Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Arboretum Tower

Austin residents not enthusiastic about efforts to change rules so 12 story condo can be built in their backyard...

This looks like a nice project. We definitely should be supporting density in an area like that instead of increasing sprawl further down 183. There are many office buildings in the area (especially the other side of 183) and lot's of tech, making it a very attractive project to people who work there. There's even a cap metro station right there with the express bus to downtown. Not a bad deal at all. It would be more attractive to me personally if it were a within walking distance to the arboretum itself, but that's just me.
Anonymous, eh?
I can see both sides to this. Yeah, the building does look nice, and the loccation they are planning to use has been a little seedy (look at the crime reports for that motel 6)..

But on the other hand, that *my* neighborhood. I like it just the way it is. If I wanted big buildings, I would have moved downtown. I am not sure what this would do to property values around, but my guess is that a building out of place like that will only hurt.

I think I'll sign the petition, if I can find someone getting signatures.
Densification is definitely a good idea, but it's a bit of a random location to start densifying. Walking distance to the Arboretum would be a start, but really much closer to downtown would be better.
My problem with this concept is simply the location. There is no benefit for a retiree to leave his / her home to live here other than for the view. One argument I have heard in support of this project is that the residents will no longer have yardwork to do in a condo setting. However, for the retirees who can afford to live in these condos, they can certainly afford a gardener / lawn service at their existing homes.

The only places within walking distance of the site are Dunkin' Donuts, Sonic, and nail salons. One will still need a car to live at the Arboretum tower.
As a resident of the adjacent neighborhood, I will oppose this development. It is simply out of place in the area and a 120 foot tower within 70 feet of a single-family home just does not seem reasonable to me. There are no buildings of that size even close to this property. The traffic is already a problem on Jollyville and this property is not at a major intersection. There are also no sidewalks along Jollyville.

This would set a precedent of future towers popping up in random places across Austin without considering the effect on homeowners nearby or a real plan for Austin growth.

The simple truth is that they can build a building on this lot with the same number of units without building a tower. An architect representing a group of neighbors has designed this and made a proposal to the developer. This is something the neighbors could support and could be an addition to the community if done right. However, the developer rejected the idea without consideration and stated that he is unwilling to support anything other than a 10-12 story tower. To me, that means he is not serious about working out a reasonable plan with the community interests in mind.

The hearing before the zoning board will be held at City Hall on May 2nd at 6pm.
Okay, for starters I'm having to log in as Anonymous because I tried about 17 times to sign up and your system kept telling me I did something wrong.

So for the record and if anyone cares my name is Rosa. Not that anyone really wants anyone to know who they are on these blog things.

Anyway, I received a postcard on this project about a week ago and I for one am delighted and thought it was real nice of the person building this building to send it.

I'm a widow who lives in this area and I plan on considering one of these condos, getting rid of my 2 story home and the stairs and all the work that goes into keeping it up and finally enjoying life and my grandkids. So that comment about all I'll get is a view is a bunch of malarky. And it DOES get expensive to bring someone in to mow the lawn -- $50 a week! I'm tired of paying that and I can't mow the lawn myself anymore. I want to live somewhere where I can see other people when I get my mail, and play cards with my friends, and enjoy a pool for the first time in my life.

And really, why does everyone have their knickers in a knot about height? There are high buildings all over this part of Austin. They have been popping up here for years and no one asked me if it was okay, I just accepted it. Ausiting is a growing town and this is busy part of town. You don't need a degree in urban development to know that if there is a vacant lot, someone will eventually build something on it. Why not this?

And Miss Jenny, with all due respect to you dear, if you bought your house in the area that I think you are in, with highways on both sides of you and businesses all around you, why is it such a surprise that someone would eventually build on that lot near you?? I've always wondered why anyone would buy a house there!That's all I have for now.
I got a postcard on this building the other day and was impressed. I think this will add to the area and could even increase property values. I welcome it as there have been a lot of nice buildings going up in this area and it's made things better in my opinion.

Personally, I think the developer has both class and balls to let people know what he is doing and to ask for feedback. I actually called him, he answered the phone (shocker!) and he was polite, intelligent, friendly, and seemed to know what he was talking about. You have to give him credit because I know he probably got a lot of opposers harassing him, too. Most developers wouldn't have bothered or would have had an answering machine or even someone else taking the calls.

I just don't get why some folks have their knickers in a knot about "another" high rise in this area. It's not the first. There are already several of them and even a few right across 183. They haven't really changed much about quality of life. Personally, I'd rather have a high rise, especially one with senior citizens living in it, in my "back yard" then a lot of other things.

And, let's face facts, this part of Austin IS another downtown, which is probably why most people choose to live and stay here in the first place. We have everything here: a hospital, hotels, tons of stores and restaurants, bars, movie theaters, lots of dentists and doctors offices. But once people choose to live here they think they can gripe about not wanting anything new built. Flawed logic in my opinion. Change and progress happens and should happen. I'm for it. Heck, I may decide to live there eventually.
FYI, the previous two "anonymous" comments were left by the same person. See here.
There is a guy in our neighborhood who bought his house over 15 years ago when it was valued at 70K (now worth over 200K) who has brokered a deal with the developer for a really cheap condo IF he agrees to promote the condos as a resident of the community. He will speak at all of the upcoming meetings about how great this condo is for the community. I wouldn't be surprised if he was Rosa.

I am posting anonymously because I don't want that idiot to read my blog.
I drove by the area and with all things considered:

2 stories ok

4 stories -- wow, kind of high

6 stories -- careless and out of place

8 stories -- beyond consideration

12 stores -- can you put a model of King Kong on top with his hands crushing a small family home.

BTW do the houses in that area cost over the 500K that the condos are going to cost?????????
Here is the scoop on this tower thing

City Staffers declined the zoning for this project
Zoning Board declined the zoning for this project despite some deceptive tactics and ringers they brought in during the meeting.
Board of Adjustments probably would have declined also so the developer postponed the meeting at the very last minute about 3 hours before the meeting. Trying to cause normal folk to get ticked off at the whole process.

And now the developer is take their case to the City Counsel and try to get it done there. This shows how much the developer really cares about Austin Neighborhoods
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