Central Austin Edition - February 2021

CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 4  FEB. 26MARCH 28, 2021

ONLINE AT

SUMMER CAMP GUIDE CAMP GUIDE 2021

Power outages leave Texans in the cold

IMPACTS

17

7 WEATHER

14

Samsung requests nocity property taxon$17Bplant

G I A N T A M O N G G I A N T S

Samsung’s proposed $17 billion chip-making plant would dwarf other recent megaprojects that sought tax incentives in the region.

*SAMSUNG IS PROPOSED

BY CHRISTOPHER NEELY

tax incentive package for the plant—a 100% property tax rebate for 25 years, according to documents reviewed by Community Impact Newspaper . According to the documents, the plant would come with $5.6 billion in construction costs and $11.4 billion worth of machinery and equipment. Samsung promises to create up to CONTINUED ON 26

8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 3,000 4,000 1,000 0 2,000

$18B $15.75B $13.5B $11.25B

Samsung Semiconductor is shopping around a $17 billion, 6.1 million-square- foot chip manufacturing plant, and if the tech giant chooses Austin, one of three U.S. locations under consideration, the project would be one of the largest single economic investments in Texas history. In return, Samsung has asked thecity for a record “WEKNOWKIDSARE MORE ISOLATED. ... IT WAS IMPORTANTFORUS TOSHOWUPFORTHOSE KIDSANDSHOWTHEM THEYMATTERMORE NOWTHANEVER.”

$9B

$6.75B $4.5B $2.25B 0

Samsung 2021*

Samsung (2006/2012, Austin)

Tesla (2020, Del Valle)

Apple (2018, Austin)

Kalahari Resort (2016, Round Rock)

Amazon (2020, Pugerville)

SOURCES: CITY OF AUSTIN, CITY OF ROUND ROCK, CITY OF PFLUGERVILLE, TRAVIS COUNTY, WILLIAMSON COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Countdown to kicko for Austin FC Fan capacity uncertain for long-awaited home opener

BY IAIN OLDMAN

By the time Austin FC begins its inaugural season of play in Major League Soccer in April, its philanthropic arm will have been fully operational for two years. In that time, 4ATX Foundation, which was sprung by a $1 million donation from Austin FC owner Anthony Precourt, has already made connections with thousands of kids citywide through youth soccer programs, eld rehabilitation and leadership programs, according toKaitlinSwarts, AustinFC’s vicepresident of community impact. “It was a huge signal to the city of Austin that Austin FC is a club committed to the community. Two years before we play our rst game, we’re creating this nonprot arm that will act as a catalyst of change within the city,” Swarts said. CONTINUED ON 28

KAITLIN SWARTS, VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNITY IMPACT FOR AUSTIN FC

The 4ATX Foundation uses soccer to teach local kids life and leadership skills.

COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON . Join your neighbors with a contribution of any amount to CI Patron. Funds support Community Impact Newspaper ’s hyperlocal, unbiased journalism and help build informed communities. Choose IMPACT . Make a CONTRIBUTION . Strengthen JOURNALISMFORALL . S nap or visit Contribute today!

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Curious about new listings in your neighborhood? Scan me.

SOLD $160K OVER

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realtyaustin.com/p/8821449

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realtyaustin.com/p/7649562

SOLD

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4 bds

3 ba

2,337 sq ft

3 bds

2.5 ba 2,030 sq ft

3 bds

3 ba

3,138 sq ft

5 bds

3 ba

1,988 sq ft

2705 Tether Trl, Austin, TX 78704 Joe and Cara Keenan | 512-917-2326

2802 W44Th St, Austin, TX 78731 Leslie Socha | 512-910-5570

1604 Gaston Ave, Austin, TX 78703 Linda Traylor | 512-658-5823

2606 Rogers Ave #A, Austin, TX 78722 Gail and Ben Team | 512-567-0929

SOLD $50K OVER

SOLD $50K OVER

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realtyaustin.com/p/8647061

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SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

3 bds

2.5 ba 1,983 sq ft

2 bds

1 ba

0,861 sq ft

2 bds

1 ba

1,077 sq ft

2 bds

2.5 ba 1,155 sq ft

3010 E 18 1/2 St #A, Austin, TX 78702 Jon Chambers | 512-497-9758

3507 Grayson Ln, Austin, TX 78722 Elliott Sanchez | 512-785-4044

3402 Cambridge Ct, Austin, TX 78723 KimWilkin | 512-632-3992

6712 Hart Ln #A, Austin, TX 78731 Rebecca Gindele | 512-587-3020

SOLD $21K OVER

SOLD $15K OVER

SOLD $15K OVER

SOLD $12K OVER

realtyaustin.com/p/4836684

realtyaustin.com/p/6379831

realtyaustin.com/p/1494503

realtyaustin.com/p/8995329

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

3 bds

2 ba

1,349 sq ft

2 bds

2 ba

1,344 sq ft

3 bds

2 ba

1,364 sq ft

1 bds

1 ba

637 sq ft

7308 Marywood Cir , Austin, TX 78723 Dina Majd | 210-416-5533

2724 Treble Ln #323, Austin, TX 78704 Amy Mills | 512-762-0585

1202 Madison Ave, Austin, TX 78757 Joi Jones | 512-417-5611

710 Colorado St #4F, Austin, TX 78701 Cory Culpepper | 512-619-6009

#1 Independent Brokerage in Austin Realty Austin has grown into one of the most innovative and progressive real estate companies in Austin, uniquely suited for its high tech and home grown culture. Learn how we can help you sell your home faster and for more money. Visit RealtyAustin.com to learn more.

3

CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

A LIFE WELL LIVED. A LIFE WELL EARNED.

Since 1998, Belmont Village has safely delivered an unparalleled senior living experience for thousands of families. Collaborations with experts from the nation’s top universities and healthcare institutions, including the University of Texas Health Science Center, have established our national leadership in demonstrably effective cognitive health and wellness programs. Combining the highest levels of hospitality and care, our communities make life worth living.

BelmontVillage.com/WestLakeHills | 512-253-8457

W E S T L A K E H I L L S

The Community Built for Life.®

Licensed nurse on-site 24/7 | Circle of Friends® award-winning memory care | Urgent care telehealth Dedicated Alzheimer’s care | Physical therapy, rehabilitation and f itness | Nationally recognized, highly trained staff

©2021 Belmont Village, L.P. | ALF 105870

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMDEEDA: As we were sending this issue to print, perhaps the worst storm in our city's history stripped us of the ability to fulll many of our basic needs. What started out as a playground of uy, white snow for our kids to enjoy quickly turned into a nightmare we could not seem to escape. Thousands of people suered for days without power, boil water notices were issued, roads were deemed impassable and grocery store shelves emptied as long lines of cold shoppers wrapped around the building, waiting for a chance to get inside for necessary supplies. I am comforted by the heroic eorts of our rst responders, essential workers and just good old fashioned neighbors acting neighborly. I look forward to a slow news day when words such as unprecedented and historic will once again become rare. In the meantime, let’s look out for one another. Deeda Lovett, GENERALMANAGER dlovett@communityimpact.com

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

It starts with a floor plan. Together, we make it come to life.

Building a home can be an exciting new beginning. When you go with Brookfield Residential, we take care of you throughout your journey, from choosing your floor plan and finding financing through design choices and closing. Because we understand it’s more than a home—it’s your future. Now building new homes in Central Texas in Addison, Easton Park, and Kissing Tree. Schedule a self-guided tour of the Heritage floor plan in Easton Park or our other model homes at brookfieldresidential.com/mytime!

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

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TUDOR BLVD.

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Capital City Comedy Club will be reopening in October at The Domain. IAIN OLDMANCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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the former site of longtime Austin restaurant the Frisco Shop. The developer plans to construct 314 units, 18 of which will be reserved for families making no more than 60% of Austin’s median family income, or $41,040 for an individual. Con- struction is scheduled to start in 2021 and nish in 2023. www.odenhughesllc.com 7 Prep ATX , a 55,000-square-foot commercial kitchen, is set to open at 1300 E. Anderson Lane, Austin, in April. The facility will serve as a hub for cater- ers, bakers and prepared meal companies as well as a ghost kitchen for pickup and delivery-only restaurants. With 42 private kitchens, 16 shared kitchens and space for 16 food trucks available, representatives for Prep ATX say it will be the largest facility of its kind in Texas. www.prepatx.com 8 Studio Metric , a consortium of furni- ture makers and artists, will open a new showroom and workshop around April 1 at 6401 Airport Blvd., Austin, in the for- mer Firestone Complete Autocare. Artists will showcase their work and also design a line of desks and chairs. 512-265-1820. www.thestudiometric.com REGIONAL IMPACT COMING SOON After closing its Research Boulevard location in 2020, standup venue Capitol City Comedy Club will reopen in October at The Domain, 11506 Century Oaks Terrace, Austin. New owners and brothers Brad and Marc Grossman operate Helium Comedy Club, which has ve locations across the country. www.capcitycomedy.com

MOPAC

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MEDICAL PKWY.

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AIRPORT BLVD.

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NORTH CENTRAL NOWOPEN

enue, on campus at St. Edward’s Universi- ty and downtown on West Second Street. 512-383-5211. www.joscoee.com 4 Thom’s Market opened its new Allandale store Jan. 15 at 5901 Burnet Road, Austin. Owner Bill Thom opened the rst location of the market in 2008 on Barton Springs Road. The North Austin store, which goes into a location that was formerly a 7-Eleven convenience store, is the fourth Thom’s Market in Austin. 512-992-0808. www.thomsmarket.com COMING SOON 5 As You Are Acupuncture will open two new locations March 1—in North Austin at 4107 Medical Parkway, Ste. 100, and in South Austin at 4403 Menchaca Road, Ste. A. The business, which oers acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, will celebrate its rst anniversary April 25. Previously, As You Are operated out of an Adams Avenue spot, which will be replaced by the new locations. 512-270-1664. www.asyouareacupuncture.com 6 Oden Hughes is planning construc- tion of a $45 million multifamily housing complex at 6801 Burnet Road, Austin,

3

1 Dog Haus opened a new location in ghost kitchen facility CloudKitchens at 5610 N. I-35, Austin, in February. The delivery and pickup-only location serves gourmet hot dogs, burgers and fried chicken sandwiches as well as plant- based options. www.doghaus.com, www.cloudkitchens.com 2 National restaurateur and Food Net- work icon Guy Fieri has opened a location of Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Kitchen at 3612 Tudor Blvd., Austin, near the Gateway Center. The restaurant operates out of a ghost kitchen space, meaning there is no dine-in service, only takeout and delivery. It serves burgers, wings, salads and appetizers such as cheesesteak egg rolls. www.guysavortownkitchen.com 3 Jo’s Coee opened a new location Jan. 27 at 1000 E. 41st St., Austin, in the Hancock Center shopping plaza. This is the fourth location for Jo’s in Austin and the rst with a drive-thru option. The others are located on South Congress Av-

Jo’s Coee

COURTESY CHAD WADSWORTH

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Prep ATX

COURTESY PREP ATX

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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

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1

MT. BONNELL RD.

3

EXPOSITION BLVD

MOPAC

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W. 29TH ST.

MOPAC

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The Grey

Foxy’s Proper Pub

COURTESY CHIA CHONG

COURTESY CONSUMABLE CONTENT

focused on cheese and housemade bread. 737-757-4367. www.spreadandco.com COMING SOON 4 Aspen Heights Partners announced plans Feb. 4 to build a 36-story residen- tial tower, a 15-story office building, a small elevated park and around 25,000 square feet of retail space at the site of the former downtown Austin HealthSouth rehabilitation facility. Twenty-five per- cent of the project’s 160 condominiums and 348 rental units at the corner of 12th and Red River streets will be reserved as affordable housing, per an agreement with the city of Austin. The company did not give an estimated construction time- line. www.ahpliving.com 5 The Creek and the Cave , a comedy club that recently closed in New York City, will be moving to Austin and re- opening April 1. The club will be opening at 611 E. Seventh St., Austin, in the space that formerly housed Barracuda, one of several music venues in the Red River Street area that closed during the pan- demic. www.creekandcaveatx.com 6 The Grey Diner Bar and The Grey Market will open this summer at the forthcoming Thompson Hotel, 506 San Jacinto St., Austin. Mashama Bailey, a 2019 James Beard Award winner, and Johno Morisano opened The Grey in 2014 in a formerly segregated Greyhound bus terminal. The diner bar will be an all-day, full-service restaurant in the hotel lobby, while the market will focus on counter service with grab-and-go items. Both will be located on the ground floor of the hotel, also slated to open this summer. www.thegreyrestaurant.com

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BRAZOS ST.

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Austin Marriott Downtown

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COURTESY WHITE LODGING

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7 The AustinMarriott Downtown is set to open in March at 304 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin. The 613-room hotel will be located adjacent to the Austin Convention Center and will include 60,000 square feet of meeting space. Additionally, the hotel will house several other businesses, including the already-open Zanzibar, a rooftop terrace, a bar and a pool. Corinne Restaurant, a neighborhood spot and cocktail bar whose menu will focus on American comfort food, will also be opening along with two-story cocktail bar The Lobbyist and urban grocer Loaf + Vine. 512-457-1111. www.marriott.com ANNIVERSARIES 8 Texas French Bread celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2021. Founder Judy Wilcott opened Texas French Bread in 1981 at 2900 Rio Grande St., Austin. Today, her son Murph Wilcott runs the bakery and bistro serving soups, salads, sandwiches, coffee, pastries and, of course, fresh bread. 512-499-0544. www.texasfrenchbread.com

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DOWNTOWN/ WEST CAMPUS NOWOPEN

Drag at 2552 Guadalupe St., Austin. The hotel owned by White Lodging is the first location in Texas for Marriott International’s Moxy Hotels brand, which operates 26 hotels in the United States and 71 abroad. The hotel has an indoor and outdoor bar and includes a 24-hour taco counter, Zombie Taco, on the first level. 737-471-2621. www.moxy-hotels-marriott.com 3 Spread & Co. opened a new location at the Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria campus, 3809 W. 35th St., Austin, on Feb. 2. This is the second location for the restaurant from Rosemary and Austin Ewald, which first opened on West 38th Street in 2019. The Laguna Gloria cafe is open for breakfast and lunch with a menu

1 Foxy’s Proper Pub opened Feb. 24 at 201 Brazos St., Austin, in the space formerly occupied by Italian restaurant La Volpe. Sharing ownership with neighboring restaurant Cedar Door, the new Irish pub is a multilevel venue serving cocktails, beer, wide-ranging Irish whiskey options and a hearty Irish food menu. www.foxysproperpub.com 2 Moxy Austin-University opened its new 162-room hotel Jan. 13 on the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

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SPIRIT OF TEXAS DR.

COURTESY JJIM BBQ

AUSTIN-BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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MCANGUS RD.

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SOUTH CENTRAL NOWOPEN

4 South Austin-based food truck Teal House Coffee & Bakery was scheduled to open its brick-and-mortar location at 2304 S. Congress Ave., Austin, by early March. The storefront was initially set to open in late January but was delayed a month. The original trailer remains open on Slaughter Lane. 832-577-4336. www.tealhouse.co 5 Word of Mouth Bakery opened a second location at 1506 S. First St., Austin, on Feb. 12 at the former location of Seventh Flag Coffee. The new location will begin with the same menu as its original 917 W. 12th St. spot, but it will eventually open with extended hours and a casual dinner menu. www.wordofmouthbakery.com COMING SOON 6 East Austin’s Drinks Lounge plans to open a second location called Little Drinks Lounge in South Austin in March. Located at the Davis SoCo Apartments at 3801 S. Congress Ave., Ste. 116, Austin, the new spot will serve the same cocktail menu as Drinks Lounge, but it will have its own food menu, according to bar own- er Tim Lupa. www.drinkslounge.bar 7 Rastegar Property Co. announced

plans Feb. 11 to build a 530,000-square- foot industrial park at 11708 McAngus Road. Located a few miles from Tesla’s future gigafactory and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the development is estimated to be complete in 2022. www.rastegarproperty.com RELOCATIONS 8 Letterpress studio and stationery shop Letterpress Play moved operations to a new location at 2002 S. Congress Ave., Austin, on Feb. 2. The business offers zero-waste paper toys, cards, posters and more. In order to promote health and safety, Letterpress Play offers 30-minute shopping appointments on its website. It was previously located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 208. 512-551-3630. www.letterpressplay.com ANNIVERSARIES 9 South Austin nonprofit The Human Potential Center will celebrate its 35th anniversary March 1. Located at 2007 Bert Ave., Austin, the center offers programs designed to “tap the creativity, the love and the playfulness of the human spirit.” www.facebook.com/ humanpotentialcenter

Whataburger

COURTESY WHATABURGER

1 Korean Barbecue restaurant Jjim BBQ opened Feb. 11 at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 2140, in the Lamar Union location formerly home to The Connection Pizza + Bar. Owned by a team including Min Choe, a co-founder of Tso Chinese Delivery, the menu will feature jjim, which is meat cooked in a Korean style of braising and slow cooking until tender. www.jjimbbq.com 2 High-end Austin-based jeweler Nak Armstrong opened a flagship boutique location at South Congress Avenue’s Mu- sic Lane development in early December at 1011 S. Congress Ave., Bldg. 2, Ste. 110, Austin. www.nakarmstrong.com 3 Texas fast-food burger chain Whataburger opened a new Austin location Jan. 28 in the cell phone lot of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, 2901 Spirit of Texas Drive, Austin. The restaurant can seat 72 customers, has a 24-7 drive-thru and offers delivery options. Inside seating and curbside pickup are available from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. 737-228-1311. www.whataburger.com

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Teal House Coffee & Bakery

COURTESY TEAL HOUSE COFFEE & BAKERY

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Letterpress Play

COURTESY JAMES LANDEN/LETTERPRESS PLAY

Open to the Public 500 W Ben White Blvd Austin, TX 78704 @atxrestore Discount Home Improvement Store and Donation Center

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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

RAIN IN THE SAVINGS

Landscape Rebates „ Replace healthy turf grass with native plant beds and qualify for up to $1,750 in rebates. „ Using a combination of mulch ( $40 rebate ), compost ( $50 rebate ) and core aeration ( $30 rebate ) ensures water stays on your yard and saves you $120 . Laundry to Landscape Rebate „ $150 rebate to help you buy equipment to reuse laundry graywater (wastewater from bathroom sinks, showers/bathtubs, and clothes washers/ laundry tubs) for watering your landscape. „ Look for EPA’s ENERGY STAR ® or WaterSense ® label when buying new water use appliances or plumbing fixtures. It’s good for your finances and the environment. Irrigation Upgrades „ Receive up to $1,000 in rebates for upgrading your existing irrigation system. „ Rebate of up to $40 for a water timer that gives you more control over hose- end watering.

Rainscape Installation „ Residents and schools can install landscape features (berms, terraces, swales, rain gardens, porous pavement, etc.) to keep and beneficially use rainwater while saving $.30 for every square foot (100 sq. ft. minimum) converted, up to $500 per property. Rainwater Harvesting „ Get a maximum rebate of $5,000 or 50% of the equipment cost, whichever is less, on non-pressurized systems ($0.50 per gallon capacity) or pressurized systems ($1.00 per gallon capacity).

austinwater.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER

from Roscoe Property Management has studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom options ranging from 487 to 1,159 square feet with rents from $956 to $2,280 per month. Amenities set to fully open by April include a pool, two-story fitness center, rooftop deck, and co-working spaces with conference rooms and offices. 210-987-4395. www.nexuseastaustin.com 4 Rocheli Patisserie opened at 1212 Chicon St., Ste. 102, Austin, in February. Co-founder Nelly Garcia said both the space and the menu were designed as a contemporary touch on classic French styles. Previously, the patisserie operated as a delivery-only service. 512-220-4107. www.rocheli.com COMING SOON 5 The Kebab Shop , a California-based Mediterranean restaurant that expanded to Austin in 2019, is planning additional locations in the Central Texas area, including one in the Mueller development at 1201 Barbara Jordan Blvd., Austin, in April or May. The Kebab Shop, which has two Austin locations already open, is also planning to expand to Round Rock and Pflugerville later in the year, according to Chief Marketing Officer Wally Sadat. www.thekebabshop.com 6 La Barbecue announced plans to move to a new, permanent location at 2401 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, beginning in early May. Currently located inside the Quickie Pickie convenience store, also on East Cesar Chavez Street, La Barbecue serves Texas barbecue staples including brisket, pork ribs, sausage, turkey and pulled pork. The eatery’s new space formerly housed seafood restaurant Mongers Market + Kitchen, which moved to Hyde Park in the summer of 2020. 512-605-9696. www.labarbecue.com 7 Sunny’s Backyard , a bar and vegan restaurant, will open in March at 3526 E. Seventh St., Austin, in the former location of the Hard Luck Lounge. Husband-and-wife owners Charrissa and Merritt Vaughn ran a vegan bar in Los Angeles before moving to Austin in 2020. The bar, which has a 3,000-square-foot patio, is named for the couple’s terrier, Sunny. www.sunnysbackyardatx.com

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Southside Flying Pizza

TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

COURTESY THE VELOX STANDARD

ANNIVERSARIES 8 Southside Flying Pizza is celebrating 15 years in the community in 2021. The Austin- based chain owned by Art Goldstein—which has a location at 2702 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin—serves scratch-made pizzas, chicken wings, sandwiches, salads and pasta dishes. The East Austin location is one of five in Austin, and Southside also has one in Houston. 512-600-6962. www.southsideflyingpizza.com

EAST AUSTIN NOWOPEN

2 Lydia Street Gallery opened Jan. 21 at 1200 E. 11th St., Ste. 109, Austin. The gallery, owned by Deanna Miesch, is open by appointment on weekdays, and also on Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5 p.m. during exhibitions. Until March 1, Lydia Street Gallery will have work by artist Stephen Daly on exhibit. 512-524-1051. www.lydiastreetgallery.com 3 Nexus East , a 352-unit apartment building located at 720 Airport Blvd., Austin, opened in early 2021. The complex

1 North Austin craft beer and cocktail spot The Long Play Lounge opened a second location on the premises of recently closed East Austin dive bar Stay Gold. The new 1910 E. Cesar Chavez St. location opened Feb. 22 and will remain under the same management as Stay Gold, according to a representative for The Long Play Lounge. www.thelongplaylounge.com

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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

TODO LIST

February and March events

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Organized by local group I Live Here I Give Here, Amplify Austin Day is an annual 24-hour campaign that aims to raise funds for local nonprots. Last year, the virtual day of giving brought in 28,000 donations totaling $12.3 million. Because of increased need related to COVID-19 and the winter storms, the organization is aiming for contributions from 60,000 individual donors this year. The campaign ocially runs from 6 p.m. March 4- 6 p.m. March 5, but donations can be made early. www.amplifyatx.org (Courtesy Trent Lee Photography)

This year, South by Southwest Conference & Festivals presents an entirely virtual experience, with online presentations, speakers, musical performances and lm screenings. The event’s keynote speaker will be musician Willie Nelson, with others including Queen Latifah, Matthew McConaughey and Chris Webber. Online passes are available for $249 in February with prices increasing to $399 in March. Event times and dates vary. www.sxsw.com (Matt Winkelmeyer/ Getty Images for SXSW) 04 DIVINC’S CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE BANQUET Austin-based nonprot DivInc hosts its third annual Champions of Change awards banquet and fundraiser virtually. The nonprot, which works to promote diversity, equity, social justice and inclusion, aims to raise $100,000 at the event. 5:30 p.m. $50-$100. www.divinc.org/champions-of-change 08 BILL GATES DISCUSSES CLIMATE CHANGE BookPeople will host a virtual presentation with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Khan Academy CEO Sal Khan, who will discuss climate change and the challenges facing the planet. Tickets include a copy of Gates’ new book, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.” 7 p.m. $39-$59. www.bookpeople.com 24 THROUGH 28 WORLDGOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS DELL TECHNOLOGIESMATCHPLAY The tournament bringing together some of the PGA Tour’s best golfers returns to Austin Country Club after it was canceled in 2020. Tournament Executive Director Jordan Uppleger said in a letter to fans attendance would be extremely limited. Austin Country Club, 4408 Long Champ Drive, Austin. Times vary. Ticket prices to be determined. www.pgatour.com

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

FEBRUARY 16 THROUGHMARCH 16 TEXAS SCIENCE FESTIVAL The University of Texas hosts its annual Texas Science Festival virtually. Experts lead panels with programs titled “Saving the Bees,” “Diversity in a Changing Ocean,” “The Science of Love” and more. Event times and dates vary. Free. www.sciencefest.utexas.edu 24 THROUGHAPRIL 7 GOODVIBES ONLYMUSIC SERIES Performances by local musicians in the Long Center’s virtual concert series will air on Feb. 24, March 10, March 24 and April 7. 8 p.m. Free. 512-474-5664. www.thelongcenter.org/events-and- tickets/good-vibes-only MARCH 02 VIRTUAL ARTWORKSHOP In March’s installment of this monthly virtual series, studio coordinator Izobeau Loureiro discusses mold making and 3-D objects. Those who sign up receive a kit with supplies for arts and crafts. 5-6:30 p.m. $5. 512-453-5312. www.thecontemporaryaustin.org

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Find more or submit Central Austin events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

©Feb. 2021 Ash Creek Homes. All rights reserved. Homes shown are representative of proposed Ash Creek Homes Apex plan for The Heights at Vista Park. Photos and are strictly for illustra- tive purposes only. All information (including, but not limited to prices, availability, incentives, floor plans, site plans, features, standards and options, assessments and fees, planned ameni- ties, programs, conceptual artists’ renderings and community development plans) is not guaranteed and remains subject to change or delay without notice. Maps and plans are not to scale and all dimensions are approximate. Please see a Ash Creek Homes sales associate for details and visit www.ashcreekhomes.com 2/21

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER

‘Pork chop’ a thing of the past The concrete median island at the crossing of North according to a release from District 4 Council Member Greg Casar’s oce. The

Lamar Boulevard and Morrow Street known to north Central Austin residents as the “pork chop” was demolished in January as part of ongoing intersection work in the area. Highland Neighborhood Association President Nick Pelliciotto said removing the barrier has been one of the long-term goals of the neighborhood,

demolition is part of continuing work at the intersection. The project also includes upgraded bicycle facilities which will include new ramps for people riding bikes through the intersection; restriping of crosswalks and lane conguration changes. Capital Metro will also bring new or relocated bus stops to the area.

Workers remove the ‘pork chop’ median at Morrow Street and North Lamar Boulevard. (Courtesy Oce of City Council Member Greg Casar)

Timeline: January- June 2021 Cost: $800,000 Funding source: City of Austin Quarter Cent Funds, 2018 bond

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183 ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Longhorn Dam bridge work underway Construction started in January on a project to improve Pleasant Valley Road between Cesar Chavez Street and Elmont Drive, including the Longhorn Dam bridge crossing Lady Bird Lake. The work will include installing a new physical separation between the northbound and southbound travel lanes; reworking lane congurations; and adding new shared- use paths for bicyclists, walkers and runners. Meanwhile, a larger project to build a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge crossing the river is still in the design phase. That new $12.6 million bridge will have a three-pronged wishbone design and was funded by the $460 million transportation bond Austin voters passed in November. Once construction begins, the new bridge is expected to take ve years to complete. Timeline: January-July 2021 Cost: $1.5 million-$2 million Funding source: 2016 mobility bond

UPCOMING PROJECTS 2 Bus-only lanes coming to East Riverside Drive New lanes dedicated only to Capital Metro buses are coming to a 2-mile stretch of East Riverside Drive, intended to improve travel times for public transit riders and organize trac ow. Intermittent lane closures are expected as crews restripe the lanes, add “Bus only” pavement markings and install new signs. According to a news release from the city of Austin, the nine Capital Metro routes that operate along this stretch of East Riverside carry almost 20% of all the public transportation agency’s riders. The work will occur on the same corridor in which the Blue Line light rail service is set to be built beginning in 2024, connecting Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to downtown and north Austin. Timeline: late February-early April 2021 Cost: $100,000 Funding sources: Capital Metro, city of Austin interlocal agreement

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Bass will ocially take over upon the conclusion of the 87th Texas Legislative Session. Until then, according to The Mobility Authority, Chief Financial Ocer Bill Chapman will continue to serve as interim executive director. According to his ocial TxDOT biography, Bass has worked for the state department since 1985. He became TxDOT’s chief nancial ocer in 2005 before being named executive director in 2016.

Mobility Authority had one leader. Mike Heiligenstein was the rst and only executive director for the Mobility Authority for nearly two decades. That will soon change. On Jan. 27, The Mobility Authority’s board of directors approved James Bass, former executive director at the Texas Department of Transportation, as the next executive director of the organization.

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF FEB. 23. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT CTANEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

WEATHER Power outages leaveAustinites in the dark and cold for days on end

Millions of Texans huddled for warmth beneath blankets and layers of winter clothes, lined up for hours outside of grocery stores to buy necessary supplies and melted snow for use in toilets as widespread power and water outages stretched on for days across the state following a winter storm Feb. 14. Mandated outages began in Austin in the early morning hours of Feb. 15, when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s energy grid, directed local utility providers to take power oine in order to avoid a statewide blackout. At the peak of the outages, Austin Energy reported more than 200,000 customers without power, or over 40% of its users. Even before the lights came back on, residents left out in the cold were asking questions of public ocials about how the disaster happened. “This is unacceptable. Reviewing the preparations and decisions by ERCOT is an emergency item so we can get a full picture of what caused this problem and nd long-term solutions,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Feb. 16 statement. State Rep. James Talarico, DRound Rock, said in a statement ERCOT must be held accountable, but “that’s not where the blame lies” and politicians will also need to answer tough questions. BY JACK FLAGLER & BEN THOMPSON

monoxide poisoning to protect their children. If Texas was a country, we would call it a ‘failed state,’” Talarico said in the statement Feb. 17. What went wrong Since 1970, ERCOT has managed the power grid that covers most of Texas. It adjusts prices for power sup- ply, making sure supply and demand are in balance to deliver power to customers. According to CEO Bill Magness, ERCOT made preparations for the winter weather and had a plan. “I don’t think there was any underestimation of the seriousness of this storm,” he said. What did surprise ERCOT was the signicant amount of energy supply that became unavailable the night of Feb. 14. Winterization eorts that were sucient for previous storms were not enough this time, as wide-ranging issues from ice on wind turbines to natural gas plants that could not oper- ate due to cold temperatures caused a signicant shortage. Ramanan Krishnamoorti, a chemical engineering professor and chief energy ocer at the University of Houston, said he believes the state’s reliance on market conditions to manage supply and demand is partially responsible for the lack of power, given providers’ lack of incentive to begin production well in advance of a supply shortage. The shortages aected energy pro- viders of all types, and Krishnamoorti said there should have been a better

Lines wrapped around the back of the HEB store in the Mueller neighborhood Feb. 16. (Photos by Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Snow and ice covered Austin roads after winter storms the week of Feb. 14.

Emergency services were at capacity for days responding to distress calls.

plan in place. “We knew that it was going to get too cold for us to be able to generate enough wind, and there were turbine issues. ... That was not the big story,” he said. “I think [it was] the lack of preparation to get coal-red power plants, natural gas-red power plants [and] nuclear going, having adequate natural gas supply, and having that started ahead of time. Really a lack of preparation.” With so many power suppliers unable to deliver, ERCOT told local utilities across Texas to cut power. In years past, that conservation would be achieved through rolling black- outs, in which customers would lose power for minutes at a time before the outages rotated to others. However, locally, the demand constraints for Austin Energy were so severe that ocials said they were

unable to roll blackouts. The utility took as many users oine as it could without aecting critical infrastruc- ture such as hospitals, re stations and water utility facilities. If those measures were not taken, Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent said the whole system could have gone black. “That would take not just days to restore power but weeks, and even longer for some customers throughout the ERCOT footprint,” Sargent said. Power was mostly restored by Feb. 19, but thousands of Austin Water customers remained without service for days as the utility built back its reserves that had been depleted due to numerous water main breaks. On Feb. 23, a boil notice issued citywide was lifted for all Austin Water customers.

WHISPER VALLEY “People are burning furniture to heat their homes, melting snow to ush their toilets, risking carbon

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from Austin & Travis County

COMPILED BY CHRISTOPHER NEELY & OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

Austin City Council Meets March 4, 25 www.austintexas.gov/department/ city-council Travis County Commissioners Court Meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m. www.traviscountytx.gov/ commissioners-court Meetings are currently being held virtually, not in person. MEETINGSWE COVER distribution to other areas of the population. APH Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard said it would be late May before the public health organization could vaccinate everyone who has registered as of early February and qualies for the vaccines in the current Phase 1B. Vaccine appointments were suspended the week of Feb. 15 due to winter weather, but APH said operations resumed Feb. 21. CITY HIGHLIGHTS AUSTIN Austin City Council ordered sta Feb. 4 to negotiate the purchase of the 83-room Candlewood Suites in Northwest Austin, near the intersection of US 183 and SH 45 N, with the intention to convert it into full- service housing for the city’s homeless population. The move spurred opposition from local and state ocials. Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell and Commissioner Cynthia Long said they should have been notied, and they plan to pursue legal action. State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, also led legislation that would require cities and counties to coordinate eorts in ghting homelessness, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will prioritize the issue. TRAVIS COUNTY If Austin Public Health continues to receive vaccines from the Texas Department of State Health Services at the same rate, ocials say it will be months before Travis County expands

May 1 election ballot set inAustin

AUSTINHEADS TO THE POLLS

AUSTIN City residents will head to the ballot box this spring to weigh in on a menu of changes to the city’s democratic processes as well as a handful of largely controversial policies around homelessness following City Council approval of ballot language Feb. 9. Voters will be asked whether they support aligning the mayoral election with the presidential election cycle; implementing a system of ranked-choice voting if and when it is allowed by state law that would allow residents to rank their list of candidates, thus doing away with runo elections; eliminating the city manager position and transitioning to a strong mayor form of government; creating an 11th City Council district; and implementing a campaign nance system that does not limit campaign spending and oers $25 to every voter to donate to campaigns of their choice. Discussions around strong mayor and ranked-choice voting have been happening in the background for years but the political action committee Austinites for Progressive Reform,

formed in July 2020, drafted a petition that garnered enough support to put the issues on this May’s ballot. A petition drafted by Save Austin Now to reinstate penalties for public camping, sitting and lying down— which City Council repealed in 2019— drewmore than 26,000 valid signatures to earn a place on the May 1 ballot. Voters will be asked whether they support reinstating the criminal penalties for camping in public, sitting, lying down, or sleeping on downtown and university sidewalks, and aggressive solicitation. Finally, Austinites will see two other questions this spring. One could give the local reghters union the ability to force labor negotiations into arbitration if they and the city reach an impasse. The other asks voters if they support City Council creating the position of director of the oce of police oversight. That makes eight total propositions Austin voters will decide upon. The next City Council and mayoral elections will be in 2022, and any charter changes would come into play after those elections are decided.

Early voting in Travis County runs April 19-27 followed by Election day May 1. Austin residents will be deciding on eight dierent propositions. Proposition A: reghters union arbitration charter amendment Proposition B: reinstating the homeless ordinances Proposition C: creating a director of police oversight position Proposition D: holding mayoral elections in presidential election years Proposition E: ranked-choice voting Proposition F: strong mayor form of government Proposition G: adding an 11th City Council district

Proposition H: alternative campaign nance system

SOURCE: CITY OF AUSTIN COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Austin Police Chief BrianManley retires, says heart was no longer in it

AUSTIN Brian Manley announced Feb. 12 that he will step down from his post as Austin Police Department chief March 28. Manley, who has held the position for more than two years, said the city deserved a chief who was fully committed to the demands of the role. City Manager Spencer Cronk said he would “immediately start to conduct a national search for our next chief” and that he would appoint an interim chief by the start of March. Manley said he was ready to take on “the next phase of life.”

“I know in my heart that it is time for me to pursue that next opportunity,” Manley said. “And I don’t feel that I can give my full attention to the duties of the chief of police as demanded if my heart is now looking for that next opportunity.”

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CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • FEBRUARY 2021

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