in a while, but other than restaurants and high-end boutique stores, what are we really getting with all of this development?

I can really only think of 3 projects under development that I could consider "interesting places":
  1. Waterloo Park (and the adjacent Brackenridge area)
  2. The MLS stadium at McKalla Place
  3. The UT basketball/event arena

Those are the only three places I could see myself visiting very often.

I know I can't expect every development to be something I could enjoy but I just wonder if we could be getting more out of all this development; more stuff that benefits Austin residents and enriches our lives, like museums, music venues, event spaces, theaters, or quirky little shops.

I'm just afraid of downtown Austin developing into too much of a clean, safe, stale, yuppie environment. I hope developers start taking risks with their ground-floor spaces. Even a slightly different kind of establishment could stand out amongst the rest of the homogeneity these days.
__________________
Morgan Witt is an urbanist running against Leslie Pool in District 7. Bury I-35!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 1:09 AM
futures futures is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 185
Unfortunately, I would say no. Austin does not have a ton of (new) engaging public / outdoor attractions. I'm hopeful that Waller Creek will be successful in the future, but other than that, there's not a lot going on.

I think Zilker, Guerrero, and Butler are woefully underutilized for a world class city. The type of upgrades added to Butler recently were a great step forward. The Long Center and Event Center could provide more to the city given their location. That area could be a great spot for a future sports team.

The Seaholm Intake facility needs to be turned into public use ASAP. The south shore development is moving at an agonizing pace, and I don't have a ton of confidence in the vision so far. Our museum and art scene is embarrassing with poor prospects on the horizon.

I would love to see any movement on these projects over any of the skyscrapers going up.

Don't mean to sound negative because I love this city, but I'd love to see more development outside of office buildings and restaurants!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 2:05 AM
corvairkeith's Avatar
corvairkeith corvairkeith is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,189
The newish Central Library is pretty nice.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 2:08 AM
futures futures is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by corvairkeith View Post
The newish Central Library is pretty nice.
Good point. Yes, that was a great addition.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 5:59 AM
KevinFromTexas's Avatar
KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is offline
#brokeahontas
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: The Undemocratic Republic of Trumpistan
Posts: 51,818
I've gotten a lot of use out of Butler Park. It's usually the place I end up after a bike ride around downtown. That and the boardwalk. I think they're really two of the most important projects in downtown in a long time that benefited the public, but you are right, Butler Park could have a little more to it. I'm curious to see how Waterloo Park and the Waller Creek trails turn out. As for sports, eh, I'd rather keep away from Auditorium Shores and Butler Park. Unless you're talking about demolishing the Long Center and Palmer Events Center, which even then, I'm not sure I'd prefer a hulking sports venue next to a park.
__________________
I heard we had the best mortality rate. - President Donald Trump, July 19, 2020

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. - Edward R. Murrow
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 1:39 PM
ahealy's Avatar
ahealy ahealy is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Austin | Panni, Italia
Posts: 1,759
Syndic, I LOVE this topic.


I do think the Austin FC is an amazing start for a new era in Austin entertainment and recreation, truly taking us out of the slow moving college football town into a 21st century big city.

Broken record Ahealy here, but we desperately need a world class museum AND planetarium (not part of UT). I love the outdoors so much, but I never feel drawn to 'going to town lake with my dog' like 80% of the people that live here.

I really want to see diversity in new businesses popping up around town. The culinary scene is thriving, but I think it hurts a city when we kinda lean on that as an attraction.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 2:55 PM
StoOgE StoOgE is offline
Resident Moron
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,545
I think Austin has fantastic spaces if outdoors are your thing. Greenbelts, tons of trails, great biking, wildflower center, etc. If you like soccer of football there are amazing places to playm. Free frisebee golf everywhere.

If you want to get out of town that all just gets 10x better.

I think our nightlife is also absolutely fantastic for all budget ranges.

I think our complete failure as a city is in family activities. This means museums, zoos, aquariums, planetariums, etc.

The state and UT have some of this (and the Blanton and Ransom are world class) but we definitely have the issue lots of newer explosive cities have. Kind of a lack of "old money" public projects.

I wouldn't even mind a small centrally located amusement park. More Tivoli or Kennywood and less six flags.

Well get there. I think our curre t leadership is pretty positive in movement towards making human scale a consideration of Austin
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 12:22 AM
futures futures is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoOgE View Post

I think our complete failure as a city is in family activities. This means museums, zoos, aquariums, planetariums, etc.

The state and UT have some of this (and the Blanton and Ransom are world class) but we definitely have the issue lots of newer explosive cities have. Kind of a lack of "old money" public projects.

I wouldn't even mind a small centrally located amusement park. More Tivoli or Kennywood and less six flags.
100% agreed on all of this. As someone who is just starting a family, the lack of these amenities really bugs me. We're way behind quite a few cities of the same size or smaller.

I don't think all of these necessarily need old money to subsidize the project either (although it would be hugely helpful). There are certainly profitable, family focused activities that we don't have, and Austin has a ton of new families with expendable income.

Last edited by futures; Jun 18, 2019 at 12:32 AM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:26 AM
The ATX's Avatar
The ATX The ATX is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: My side of your fence
Posts: 9,391
Towers had a recent article about a major makeover to Lake Walter E. Long Park. The master plan includes a Planetarium and a Ferris wheel among a lot of stuff.

https://austin.towers.net/east-austi...etely-bonkers/
__________________
Follow The ATX on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/TheATX1
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 5:31 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Austin
Posts: 2,918
The planned Pease Park upgrades are very interesting and will be a nice step up in terms of an urban park. This project is an example of some "Old Money" doing some good things. In this case, it is the Moody Foundation to the tune of $9.7 million bucks. Check out the neat little video preview.

https://peasepark.org/kingsbury-commons

Last edited by austlar1; Jun 18, 2019 at 8:52 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 9:18 PM
zrx299 zrx299 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 405
The problem with most new developments is the lease rates go way up for new retail tenants.
Mom & Pop/Quirky/Old Austin style shops can't pay the higher rents, so it all gets backfilled with regional and national chains, or white table cloth restaurants. Instead of a 'unique' environment, you get a sterile, boring, lifestyle center mall type streetfront.

Just look at the newer Second Street District for an example. Other than going to a show at ACL, do you really "feel" like you're in Austin in that area?

It isn't bad, it just isn't very unique. I don't know how you fix that.

Last edited by zrx299; Jun 17, 2019 at 9:28 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 10:59 PM
Syndic's Avatar
Syndic Syndic is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,668
Quote:
Originally Posted by zrx299 View Post
The problem with most new developments is the lease rates go way up for new retail tenants.
Mom & Pop/Quirky/Old Austin style shops can't pay the higher rents, so it all gets backfilled with regional and national chains, or white table cloth restaurants. Instead of a 'unique' environment, you get a sterile, boring, lifestyle center mall type streetfront.

Just look at the newer Second Street District for an example. Other than going to a show at ACL, do you really "feel" like you're in Austin in that area?

It isn't bad, it just isn't very unique. I don't know how you fix that.
Building owners would have to intentionally lower their rents and try to find the most interesting tenant possible; one that matches their overall brand rather than the one who can pay the most.

Is this realistic? Probably not, but if it's not, then this presents a problem for us as a city. It has the potential to foment an identity crisis.

I, for one, am in favor of building the buildings. The retail will change over time. But I just wonder if there's more we can do at the city level to encourage all different kinds of retail tenants.

2nd Street, at least, has Toy Joy which is cool and different, and I'm sure they get a lot of business because they're so different than everything else around there.
__________________
Morgan Witt is an urbanist running against Leslie Pool in District 7. Bury I-35!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:30 AM
Sigaven Sigaven is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,021
Speaking of museums (which this city is so desperately lacking). I've always thought that the block where the Bank of America is by Woolridge square would be a great place for an art museum. Given its rather severe CVC constraint, nothing over 1 story could ever be built there...so I think a great cultural venue like a museum would be perfect. Dig underground to make it bigger if you have to. It faces a public square, next to other cultural/public buildings (Austin history center and the courthouse), and is steps away from the capitol. If you can't build high there, build something low to the ground and architecturally world-class. Any ideas for us, Renzo Piano/Herzog+Demeuron?
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 3:32 AM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Austin
Posts: 2,918
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigaven View Post
Speaking of museums (which this city is so desperately lacking). I've always thought that the block where the Bank of America is by Woolridge square would be a great place for an art museum. Given its rather severe CVC constraint, nothing over 1 story could ever be built there...so I think a great cultural venue like a museum would be perfect. Dig underground to make it bigger if you have to. It faces a public square, next to other cultural/public buildings (Austin history center and the courthouse), and is steps away from the capitol. If you can't build high there, build something low to the ground and architecturally world-class. Any ideas for us, Renzo Piano/Herzog+Demeuron?
Nice thinking outside the box. I have often lamented the fact that such a prime block seemed to have little chance of any significant development. Is it just a CVC constraint? Aren't there also security issues regarding the Governor's Mansion? A museum might be a perfect fit for the site.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 10:38 AM
freerover freerover is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 1,447
The problem is Austin’s lack of Fortune 500 HQs. Those are the companies and rich dudes that invest millions in the arts and leisure buildings in other cities. Sattalietr offices who employ contractors don’t generate the same kind of giving. Basically, it’s not enough rich people who view austin as their primary residence and that aren’t already retired.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 2:30 PM
Syndic's Avatar
Syndic Syndic is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 1,668
It sounds like our city council needs to take up this matter and prioritize building interesting places rather than just leaving it up to the "free market". Maybe they could work with companies to foster donations rather than having it be 100% taxpayer-funded. I just know we have to do more.

The planetarium The ATX mentioned is exciting but Walter E. Long Park barely feels like Austin.
__________________
Morgan Witt is an urbanist running against Leslie Pool in District 7. Bury I-35!
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 6:50 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Austin
Posts: 2,918
Quote:
Originally Posted by freerover View Post
The problem is Austin’s lack of Fortune 500 HQs. Those are the companies and rich dudes that invest millions in the arts and leisure buildings in other cities. Sattalietr offices who employ contractors don’t generate the same kind of giving. Basically, it’s not enough rich people who view austin as their primary residence and that aren’t already retired.
Generally speaking cultural amenities like great museums, zoos, or natural history facilities are endowed by very wealthy benefactors (and their charitable foundations) that may or may not include corporate entities. Sometimes it is relatively new money like Michael Dell or (up in Dallas) Ross Perot who step up with major funding. More often it is the second and third generation wealthy who form the backbone of most cultural institutions. Austin has produced massive wealth in the past 30 or so years, but most of the local major donors, aside from the Dell family and the Dellionaire Topfer family, are older money families. Other Texas cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston simply have more old money supporting major cultural amenities. Austin will come into its own sooner rather than later. A truly great large art museum is going to be a huge challenge. Hopefully there are local collectors who will bequeath significant art to the Blanton or the Austin museum, but acquisition of a first rate collection is probably never going to be affordable to a new or up and coming museum due to the insane cost of purchasing fine art in today's art market.

Last edited by austlar1; Jun 18, 2019 at 8:55 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 7:16 PM
antny12 antny12 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 5
Austin claims to be a family oriented metro however I somewhat disagree. We have no real aquarium (Scottsdale has an aquarium that makes ours even more pathetic then it seems), Waco has a zoo that is light years better then ours, we don’t have anything unique like butterfly gardens/theme parks and such. I can only hope that one day we start getting some real amenities that serve the entire community.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 11:38 PM
the Genral's Avatar
the Genral the Genral is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: 63.5 miles from Lampasas
Posts: 3,788
Quote:
Originally Posted by antny12 View Post
Austin claims to be a family oriented metro however I somewhat disagree. We have no real aquarium (Scottsdale has an aquarium that makes ours even more pathetic then it seems), Waco has a zoo that is light years better then ours, we don’t have anything unique like butterfly gardens/theme parks and such. I can only hope that one day we start getting some real amenities that serve the entire community.
Based on your post, I took the trek up to Waco and agree 100% about the Zoo. Its really nice. Surprisingly nice. The aquariums, the reptile enclosures, the whole park although smaller than San Antonio, Dallas, and the Bronx Zoos, is really high quality. I loved the padded floors and A/C in the fish and reptile houses. If you haven't been there, its easily the best $10 you will spend. I can't think of anywhere in Austin something this nice could be built. The Dr. Pepper Museum is another story. Within the first 3 minutes there I came up with 1000 better ways to spend the $10 entry fee. They actually have a Kuerig coffee maker and some K-cups on display. Basically 3 floors of who gives a shit. Then they give you a coupon for a free cup of Dr. Pepper you have to walk across the street to redeem. Its a tiny cup with a few sips of soda in it, but the goal is to get you to buy something while you are visiting the gift shop. AVOID THIS TOURIST TRAP!! My point is, my never ending hope for museums, aquariums, zoos and such for Austin has to be all in if we get anything or don't bother. After visiting the Waco Zoo, I will never go back to the Austin Zoo again.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 2:21 AM
downsouthman1 downsouthman1 is offline
Just Some Dude
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by the Genral View Post
Based on your post, I took the trek up to Waco and agree 100% about the Zoo. Its really nice. Surprisingly nice. The aquariums, the reptile enclosures, the whole park although smaller than San Antonio, Dallas, and the Bronx Zoos, is really high quality. I loved the padded floors and A/C in the fish and reptile houses. If you haven't been there, its easily the best $10 you will spend. I can't think of anywhere in Austin something this nice could be built. The Dr. Pepper Museum is another story. Within the first 3 minutes there I came up with 1000 better ways to spend the $10 entry fee. They actually have a Kuerig coffee maker and some K-cups on display. Basically 3 floors of who gives a shit. Then they give you a coupon for a free cup of Dr. Pepper you have to walk across the street to redeem. Its a tiny cup with a few sips of soda in it, but the goal is to get you to buy something while you are visiting the gift shop. AVOID THIS TOURIST TRAP!! My point is, my never ending hope for museums, aquariums, zoos and such for Austin has to be all in if we get anything or don't bother. After visiting the Waco Zoo, I will never go back to the Austin Zoo again.
Yeah Cameron Park Zoo in Waco is simply amazing. Even though we live here, we still prefer that zoo over Austin "Zoo". When you 1st walk in, you hear the monkeys. My oldest daughter loves it there. Then all that bamboo they have & tall shade. It's a nice place.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > United States > Texas & Southcentral > Austin
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 7:48 AM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.