Photo courtesy of Vesper

On the hunt for your new home in downtown Austin? Vesper is a new high-rise that offers laidback luxury and comfortable living in the historic Rainey Street district.

Think unpretentious luxury with a high-desert Marfa feel and nods to the local nightlife mingled throughout the building. Vesper has a sleek, utilitarian, earthy feel that makes it easy to call home.

Its 41 stories offer penthouse and one- and two-bedroom units, available in 26 individual floorplans and three curated color schemes.

And there's so much more outside your door. From the 24-hour concierge to the 41st-floor pool and rooftop lounge, Vesper’s amenities exist to enhance your living experience, day in, and day out.

The building boasts coworking spaces, a bike room and repair station, resident lounge and liquor lockers, a dog run and wash, and fitness studio and yoga studios.

Between the bustling downtown scene, iconic Rainey street bars and restaurants, and local hot spots, the opportunities for fun out and about are endless. You're also near Waller Beach, the Colorado River, and the Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

Interested in seeing it for yourself? Email info@vesperatx.com or call 512-600-2231 for more info and to set up a tour.

Vesper Austin condos

Photo courtesy of Vesper

Vesper offers 41 stories of laidback luxury.

Photo courtesy of Reina

New high-rise development spells the end for reigning Rainey Street bar

Make it Reina

KVUE — Another Rainey Street bar is closing its doors.

Reina announced on Instagram Friday, August 5, that its last day of operation will be Sunday, September 11. In the post, staff said they "knew this was coming and that our days were numbered."

In late July, the Austin Planning Commission reportedly approved a conditional-use permit for a four-story cocktail lounge inside a proposed 49-story high-rise at 80 Rainey St. The building site has multiple lots, including the bungalow house where Reina is located.

In a second Instagram post, Reina staff provided more information about its impending closure, saying that it is their understanding that the bungalow house will stay on the property "with the development going up around it," though they don't know what its function will be.

"We LOVE and sincerely appreciate that it's being preserved so that the old can exist with the new," Reina said in part. "The street will be different but lots of great opportunities and experiences are coming too. Rainey Street has gone through many changes over the years even before Reina and the other bars existed, and this is the net phase. And another phase will follow one day."


Read the full story and watch the video onKVUE.com.

Photo by fstop123/Getty Images

Texas first-time buyers need $10,000 more to afford a home this year, report shows

The price is not right

The hurdles are raised for first-time homebuyers in Texas yet again, as rising interest rates demand an overall higher income for mortgage approval.

The Texas Real Estate Research Center released findings in its new Texas Housing Affordability Outlook that Texans buying their first homes need $10,000 more in income than at the beginning of last year to be approved for a $229,000 house.

Purchasing power, the center explains, and mortgage interest rates are indirectly related. Higher interest means higher monthly payments; it takes a higher income to keep up. “... As long as the rise in home prices continues to outpace the increase in income, purchase affordability, or the ability of a household to buy a home, will continue to diminish,” explains the report.

The $229,000 figure represents the first-quartile home price in Texas in Q1 2022, described as "the highest home price among those lowest-priced 25 percent of homes sold" in the state. The state's median home price for the first quarter of 2022 was $319,000. Year-over-year growth was slightly higher for the median figure (18.4 percent) than first-quartile figure (17.5 percent), but both are at their highest rates since the beginning of the chart in 2012.

The Austin-Round Rock area is, of course, driving a large part of this growth, with a 29.2 percent change in first-quartile prices since Q1 2021. That figure in Austin now sits at $420,000, almost double the state's first-quartile home price. Dallas’ numbers are slightly above the state average, San Antonio’s nearly exactly match, and Houston’s are slightly below.

Unfortunately for many Texans currently renting, only 37.4 percent of them are making the qualifying income ($61,652) to buy one of those first-quartile homes with a 3.4 percent interest rate (that was the national interest rate at the beginning of the year; by mid-May the interest rate had risen to 5.25 percent). Only 19.3 percent of Austinites are in a similar position, necessitating a six-figure income ($112,342) for the first time. This is over three times the qualifying income required in 2011 ($34,505), which a simple majority of Austinites met.

It’s not news, really, that Austinites are being priced out. Although those ratios followed a similar trajectory across the state, by the beginning of this study in 2011, Austin was already significantly the least affordable location for renters looking to buy.

Courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty

Heavenly South Austin condo goes on the market for $1.4 million

Church-to-condo conversion

A South Austin condo inside a former Catholic church just hit the market with a price tag of $1.4 million.

A 2018 remodel transformed the 1939 Mission Revival church into four condos, including the 1,889-square-foot townhouse that just went on the market. The former St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church anchors the J. Bouldin Residences development.

The condo is at 211 W. Johanna St., between South Congress Avenue and South First Street. One of the three other units within the former church went on the market in 2019 for $859,000.

Highlights of the condo that’s for sale include:

  • Two bedrooms
  • Two-and-a-half bathrooms
  • Original limestone exterior
  • 15-foot ceilings
  • 11-foot arched windows
  • Bertazzoni appliances
  • Wine bar
  • Stone countertops
  • Home office
  • Carport with space for two cars
  • Access to rooftop deck with views of downtown Austin

Aaron Scruggs and Julianna Scruggs of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty have the listing.

The developer and its partners worked with the City of Austin for nearly five years on various design elements for the church conversion, including preservation of the limestone façade, cathedral windows, and grand staircase, Julianna Scruggs says.

“The current owners favored this unit for the privacy and natural light,” she says.

Austin’s Rhode:Partners designed J. Bouldin Residences, which features the converted church, 29 single-level condos, and five three-story townhomes.

The $1.4 million condo is inside the former St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church.

South Austin church condo
Courtesy of Kuper Sotheby's International Realty
The $1.4 million condo is inside the former St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church.
Rendering courtesy of Intracorp

New 65-story tower with luxury hotel and residences to rise in downtown Austin

reach for the sky

What promises to be the city’s new tallest residential or hotel high-rise is planned for a site next to the Austin Convention Center.

The Conrad Austin hotel and Conrad Residences Austin condos will occupy a 65-story tower that will be built at 311 E. Second St., near West Cesar Chavez and Trinity streets.

The project will feature 326 hotel rooms and 136 one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom condos, as well as nearly 10,000 square feet of restaurant space and 1,000 square feet for a cocktail lounge.

Hotel giant Hilton owns the high-end Conrad Hotels & Resorts brand.

Austin-based Intracorp Texas is developing the project, with construction on track to start in late 2022. At 750 feet high, the Conrad high-rise will be the tallest residential or hotel building in Austin, eclipsing the current titleholder: The Independent, a 58-story, 690-foot-tall residential tower at 301 West Ave.

The city’s tallest building of any type, now under construction, will be the 66-story, 875-foot-tall Sixth and Guadalupe office and residential high-rise.

Rottet Studio is designing the interiors for the Conrad project, and Page is designing the exterior. Compass Development Marketing Group is handling condo sales, which are set to kick off this spring.

Compass reports that in the past year, Austin has experienced more than a 450 percent increase in sales of luxury residences year over year, totaling almost $190 million in the Capital City in 2021.

Rendering courtesy of Lincoln Ventures

East Austin carts out grocery store and café as part of new 6-story development

east side lifestyle

A mixed-use development featuring apartments, coworking space, a grocery store, and a café is springing up in East Austin.

Austin-based real estate developer and manager Lincoln Ventures is developing the six-story project at 2700 E. Fifth St. The yet-to-be-named development will offer a total of 625 apartments, row houses, and live/work units.

Aside from the coworking space, grocery store, and café, amenities will include two outdoor pools, a gym, a spin studio, a yoga room, a pet spa, a dog run, and a catering kitchen.

Construction is set to start in the second half of 2022, with the opening tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2024.

“As East Austin continues to grow along with the city, it’s important to tap into the lifestyle needs of the area, and this project captures that energy by providing a unique variety of environments, services, and experiences to the residents and the community,” David Kanne, CEO of Lincoln Ventures, says in a news release.

Lincoln Ventures’ partner in the East Fifth Street project is ELV Associates, a Boston-based real estate investor and manager. Chicago-based Pappageorge Haymes Partners is the architect, and Austin-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture is the interior designer.

In Austin, Lincoln Ventures is best known for its student housing developments, including The Ruckus, The Rukus 2.0, Moontower, and Waterloo. The company recently announced 80 Rainey, a 49-story tower that will include 644 rental units, along with bars and restaurants. The Rainey Street project is set for completion in the summer of 2025.

The new East Fifth Street project will include housing and coworking space.

Lincoln Ventures project
Rendering courtesy of Lincoln Ventures
The new East Fifth Street project will include housing and coworking space.
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Space-inspired screenings invade Austin Film Society ahead of Wes Anderson's upcoming release

Asteroid City

Yes, Wes Anderson was born in Houston, but we like to claim the UT graduate as our own here in Austin. With his latest film Asteroid City set for release in just a matter of weeks, the anticipation is high. Thankfully, Austin Film Society (AFS) is helping locals get ready.

On June 9 and 10, AFS will screen a series of three films the Texas director cites as influences on his new project. The series is free and will culminate with a special sneak preview of Asteroid City on June 10 at AFS Cinema.

Set in a fictional American desert town circa 1955, the film follows the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention. Organized to bring together students and parents from across the country for fellowship and scholarly competition, the convention is spectacularly disrupted by world-changing events.

In true Wes Anderson form, the large ensemble cast features both previous collaborators (Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Adrien Brody, among others) and newcomers in the Anderson universe such as Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Maya Hawke, and more. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May to rave reviews.

The trio of AFS screenings leading up to the sneak peek will include On The Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan, on Friday, June 9, at 5 pm, followed by Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind at 9 pm. The series continues on Saturday, June 10, with John Huston's The Misfits at 5 pm before the Asteroid City preview screening at 8:30 pm.

A new book about the mid-century cinematic influences on Asteroid City will also be available for purchase throughout the weekend series. Edited by Jake Perlin and published by Pushkin Press, Do Not Detonate Without Presidential Approval focuses features essays, photography, and a new conversation between Perlin and Wes Anderson.

This series of films is free, and tickets will be available to the public on Tuesday, May 30. To reserve tickets to these events, click here or visit austinfilm.org.

Lil Yachty, Jenny Lewis, and more join summer schedule for ACL tapings

Summer Sounds

Summer at Austin City Limits isn't just about the festival. The music is flowing in at the Moody Theater, where four diverse new acts will be taped for the world's ongoing enjoyment, even if Austin is too far to visit.

The taping schedule for Season 49 already includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Tanya Tucker, and Jorge Drexler, but more is coming. The more recent announcement brings in rapper Lil Yachty, singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, jazz duo Domi and J.D. Beck (stylized DOMi & JD Beck), and Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. The latter duo will be accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, to mark the guitarists' first appearance in a decade.

Lil Yachty beckons to the mainstream youth of 2023, having built a career on recognizable red braids and an absurdist sense of humor in his melodic flows. Still only 25, he is gaining acclaim through his creative approach. Domi and J.D. Beck take an equally, if not even more wacky approach, combining their jazz sensibility with high-profile artist features like Snoop Dogg and Mac DeMarco.

Jenny Lewis and Rodrigo y Gabriela are the more long-established acts — Lewis, a former child actor, known for her honest lyrics and campy style, and the guitar duo known for blending disparate styles like nuevo flamenco and heavy metal. Their appearance with the Austin Symphony will expand the instrumentation of their latest release, In Between Thoughts…A New World.

Austinites can see the live performances if they win passes through KLRU, the PBS station that airs Austin City Limits. Tapings will later be available on KLRU and YouTube.

  • June 28 — Lil Yachty
  • July 7 — Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • July 8 — DOMi & JD Beck
  • July 26 — Jenny Lewis

City of Austin offers bonuses to meet lifeguard staffing shortage

Just keep swimming

It's that time of the year again! Pools are getting busier on the weekends, and that means the demand for lifeguards is on the rise. Right now, the City of Austin is offering pay bonuses to help fill its shortage.

The City currently operates 45 public aquatic facilities, including Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy Pool, as well as 22 neighborhood pools and 11 splash pads.

In an effort to fill over 500 lifeguard positions at pools and summer camps, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department has changed its bonus structure. The new structure is tied to the number of hours worked.

To receive the bonuses, an employee must earn a minimum of $20 an hour work between May 21 and August 12 to be eligible for any bonus payouts. For example, lifeguards will receive a $250 bonus for 200 hours of work, and 300 and 400 hours of work will add another $250 bonus.


Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.