The ATX

Austin Economy/Culture/Growth/Whatever

162 posts in this topic

I'm mostly a construction and skyscraper nerd, but I thought I'd start a thread about Austin economic developments.  There is usually a lot to discuss in that regard.

 

I'll start with a report that the Austin metro (specifically the suburb of Hutto) is one one of the three finalists for the huge Tesla battery factory and 6.5K jobs:  

 

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/24876061/electric-car-manufacture-has-eye-on-hutto 

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Apple is currently expanding it's Austin campus and increasing it's local workforce from ~4K to ~7K.  This is Apples largest facility outside of California.  The first new buildings were completed in February.  Here's a map of the final build out:  

 

AppleCampus*600.jpg?v=1

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In addition to their Austin Campus, Apple also started building their new generation Mac late last year at a Flextronics factory in Austin.  Apple and Flextronics are being secretive about their plans, but Flextronics appaently hired 1.7K people for the project.  

 

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/10/15/flextronics-hiring-1700-workers-in-austin-for-next-generation-desktop-computer-likely-new-mac-pro/

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Here's a music video filmed in Austin - like within the past few days it almost looks like based on the construction cranes - featuring Chrissie Hynde (formerly of The Pretenders.)  It has some great people and street scenes. 

 

http://vimeo.com/91173533 

Edited by Texas Hill Country
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Here's some current (04/01/14) population and land area data from the City of Austin's demographics website.  The total land area of the city of Austin is about 321 square miles and the population is 865,504.  

 

The part I find interesting is that there are another 224,305 people in Austin's ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) that the city could annex into the city limits.  This would put Austin's city proper population at about 1.1 million.  But that won't happen any time soon because Austin hasn't been annexing populated areas.  Instead the city tends to annex undeveloped areas that are likely to be developed in the near future.  Some areas get annexed to add large commercial developments to the tax base.  An example of this was the annexation of the 1100 Acres Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 race track.  

 

Austin (and Sunbelt cities in general) can't annex suburbs like a lot of folks seem to think.  Suburbs are incorporated areas that can do their own annexations.  Austin can only annex connected land that is not incorporated which is referred to as the ETJ.  Austin is fortunate to not be completely surrounded by suburbs.

 

Even though Austin is experiencing classic rapid sunbelt sprawl, the center of the city is densifying rather quickly with all of the new residential projects.      

 

 

AustinPopulationandAnnexation.png

 

Here's a link to the city's website with more info:  

http://austintexas.gov/demographics

Edited by Texas Hill Country

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Here's an article in the Austin Business Journal indicating Austin is starting to see signs of a labor shortage.  (That's somewhat surprising considering the area has been and continues to grow by several thousand people every month.)  Austin is the only one of the big four Texas metros that doesn't rely in some part on the oil and gas industry.  It's the higher pay in that industry that is helping to drive the labor shortage in Austin.    

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/blog/at-the-watercooler/2014/04/how-the-energy-industry-is-draining-austins-pool.html?page=2 

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The one mile long Lady Bird Lake boardwalk is opening in June.  This will complete the 10 mile hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake downtown.  The boardwalk was needed to complete the trail because private development in the 1970/80s left no room for a shoreline trail for a ~1/2 mile or so strech of the 10 miles.  Runners and bikers now have to go up a significant hill on Riverside drive and navigate the busy Riverside/IH-35 intersection to continue on to the trail.  They now have a level connection that goes under IH-35.  

 

Nqv3pw6.jpghttp://i.imgur.com/Nqv3pw6.jpg

Edited by Texas Hill Country

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Here's a shot of where the boardwalk goes underneath the IH-35 parking lot.

 

8mNNj5X.jpgPhoto by KevinFromTexas at SSP:  http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=6533133&postcount=104

 

 

 

The boardwalk will provide a great viewing angle of the ever growing skyline:  

 

PHW48p5.jpghttp://Photo by KevinFromTexas at SSP: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=6533133&postcount=104

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Here's a recent pano of the nightly ritual of people lined up on the Congress Ave bridge waiting for the bats to take flight.  Click on the picture for a bigger version:  

 

ioWPJHV.jpg

http://highfieldmedia.com/

Edited by Texas Hill Country

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The buzz about the Tesla battery factory has quieted down of late.  If they locate it (or one of them) in Texas it appears the San Antonio area is the leading candidate.  But Charles Schwab is moving their headquarters out of San Francisco, and it appears that Austin, Dallas and Denver are the three leading candidates.  Charles Schwab is currently building a very large campus in the Denver area, and they have large Austin campus that is steadily growing.  But Dallas is a favorite locale for corporate headquarters.  It seems like a close race at this point.  

 

http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2014/05/real-estate-brokers-buzz-about-possible-office-move-by-san-francisco-based-charles-schwab.html/ 

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Here is the newly released Census Bureau list of the 15 U.S. cities with the largest city proper population.  Next year will be the first year that all of the top 10 cities have a population of more than 1,000,000.  

 

Number 11 Austin is on pace to move into the #10 spot because of its high growth rate.  But that won't happen any time soon because #10 San Jose has a decent growth rate as well and a lead of more than 100,000.  So Austin and San Jose look to be stuck at #10 and  #11 respectively for a couple decades - unless Austin starts to aggressively annex the surrounding unincorporated areas in it's ETJ.

 

In the three years between 2010 and 2013 Austin grew from 790,390 to 885,490.  That's an average increase 31,700 per year.  The suburbs are growing even faster.  The #1, #4 and #7 fastest growing cities overall during the past year were Austin suburbs. 

 

The real battle over the next few years looks to be for the #12 spot between the current #12 through #15 as well as Charlotte.

 

May22USCensusEstimatespng.png

The PDF version can be found here:  http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/cb14-89_pop_table2.pdf

 

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X-Games activities start this week.  Most of the events will be at the Circuit of the Americas F1 race track, but there will be events Downtown starting this week. There will be a lot of street closures downtown for the partying.  I work downtown on weekends, and street closures around the entertainment districts and their ensuing traffic snarls are a way of life here.  Here are some pictures of the X-Games prep going on at the track courtesy of the Austin American Statesman: 

 

jwj_X_Games_0359.JPG

jwj_X_Games_0814.JPG

jwj_X_Games_1054_2.JPG

jwj_X_Games_1106_2.JPG

These images and more can be found at:  http://www.austin360.com/gallery/lifestyles/recreation/x-games-buildout-052914/gCLFC/#5308333

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The X Games start today.  The first two events - the men's skateboard and BMX verts - take place later today on Congress Ave. with the State Capitol as the backdrop.  The rest of the events take place at Circuit of the America's beginning Friday.

 

downtown_ramp.JPG

http://www.austin360.com/weblogs/atx-games/2014/jun/03/giant-halfpipe-going-congress-avenue-downtown-x-ga/

Edited by Texas Hill Country

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Another drone video from Flying Cross Aerial Productions.  The State Capitol is the focus of this one:

 

http://youtu.be/mcOZgvRJfzk

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