Austin Real Estate News

Jan. 10, 2018

Here are the highly anticipated Austin restaurants opening in early 2018

Sway, Thai, Austin, Texas, Restaurant, Food, Foodie, ATX, 512It's possible that Roc-A-Fella hip-hop duo described our local food scene best with their 2003 hit, “Can't Stop, Won't Stop.” Even after a few closures rocked the industry, the pace of Austin openings shows no signs of slowing down. 

To help you keep up, here’s a list of the most anticipated openings in the next few months. From contemporary Mexican food to seafood prepared by one of the town's most talented chefs, there’s plenty to keep us on the edge of our seats. 

Anthem, from Nebraska-based Flagship Restaurant Group, was originally set for a fall debut in the Millennium Rainey high-rise. According to company reps, the Asian influenced gastropub will now likely debut in late spring or summer of 2018.

After another delayed fall opening, Austin Daily Press recently posted a coming soon announcement on social media for its snazzy, midcentury-inspired second location at 4620 E. Cesar Chavez St. The concept will be a departure from the original shop with a menu featuring tortas to tapas.

The team behind Wright Bros. Brew & Brew will have a very big 2018, first bringing new all-day cafe and cocktail bar Better Half to 406 Walsh St. near Clarksville before diving into the brewery biz with downtown’s Hold Out Brewing.

The Thunderbird Coffee team will hatch Bird Bird Biscuit, a Manor Road project featuring chicken sandwiches, by spring.

Brewtorium owners Chris Rauschuber and Whitney Roberts announced they started hiring last week. Expect the brewpub and restaurant to start serving burgers, brats, and German flammkuchen any day now.

Captain Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse and Bakery and Lady Quackenbush’s Cakery will bring a little Old Austin charm to the former location of Strange Brew on Manchaca Road and the former location of Bribery Bakery in Mueller, respectively.

The Instagram account from Mueller’s Colleen’s Kitchen has been very activethe past few days teasing the imminent opening of the Southern style spotserving lunch, dinner, and brunch.

The opening of the Austin Central Library came and went, but we still have no read on exactly when the attached ELM Group project Cookbook Cafe will be opening. The folks at ELM are hoping for early spring.

Loro, Asian, Restaurant, Austin, Texas, Food, Foodie, ATX, 512Although no official date has been announced, all the pieces are in place for the long-awaited opening of The Fairmont Hotel. The Red River project will bring wood-fired cuisine from Garrison; Italian, Pan-Asian, and bakeshop concepts at food hall Revue; coffee from Good Things; and drinks from bars Fulton and Rules & Regs.

Food hall Fareground, featuring Dai Due Taquería; Antonelli’s Cheese Shop; Easy Tiger Bake Shop; Ni-Komé sushi and ramen; Henbit from the Emmer & Rye team; and Contigo Fareground (plus two bars) will start redefining downtown’s dining game January 18.

Guild, the seafood-focused Chameleon Group project helmed by chef Sterling Ridings, is entering the last legs of its build-out. Expect an opening in the next few weeks at 3801 N. Lamar Blvd.

Hank’s, a casual eatery from the owners of much-missed cafe Henri’s, is set to brighten up the Windsor Village shopping center by the end of February.

Asian supermarket chain H-Mart will be up and running by the end of the month with a food hall featuring options ranging from Korean fried chicken to sushi, as well as a barbecue concept from celebrated San Francisco chef Deuki Hong.

Home Slice will be sharing another pizza their heart (sorry) from a second location at 501 E. 53rd St. by early 2018, according to the latest update.

New Waterloo’s Italian conceptIl Brutto, is still on the horizon although the restaurant’s social channels have gone dark.

The Psychic Friends Network (and some Facebook sleuthing) assure us that the opening of snout-to-tail Italian eatery Intero is on the horizon. But just in case, we have reached out to the owners to confirm.

Loro, the feverishly awaited Asian smokehouse from Austin culinary all-stars Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin, is accepting resumes for all positions this week. We’ll have our eyes peeled for signs of an early 2018 opening.

Home Slice, Pizza, Restaurant, Austin, Texas, Food, Foodie, ATX, 512Although an exact date has not been established, South African fusion spot Peli Peli's takeover of the former Cantina Laredo space at 201 W. Third St. will take place sometime in 2018.

Chef/owner Bryce Gilmore looks to prove that third time is the charm with an early 2018 opening of Sour Duck Market, an all-day cafe featuring a bakery and full bar at 1814 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A series of pop-ups previewing the restaurant have kept Austin hungry for more.

As of the last update, Suerte from Sam Hellman-Mass and chef Fermin Nunez was eyeing a January opening. But an Instagram post from late December shows the Mexican restaurant is still in the throes of construction.

Both new locations of Sway, one in Westlake and one in Domain Northside, are set to spread the gospel of contemporary Thai in the first part of 2018.

Taco Ranch, which hopes to do for the taco stand what P. Terry’s did for the burger joint, is on track for an opening by the end of the month. 

Via 313’s new brick-and-mortar in the former home of Collide will bring a full lunch and dinner menu, plus cocktails and beer, to East Sixth by the end of the first quarter.

By Brandon Watson,

Posted in News
Jan. 4, 2018

500 tiny homes with big amenities coming to new Austin-area communities

tiny homes, constellation atx, tiny dwellings, kasita inc, kyle, austin, hays, texas, real estate, affordable housing, pure gold realtyDo you feel like Austin home prices are out of control and you will never be able to afford a place to call your own? Help may come in the form of two big developments for tiny homes.

Work is currently underway on one tiny-home community in South Austin and another in Kyle. Together, they will have space for close to 500 tiny homes.

The Austin project:

The Austin project, Constellation ATX, will feature almost 100 lots for tiny homes. It’s scheduled to open this spring on Old Manchaca Road south of West Slaughter Lane. Joe Davis, sales director at Austin-based Tiny Dwelling Co. and a broker at One Way Realty, will start taking reservations for Constellation lots in late January; the grand opening is set for March 1.

The Kyle project:

The Kyle project, tentatively called Stage Coach, will be near Center Street, the main road in the Hays County suburb. The community will have room for nearly 400 tiny homes, according to Davis. The grand opening is slated for late this spring or early this summer.

About the homes:

Tiny Dwelling is “giving people the opportunity to own a home without all the expenses that come with owning the land. We’re changing the way people live here in Texas. Living tiny is a big deal,” Davis tells CultureMap.

Home prices will range from $55,000 to $140,000 each, he says. By comparison, the median price of a single-family home in November was $341,000 in Travis County and $260,000 in Hays County, according to the Austin Board of Realtors.

Each tiny home will measure less than 400 square feet — about the size of a typical studio apartment. Davis says an option will available for stackable tiny-home units.

Austin-based Kasita Inc. along with Pueblo, Colorado-based Sprout Tiny Homes Inc. are building the fully furnished homes for both communities, Davis says.

Despite the small size of the homes, each community won’t skimp on amenities, including:

  • Landscaped areas featuring picnic tables, fire pits, and natural-gas grills
  • Tiny homes designated for overnight rentals
  • Gated access
  • Swimming pool
  • Clubhouse with WiFi access
  • General laundry facility
  • Storage units
  • Bicycle racks
  • On-site car-sharing services
  • On-site recycling
  • Native plants
  • Renewable energy
  • Rainwater capturing systems

Davis says Constellation ATX, the Austin community, will offer Google Fiber hookups, while dog parks and car-charging stations are possibilities for both communities.

By Nicholas Cicale,

Posted in News
Dec. 27, 2017

Stage set for Austin's New Year's Eve 2018

Austin, Texas, New Year's Eve, 2018, Auditorium ShoresNow that Christmas is over, it's time to let loose and have fun with the entire family as we ring in 2018!

Austin's New Year is a free, family-friendly event that includes food trucks, kid’s activities and art installations at Vic Mathias Shores. The event will be on Dec. 31 from 3 to 10 p.m., and will conclude with fireworks over Town Lake/Lady Bird Lake.

Tomar and the FCS, Brownout, Magna Carda and Ian Moore Band are among the musicians set to perform. An alcohol-free event, the celebration will be a great way to bring in the new year.

There are some restrictions as to what can and cannot be brought into the event. Please call 512-974-2220 or visit the Austin's New Year website for more information.

By Brittany Daniel,

Posted in News
Dec. 19, 2017

5 simple New Year’s resolutions every real estate agent should make

Chad Goldwasser, Broker, Pure Gold Realty, Austin, Texas, Real Estate, Inman News, New YearLet’s be honest with ourselves. As January approaches, we have every intention of making good on our resolutions. But by February, we’re so buried by the to-do list that reaching our New Year’s resolutions seems about as attainable as riding a unicorn.

Don’t feel bad. Real estate agents are humans like everyone else. Which means there’s a 92 percent chance you’ll epically fail at meeting your New Year’s resolutions.

But this year is going to be different. You’re gaining experience as a real estate agent, you’re crushing your previous sales numbers, and now, you know the secret to making your resolutions a reality — keep it super simple.

The first rule of resolutions is they need to be attainable. The easier a resolution is, the more likely we are to reach it, which makes us feel good about ourselves. And everyone knows confident agents sell more homes.

Get your year off to a productive start by making a ridiculously easy resolutions. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Turn off your smart phone for at least 5 minutes a day

It’s for your own sanity really. For just five minutes a day, whenever you want, turn your phone off — all the way off. Use that five minutes to recall simpler times when only Zach Morris had a cell phone.

2. Get one new lead each week

You don’t have to become a lead machine overnight, but you do need to actively gain leads to grow your business. Any agent with an active Instagramaccount can pick up 52 new followers a year.

3. Post once a week on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

No matter how little value social media has in your personal life, it serves a professional purpose. See above.


4. Get your CE done at least one week before it’s due

Continuing education is a part of the real estate gig. Save yourself stress by getting it done early this year.

Online continuing education courses are now available on all devices. You can work on getting your CE knocked out while waiting on a buyer to tour the same house for the third time.

5. Turn your car into a true mobile office

Practically everywhere is an office when you’re a real estate agent. Your car is basically your mobile office.

Because you already have a mobile plan with unlimited data and hot spotting (right?), make your vehicle even more functional with a laptop steering wheel desk, mobile printer, solar recharger for all the devices and the Handpresso auto espresso machine. Don’t forget to save the receipts for a tax deduction.

As you think about what you want to accomplish in the coming year, go big with your long-term goals, but be realistic about the steps it will take to get there.

By Chad Goldwasser, Broker (

Posted in News
Nov. 28, 2017

Things to do in Austin this December

Check out this list for a selection of the largest annual events in Austin during December. For a more extensive list of daily happenings, see the searchable Events Calendar.

12/1/17 - 12/31/17
ZACH Theatre Presents: "A Christmas Carol"
ZACH Theatre
"A Christmas Carol" is back to ring in the holidays! This rockin' show provides a modern twist on the classic tale. In fact, this show has proven to be such a hit among locals and visitors that is it the most popular show in the theatre's history.

12/1/17 - 12/24/17
Holidays at the Domain
The Domain
Holidays at the Domain provides fun events for the whole family throughout the holiday season. Here you can take pictures with Santa, ride horse-drawn carriages, watch holiday lights shows, listen to strolling carolers and even have breakfast with Santa.

Ice Skating Whole Foods Austin Texas

12/1/17 - 12/31/17
Ice Skating On The Plaza at Whole Foods
Whole Foods Lamar
Spend an afternoon on the rink at the Whole Foods flagship store on North Lamar. Then head inside for a cup of cocoa or cider and live, local music on the weekends! Daily: 10 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

12/1/17 - 12/24/17
Blue Genie Art Bazaar 
6100 Airport Boulevard
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a fixture of the Austin holiday season. Shoppers can browse thousands of original works ranging from serious art to fun and kitschy items. A great way to buy hassle-free holiday gifts and support local artists.

Winter Wonderland Circuit of the Americas Austin Texas

12/1/17 - 12/2/17 & 12/8/17 - 12/30/17
Winter Wonderland at The Circuit
Circuit of The Americas
Welcome to a bright new holiday festival in Central Texas featuring a .8 mile circuit of lights, skating rink, Santa’s Village, petting zoo with camel rides, human snow globe, singing trees, movie lawn, carnival rides, tunnel of lights, trips to the top of the North Pole, musical stages and much, much more!

Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll
Texas State Capitol
Join hundreds caroling in front of the Capitol as the tree is lit before heading down Congress Avenue for live music, shopping, art and much more.

German-Texan Heritage Society Christmas Market
German Free School of Austin
The German-Texan Heritage Society's annual market offers shoppers handmade, imported crafts, decorations, ornaments and more. Browse the market, visit Sankt Nikolas, listen to traditional German Christmas music and enjoy a cup of Glühwein (hot spiced wine), gingerbread cookies and other sweet baked treats.

Art From the Streets Show & Sale
Austin Convention Center
Visit the 25th Annual AFTS Show & Sale to shop original works and help continue the efforts of AFTS to provide a safe, creative space for homeless and formerly homeless local artists. Profits go to the artists.

Austin Texas Ballet The Nutcracker Long Center for Performing Arts

12/8/17 - 12/23/17
Ballet Austin's "The Nutcracker"
Long Center for the Performing Arts
Ballet Austin kicks off the season with the 55th annual production of "The Nutcracker." This family-frienldy show brings a fresh experience to the beloved holiday tradition.

12/9/17 - 12/10/17
Cherrywood Art Fair
Maplewood Elementary
This neighborhood fundraiser benefits the eastside arts scene. Enjoy local food artisans, live music, 80+ artists, kids crafts and a silent auction at the annual event.

Austin Texas Trail of Lights Zilker Park

12/9/17 - 12/23/17
51st Annual Trail of Lights
Zilker Park
The Trail of Lights is part of the essential Austin experience, lighting up the season with a celebration of community, memories and fun. The annual Tree Lighting ceremony will be held in November, then the 5k fun run will kick off the spectacular season in early December. Plan your visit early and don't forget to take a spin under the Zilker Tree!

Austin Symphony Orchestra presents Handel's "Messiah"
Hyde Park Baptist Church
This night of musical magic will comfort you through its familiarity and fill you with the joy of rediscovery. Begin your winter celebrations with a performance full of rejoicing.

12/14/17 - 12/24/17
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Palmer Events Center
This holiday shopping bazaar is a fun, authentic Austin experience – for 11 days leading to Christmas, visitors can shop national and local art, handmade gifts, stocking stuffers and more while enjoying live music from the Armadillo stage and sips from a full bar. This annual tradition and cultural icon is one of Austin’s longest running art and music festivals, attracting around 40,000 shoppers each year.

Austin's New Year Auditorium Shores Celebration Texas

Austin's New Year
Auditorium Shores
This alcohol-free, family-friendly event celebrates the diversity and creativity of the city with visual art installations, jugglers, storytellers, fire dancers and other festive performances.


Posted in News
Nov. 13, 2017

Austin restaurants: Where to eat on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, meal, Austin, Texas, restaurantsA grand Thanksgiving meal is a wonderful way to bring together friends and family. They can also be costly, stressful and time consuming. Why not let the professionals handle the dirty work? A host of restaurants will be serving Thanksgiving brunch, lunch and dinner. Call the restaurants or visit their websites for more details on menu, reservation and pricing.

If you’re just looking to pick up a meal from a restaurant and bring it home, try this list instead!

Austin restaurants serving Thanksgiving meals this year…

24 Diner. 600 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472- 5400, The late-night go-to gets going early with a special meal that starts at 10:30 a.m. The $29 Thanksgiving menu includes brined and roasted turkey breast, turkey leg confit, house-cured ham, traditional sides and pumpkin pie. Cost is $29.

Apis. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436- 8918, This Spicewood gem will be serving a three-course lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu includes duck and foie gras terrine, tasting of early winter squash and cider-brined and slow-roasted heritage turkey.

Brix and Ale. 1101 Woodlawn Ave. Georgetown. 737-444-2750, The restaurant at the Sheraton Hotel in Georgetown will serve a buffet from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. that includes roasted turkey, salt-crusted prime rib, made-to-order omelets and loaded whipped potatoes. Cost is $50 per adult and $25 for children ages 4 to 12 years.

Cannon + Belle. 500 E. Fourth St. 512-493-4900, The restaurant at the Hilton downtown serves Thanksgiving dinner from 3 to 8 p.m. The menu includes smoked corn chowder, Texas grapefruit and chicory salad, fried turkey with quail gravy and prime rib with charred onion barbecue. Cost is $36.

Capital Grille. 117 W. Fourth St. 512-322-2005, The downtown steakhouse serves a Thanksgiving menu from 9 p.m. that includes slow-roasted turkey with brioche stuffing, various sides and dessert. Cost is $39 for adults and $15 for kids. The regular menu is also available.

Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404- 3655, The fine dining restaurant at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center will serve a brunch buffet from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Offerings include carving stations with prime rib and roasted turkey, along with entrees like swordfish and lamb loin and sides of cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, crispy Brussels sprouts and more. Cost is $68 for adults; $30 for kids

The Driskill. 604 Brazos St. The venerable downtown hosts a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Options include lemon-poached jumbo shrimp; a chef’s butcher’s block with slow-roasted turkey, pumpkin ravioli, stuffing and more. Cost is $85 for adults, $40 for children ages six to 12, and free for children under 5 years old. Reservations can be made by calling 512-391-7227.

Fleming’s. 320 E. Second St. 512-457-1500; 11600 Century Oaks Terrace. 512-835-9463, The steakhouse serves a prix fixe menu from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. that includes lobster bisque or salad and turkey with cranberry, orange and cinnamon sauce and stuffing. Kids eat for $15.

Goodall’s Kitchen. 1900 Rio Grande St. 512-495- 1800, The restaurant at Hotel Ella near Judges Hill serves a menu from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day that includes herb roasted turkey breast, grilled acorn squash, sourdough stuffing and more. Cost is $72 per person and $25 for kids 12 and under.

Hyatt Lost Pines. 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road. 512-308-4950, The resort near Bastrop will offer a carving station with roasted turkey and prime rib and more than 40 desserts. Cost is $68 for adults, $34 for children between the ages of six and 12-years old, and complimentary for children five-years old and younger.

Hyde Park Bar & Grill. 4206 Duval St. 512-458-3168; 4521 West Gate Blvd. 512-899-2700; The Austin institution hosts its 22nd annual Thanksgiving feast. The dinner costs $21.95 and includes oven-roasted turkey breast, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and more. A vegetarian meal, which offers more of everything except turkey, will be served for $15.95. The meal runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at both locations.

Mattie’s. 811 Live Oak St. 512-444-1888, The revamped Southern stunner will have seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for Thanksgiving lunch, with a buffet that includes carving stations with slow-roasted Akaushi prime rib and sage-brined turkey breast. Cost is $85 for adults, $40 for kids age 6-12; kids under 6 eat free.

Moonshine. 303 Red River St. 512-236- 9599, The downtown Southern comfort restaurant serves an all-you-can eat buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $28.

The Park. 11601 Domain Drive. 512-478-7275; 4024 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-731-2077, The upscale sports bars in the Domain and South Austin will serve a Thanksgiving brunch buffet from noon to 3 p.m. The buffet will include turkey and pork tenderloin, along with classic sides and pies. Cost is $20. After 3 p.m., the regular dinner will be served until midnight.

Phoebe’s Diner. 533 Oltorf St. 512-643-3218, The diner from the Winebelly team serves from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and special offerings include smoked turkey and ham, sage sausage stuffing, broccoli casserole and more.

Second Bar + Kitchen at Domain Northside. 3121 Palm Way, Suite 101. 737-300-4800, Chef David Bull’s restaurant at the Archer Hotel will serve its Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The menu includes a carving station with slow-roasted turkey, family-style sides like roasted sweet potato casserole and parsnip au gratin, as well as fruit, desserts and more. Cost is $38 for adults and $19 for kids.

Stagecoach Inn. 416 S. Main St. Salado. 254-947-5111, The historic restaurant serves a Thanksgiving brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The spread includes stations with turkey and dressing with cranberry sauce and brown gravy and buttermilk Waffles with maple syrup. Cost is $39 for adults and $16 for children ages 12 and under.

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542- 3660, The sophisticated restaurant at the W Hotel will serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The three-course meals includes coffee-rubbed short rib, prosciutto-wrapped turkey breast. Cost is $57, and there is a $20 kids menu for those 12 and under.

Visconti Ristorante. 320 Loop 360. 512-306- 6400, The Italian restaurant at the Hotel Granduca will serve a three-course Thanksgiving dinner with a menu that includes sweet potato gnocchi with roasted corn and sage brown butter and pecorino sardo, heritage turkey, cornbread canederli, and wild mushroom gratin. Cost is $65 ($95 with wine pairings).

Matthew Odam,

Posted in News
Nov. 9, 2017

Austin to Silicon Valley Types: Don't Mess With Texas

Austin, Texas, skyline, Real Estate, Pure Gold RealtyThere appears to be a culture shift against the 24/7 heads-down pressure of life in Silicon Valley. Younger geeks want somewhere to hang out and listen to live music on a Friday night, an independent film community, food trucks, reduced screen time, and somewhere cheap(ish) to live. Which often means looking beyond the Bay Area.

PCMag recently spent a week in Denver before flying to Austin, which is sometimes referred to as Silicon Hills, or the "bustling digital epicenter of the South," according to co-working startup WeWork, which has three—soon to be four—locations in the city.

Of course, SXSW has been drawing geeks to Austin since 1986; we were in town for Unity Technologies' first-ever Unite Austin developer conference, and decided to see what makes the city tick for tech types.

Austin, Texas, Silicon Hills, Tech, Industry, Real Estate, Pure Gold Realty Austin is a booming, creative city

"We chose Austin for Unite this year, because it's a booming, creative city and home to some incredible, innovative tech companies, many of which are developing on Unity," Unity CMO Clive Downie told PCMag.

In the expo hall, we met Jim Cherry, an independent developer who runs his own company, ServiceMedia, while also freelancing for various local tech companies, including virtual gamer outfit, Chicken Waffle.

"I was born in Houston, but got here as soon as I could," he laughed. "Austin's tech scene is vibrant, innovative, and dynamic. Downtown is becoming a much more of a dynamic area, but it's expensive, so most tech is still based up north, in the Arboretum area, [near IBM Research and the University of Texas research campus]. I live south of the river, in South Congress, so I'm hopeful more tech will move down here soon."

Austin has a cross-pollination of so many different industries – Film, Music, Tech, Gaming

Autumn Rose Taylor is co-organizer for VR Austin, a VR evangelist, and KnOWLedge Purveyor and Media Master at Owlchemy Labs, recently acquired by Google. She stayed in Austin after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in part because of the diverse tech scene.

"The people are multidisciplinary, collaborative, and experimental," Taylor said. "You have the cross-pollination of so many different industries—Film, Music, Tech, Gaming—that makes everything Austin-made a unique flavor of innovative and creative that you can't get anywhere else."

Jean Anne Booth, CEO of UnaliWear, also stayed in Austin for the great startup culture, as well as, like everyone else, the good life. "I started UnaliWear in Austin because the founding team worked with me in one of my previous Austin startups. But I've been here for so many years and founded three startups in the city because it's such a wonderful place to live, with supportive people, and an active lifestyle that I love."

Austin, Texas, Silicon Hills, Tech, Industry, Real Estate, Pure Gold RealtyIn a post on Medium, entrepreneur and digital innovator Zoran Nasteski offered advice to fellow ATX arrivals: Get the Meetup app right now, as Austin is full of tech events, like Video Game Makers Unite. Capital Factory is also great for co-working and hosting events, as is Galvanize.

Funny enough, one thing you couldn't say about Austin's tech scene, as a whole, is that they're particularly keen on (press) exposure. After seeing all the local tech companies' logos (Kingsisle Entertainment, Armature Studio, Otherside Entertainment and more) flash up on the Unite Austin keynote screen, we blasted out emails to get quotes, yet very few responded.

In the end we got two: a (very late night?) email which said: "Buy me tacos" (one hopes those were three words to sum up the Austin tech scene). Thankfully, a more considered response came from game developer Amir H. Fassihi of Dead Mage, who said Austin, for him, is: "Creative - Vibrant - Alive" and told us there's a "Smaller and more focused community with a great mix of art and technology here."

Of course, not everyone is thrilled about the tech influx. One local, Tim Willingham, begs people not to move here for many reasons (heat, overcrowding, traffic) laid out in this helpful infographic.

Is Austin (still) weird, as its tagline claims?

Most importantly, is Austin (still) weird, as its tagline claims? Well, it's certainly "out there" on the scale of strangeness and wonder. If you're in town, grab a taco from one of the multitudes of fine food trucks; participate in a prison break courtesy of The Escape Game; hire Vannagram's mint green vintage VW van traveling photo booth (who needs Instagram?); and gently rock in a porch-style contraption inside the Texas Capitol Visitors Center while Matthew McConaughey laconically personifies the famous Dome, recounting its history.

How about howling at the moon with other dippers in the Barton Springs Pool? Get yourself some decent threads at Bykowski Tailor & Garb, haberdasher to the bearded musicians of this town (if daisy the pet pig is in residence, she likes some attention); and go madly medieval with Iggy Pop in Sherwood Forest at Sound on Sound Festival.

Weirdness aside, this is still the live music capital of the world, so pick up the weekly highlights at the suitably gothic (and reputedly haunted) Driskill Hotel, built in 1886, in the (yes, paper-based) Driskell Journal.

As we were leaving Texas airspace, Austin Startup Week was just getting underway, and they were so keen to attract a new crowd to the city, they were offering to reimburse flights to those wanting work, or to build a company within the city limits. It's clear Silicon Hills is becoming a thing. Let's hope it doesn't disrupt the city's style too much.

Sophia Stuart,

Posted in News
Oct. 23, 2017

Environmental groups join battle over CodeNext

codenext, austin, texas, real estate, zoning, coding, environmentTwo environmental groups are stepping into the growing political ruckus surrounding CodeNext to promote a code that would increase density along major road corridors and in the city center.

The recommendations come from the advocacy groups Environment Texas and Texas Public Interest Research Group, which will release a report Monday detailing environmental pitfalls of city sprawl and how CodeNext might help improve the environment by fitting more housing units into the core of the city.

“We can’t keep the status quo,” said Luke Metzger, the director of Environment Texas and one of the authors of the report. “The impacts on the environment are too great. We need to see this code rewrite as an opportunity to develop a new community that promotes walkable, bikable communities and avoids expansion out into the Hill Country and other areas around Austin.”

What is CodeNext?

CodeNext is the city’s attempt to rewrite the entire land-use code for the first time since the 1980s. Staffers and consultants hope to tackle many of Austin’s most vexing problems, including affordability, traffic and gentrification.

While neighborhood advocates, professional groups and urbanists have weighed in heavily on CodeNext, Monday’s report adds a new voice that had remained relatively quiet on the effort: environmentalists.

Environment Texas is a partner of the generally pro-CodeNext Austin coalition Evolve Austin, a common target of the anti-CodeNext group Community Not Commodity, which has ties to an ongoing effort to have CodeNext put on the ballot in March.

Creating denser residential development in the commercial centers of Austin has been a goal for CodeNext since the city completed the 2012 comprehensive Imagine Austin plan. Many in neighborhoods closer to downtown have since become opponents of CodeNext after draft zoning codes and maps have shown what they consider a broad upzoning for established neighborhoods in the city’s central core.

The report shows that units in denser developments such as duplexes and low-rise apartments use less energy than single-family homes and that those living in compact neighborhoods are less likely to drive, leading to reductions in air pollution.

This doesn’t mean all environmentalists are embracing CodeNext, however.

Bill Bunch, the executive director of the Save Our Springs Alliance, said Austin environmentalists are broadly in favor of denser development. He believes the tracts that best lend themselves to such development are undeveloped parcels on the outskirts of town. However, the market tends to encourage sprawling subdivisions of single-family homes in those areas, he said.

Bunch said encouraging density in established neighborhoods would force thousands out of their homes — an outcome he doesn’t want to see.

“The Evolve coalition, which includes Environment Texas, wants to scrape the central city neighborhoods and put density there while allowing sprawl to continue at the suburban fringe,” Bunch said. “In our view it is upside down.”

Philips Jankowski, American-Statesman Staff

Posted in News
Oct. 4, 2017

Where to Find Austin's Best Pumpkin Patches

With autumn officially here and Halloween quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to visit one of the many pumpkin patches popping up around town. Here are a few of our favorites:

Pumpkin Patch, Austin, Texas, Tarrytown, Pure Gold Realty

Anderson Mill Pumpkin Patch

11505 Anderson Mill Road

October 1 - October 31

Daily: 9am - 7pm


St. Richard’s Episcopal Church

1420 E Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock

October 1 - October 31

Daily: 12pm - Dark


Tarrytown United Methodist Church

2601 Exposition Boulevard

October 1 - October 31

Monday - Friday: 2pm - 7:30pm

Saturday: 9am - 7:30pm

Sunday: 12pm - 7:30pm


Red Barn Garden Center

12881 Pond Springs Road

October 1 - October 31

Monday - Saturday: 9am - 5:30pm

Sunday: 10am - 5:00pm

Austin, Texas, Pumpkin Patches, Pure Gold Realty, Fall

 Austin Oaks Church

4220 Monterey Oaks Blvd.

October 8 - October 31

Monday - Friday: 9am - 4pm, 5:30pm - 9pm

Saturday: 9am - 4:30pm

Sunday: 12:15pm - 1:30pm 


United Christian Church

3500 W. Parmer Lane

October 13 - October 31

Daily: 11am - 7pm


St. John’s United Methodist Church

2140 Allandale Road

October 10 - October 31

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday: 10am - 7pm

Tuesday, Thursday: 2:30pm - 7pm

Sunday: 12pm - 7pm


Steiner Ranch Pumpkin Patch

3500 Steiner Ranch Boulevard

October 15th only

From 10am - 3pm


Barton Hill Farms

115 FM 969, Bastrop

October 1 - November 5

Daily: 10am - 6pm

Posted in News
Sept. 25, 2017

That dream home could cost more and take longer to build, due to Harvey

New Construction, Builder, Hurricane Harvey, Real EstateIf you’re planning to build a new home, be prepared to pay more and wait longer for it to be completed.

Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston and Beaumont with floodwaters, is expected to swamp home builders throughout the state as well, including in North Texas, where a lingering labor shortage and rising lumber prices already had new home prices creeping up.

Now, with months of reconstruction work just starting along the Gulf Coast, it may take even longer for new homes in the Metroplex to go up, experts say.

“There is a labor shortage all around and generally Harvey did not help,” said Scott Jacobsen, purchasing manager at Riverside Home Builders, which builds communities in Fort Worth and Dallas. While his company has contracts in place to keep prices fixed for supplies like lumber, Jacobsen said he wouldn’t be surprised to see overall material prices increase.

The effects on new construction

The time it takes to build a new home had already increased to between six and eight months from about four in past housing cycles, said Ted Wilson, principal with Residential Strategies, a Dallas research firm that tracks the housing industry.

The situation had improved slightly over the summer, but now “everybody is a little concerned that the hurricane is adding to a situation that was starting to improve,” Wilson said.

With thousands of flood-damages homes in need of repairs, some initially feared that laborers would flock to the Gulf Coast region for steady work. While that may be the case for construction workers from outside of Texas who were already looking to relocate for work, it’s unlikely that those building homes in North Texas will head south.

“The market is just as strong up there in your neck of the woods where labor rates are pretty good and work is steady,” said Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Currently, Fort Worth only has a two-month supply of housing, much narrower than the average of six months considered a balanced market. In Fort Worth, new homes are selling for a median price of $285,806, according to a report from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M.

Village Homes, which builds homes in Fort Worth, said it currently takes six to seven months to complete a home and doesn’t anticipate losing workers to hurricane recovery projects.

“We work with a loyal set of guys that hopefully see the value of repeat business over time and won’t go chasing short-term business down in Houston,” company president Michael Dike said.

What to expect…

Dike said it will probably take a few months for insurance adjusters to assess the damage from Hurricane Harvey before the bulk of reconstruction work is performed. So, he expects any materials shortages to emerge later this year.

“I’m concerned about spikes for sheetrock and other materials that are already tight,” Dike said.

The price of framing lumber has jumped almost 20 percent in the past year, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Builders started 31,049 homes in North Texas during the past 12 months.

But that number could have been higher if builders had a larger pool of construction workers and more available land.

“It is still a challenge to get a house built,” Wilson said. “Instead of 10 guys to frame your house, you get four.”

By Andrea Ahles,

Posted in News