Kicks, pics and schticks: A wrap-up for week of June 24, 2018

Flower Child Domain Northside
A leasing brochure for Domain Northside suggests that the new chic retail center caters to rich women, but I felt a very hippie vibe when I stopped by this week.

Every week I’ll be doing a wrap up of real estate news that’s been reported elsewhere. Hopefully, I’ll have enough background information or my own 2 cents worth to provide some “value added” benefit. There’s a real estate pun there somewhere.

Also, I’ll be reprising my former Real Estate Roundup, which I wrote at the Austin Business Journal, but of course, it will have a new name. Recommendations are welcome. Dueling Deals, perhaps? ECR is already keeping me apprised of its transactions, so I’m hoping everyone else will join in.

Yes, I’m reaching out to Aquila Commercial, JLL, The Kucera Cos., Peloton Real Real Estate, CBRE, Capella Commercial, Beck-Reit, Don Quick & Associates Inc., Colliers International, Retail Solutions. Lead Commercial, Transwestern, NAI Partners, Marcus & Millichap, Weitzman, EDGE Realty Partners, ARA Newmark, Cushman & Wakefield, Don Cox Co., KW Commercial, Muskin Commercial and anyone else who regularly participated. I’ve missed that interaction. Please send your announcements to

Without further ado, here are some interesting happenings in Austin’s real estate world since Sunday, June 24.

•   Who stayed up late — or early Friday morning — to find out what Austin City Council decided about the McKalla Place land parcel where Precourt Sports Ventures hopes to build a Major League Soccer facility?

My first question is this, “Why does Council put the most important matters at the end of the agenda when everyone is exhausted?” That in itself is a prescription for dumb decisions

Fortunately Council tabled a final answer until August and will give some consideration to other proposals for a swath of city-owned land in North Austin near Burnet Road and Braker Lane. Still, multiple news reports hint that Council looks favorably on the idea of bringing Austin its first professional sports team.

Call me cynical but in this day and age when cities are hard pressed to provide basic city services I don’t understand why Council would provide a private entity with a huge tax break for a purpose that will benefit a select few.

And no, I don’t give much credence to those statistics about how PSV”s development of a stadium will provide an economic boon to the city at large. I doubt those numbers.

However, if PSV wants to buy the land in an open bid and go through the normal development process then have at it. Let them shoulder all the risk. If it’s such a good deal, they can pencil it out.

• . The leasing company representing Domain Northside — Northwood Retail in Dallas — ran into some media headwinds when a demographics and marketing brochure appeared a little too insensitive, describing the “quintessential” Domain Northside shopper as an “Anglo, Jewish or Asian” woman, who drives a Range Rover by day and a BMW by night.

The details read like a 2018 Barbie Doll life — she carries a Louis Vuitton bag, wears a David Yurman ring on her hand; dons Rag & Bone skinny jeans and slips into those Jimmy Choo stilettos for an evening out.

The brochure is no longer online after the PR firm for Domain Northside apologized for “the insensitive and inappropriate language.”

I’ve seen a lot of these demographic materials, and this one struck me as pretty insulting on many levels. How could I, for instance, at my age and economic stratus even aspire to shop at Domain Northside? I’d be scared to pull up in my old Toyota Corolla, for sure.

But seriously, I was at Domain Northside Wednesday and there appeared to be a very wide array of shoppers. In fact, since I moved to Austin in 2012, it always seemed that shoppers at the larger Domain regional shopping center seemed much more diverse than any other retail center in the metro area. Now that’s the real plus for the entire Domain.

• . One of my favorite hangouts when my daughter Kira Couch moved to Austin in 2007 to attend St. Edward’s University was Austin Java on Barton Springs Road. I’d better capture that memory more vividly in my mind because come this weekend, it will be no more. Why? 

Cost of operating at that location and high tax bills — an issue that led to the company’s closing down a cozy bungalow-style Austin Java near 12th and Lamar.

“While we must say goodbye to this particular building that holds so many fond memories, we are ecstatic about what the future holds,” the management team wrote on Facebook.

After spending an hour trying to figure out who owns the Barton Springs property, I gave up. It will be interesting to see what happens at that coveted site.

Hope for Austin Java is not totally lost. The local chain will eventually open at 5404 Manchaca Road north of Stassney Lane. A new store also will open soon in Met Center in Southeast Austin. The team will open a new concept in San Marcos. Austin Java remains in downtown Austin on Second Street and has a place in Dripping Springs, as well as a location in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

• .  Austin’s new Central Library is a finalist for the 2018 Public Library of the Year award, a global honor conferred by the International Federation of Library Associations. Competition for the top kudos includes libraries in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Den Helder, Netherlands; Oslo, Norway and Singapore.

So here’s my big confession. I have not even been to the new library. Want to guess why?

Parking. Anybody who knows me knows I’m a book junkie who has spent thousands of hours at libraries in several cities. But I’m not going to fight over 140 parking spots that are often unavailable and costs $7 for a two-hour stay. By the way, who goes to the library for 30 minutes? That’s all you get for free.

The library’s web site says if its lot is full — must happen a lot, right? — the City Hall garage is an option. It’s only $18 for three hours. To me, it seems like the new Central Library is reserved for those with cash to spare. As handsome as that $130 million building is, it’s not easily accessible for many people.

• . The former Radisson Hotel at the center of downtown Austin’s universe at Congress Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street has quietly opened, and the Austin American-Statesman debuted the first photos. The $75 million makeover of The Line is likely to put it into contention with other swanky new hotels that have opened recently. The Line is boutique brand with other hotels in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, according to its website.

While everything looks rather low-key at the moment, just wait. That location is too good. If your are inclined, rooms are available at The Line Saturday night starting at $186 on But when race fans from around the world check in for Formula 1 at Circuit of the Americas Oct. 19, the cheapest available room is $804. That’s nearly twice the going price for ACL Live during the first two weekends in October. There’s that affluent demographic theme surfacing again.

Until next week……..

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