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Photo courtesy of Northshore

Austin has a nearly limitless list of ways to go out on the town, every day and night of the week. But the Live Music Capital of the World also has an impressive luxury living scene that makes it just as alluring to stay in.

For next-level living right downtown, all signs point to Northshore, a luxe high-rise apartment complex with a sleek, modern mood. Here are 10 reasons why you'll want to call it home.

Luxe is standard in every apartment home
The one-, two-, and three-bedroom floorplans all boast spa-inspired bathrooms, large walk-in closets, Nest thermostats, open-concept kitchens with granite or quartz countertops, engineered hardwood flooring, and floor-to-ceiling windows that capitalize on panoramic lake, Hill Country, and skyline views.

The pool has vacation vibes
Surrounded by cabanas and sunbeds, the infinity-edge pool and deck are a dream — and your ticket to a day-cay anytime. Located on the eighth floor and overlooking Lady Bird Lake, this resort-style zone also boasts an outdoor fire pit and fireplace complete with gorgeous sunset (or anytime) views.

You can work out with a view
In addition to the poolscape, you can break a sweat while overlooking the lake at the 24-hour Technogym fitness club.

You can also easily WFH
Working from home is easy with three conference rooms, an iMac business center, and two private lounges for any biz meetings — or when you just need a change of scenery from that remote workstation in your apartment.

2nd Street is your next-door neighbor
Only a block away is the 2nd Street District, one of Austin’s top destinations for authentic community spirit in the form of live music, award-winning local fare, and indie boutiques.

One of Time’s Greatest Places is also next door
The 500,000 books are just the beginning at the six-story, LEED-certified Austin Public Library. There’s also an art gallery, an event space, a rooftop butterfly garden, a series of group-study rooms, the Cookbook Cafe, and more. And, yes, the library made Time’s esteemed list of World’s Greatest Places in 2018.

Mother Nature is never far
Northshore is near the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail as well as Lady Bird Lake and Zilker Park, so you’re never far from finding some green space and channeling Mother Nature — even in the heart of the city.

Dinner is served, right downstairs
You don’t even have to leave home base to pick up dinner. Northshore’s ground level boasts ATX Cocina’s modern Mexican cuisine along with beloved taco joint Torchy’s, with even more eateries and retailers on the way.

You can have a Moody moment
The state-of-the-art Austin City Limits at The Moody Theater is within walking distance, which means easy access to its 100-plus concerts and live events every year, with no parking required.

The community amenities are endless
In addition to all the above, Northshore has 24-hour concierge services, pet-friendly facilities with a pet spa, valet dry cleaning, a private screening room, options for reserved and private garages, multiple grilling stations, and more.

Explore Northshore via virtual tour here, and schedule an in-person tour at northshoreaustin.com.

Cool off in the infinity-edge pool on the eighth floor.

Photo courtesy of Northshore
Cool off in the infinity-edge pool on the eighth floor.
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.

Austin rises to No. 1 in ranking of best office markets for 2022

Strengthening the economic foundation

Buoyed by expected job growth of 5.6 percent, Austin reigns as the country’s No. 1 office market for 2022, according to a new report.

The report, published by commercial real estate services provider Marcus & Millichap, cites Austin’s position as a magnet for tech employers as one of the reasons for the bullish outlook regarding this year’s local office market.

Marcus & Millichap anticipates net absorption this year of more than 4 million square feet of office space in the Austin area. That would bring the region’s two-year net absorption total to more than 9 million square feet of office space, Marcus & Millichap says.

Net absorption refers to the amount of square feet that became occupied during a certain period, subtracted by the amount of square feet vacated during that period.

Of course, tech companies are spurring much of this activity. Office tenants in the tech sector are drawn to Austin for several reasons, such as a relatively low cost of doing business, an abundance of skilled workers, and opportunities to collaborate with related businesses, according to the report.

“This trend is not novel for the [Austin] market. However, location preferences are shifting,” the report says.

As a result, tech employers are filling up space in places such as downtown Austin and East Austin, the report says. Marcus & Millichap cites recent office leasing deals signed by Atlassian, Cloudfare, Facebook, and TikTok. The report also mentions the ripple effect of Tesla’s expanding presence in the Austin area.

These and other employers are fueling job growth in Austin. The report predicts Austin will see 5.6 percent employment growth this year, compared with 4 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth, 3.4 percent in San Antonio, and 3.1 percent in Houston.

In light of the anticipated employment growth, Marcus & Millichap expects Austin to post a 15.8 percent office vacancy rate this year, compared with 13.6 percent in San Antonio, 20.9 percent in DFW, and 23.1 percent in Houston.

As determined by Marcus & Millichap, here are the top 10 U.S. office markets for 2022:

  1. Austin.
  2. Tampa, Florida.
  3. Miami.
  4. Raleigh, North Carolina.
  5. Orlando, Florida.
  6. Salt Lake City.
  7. Nashville.
  8. West Palm Beach, Florida.
  9. Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  10. Phoenix.

Elsewhere in Texas, DFW ranks 11th, San Antonio ranks 15th, and Houston ranks 41st. The report covers 46 major office markets in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Natiivo

Hot downtown high-rise teams up with Texas artists for Austin-inspired decor

Wall to wall

As Austin continues to take in more people, whether visiting or relocating to the Capital City, new residences have to get creative about all the coming and going. Natiivo, a sold-out condominium complex built in partnership with Airbnb in the popular Rainey Street District, is streamlining the rentals approach with built-in home-sharing management and hotel amenities.

The concept allows a compromise in an already-crowded city between luxury traveling accommodations and individual ownership. To bring in a little more local spirit, Natiivo is partnering with New York design consultancy Indiewalls to decorate the building with work created by 12 Texas artists. The multimedia works will appear throughout the building, as well as in a top-floor gallery.

The artwork follows different themes: Emily Eisenhart uses transparency to evoke the Texas sun, while Angela Navarro pays tribute to Austin with large-scale impressionist works, and Kerry Hugins creates local flowers in watercolors. The group came together from past Indiewalls projects and through organic artist searches through social media.

“I did not want to provide any guidance or strict design direction for the artists,” says Indiewalls art curator Sarah Hatahet. “I wanted to showcase the artists and their works in their purest forms to be appreciated in the same sense as one would experience them in an art gallery. I did not want the artwork to seem forced or too curated.”

A column on the 33rd floor will sport a wraparound mural from Michael W. Hall, inspired by the abstract gradient line work popular in 1970s art. The curvy shapes twist around the cylinder in reds, blues, oranges, and yellows, simultaneously crowding each other out and propelling each other up in an organic splash. The artist attributes the design to the Austin landscape visible from the high-rise.

“I looked out over the undulations of Lady Bird Lake and the swaying peaks of the cypress trees along the water’s edge, the vibrant energy of downtown and the east side, the vaulting towers of the growing skyline, and the waves of the Hill Country in the distance on the western horizon,” Hall says. “My mural concept is a response to all of these: the movement of the natural environment, the rhythm of downtown, and the upward vertical launch of our ever-growing city.”

Hall’s work is driven by similar organic lines in vivid colors, often paired with a more chaotic wood grain that complements the evenness of the painted forms. In a video with Indiewalls, he works on a tornado-inspired piece and discusses the freedom of custom-cut wood panels — a luxury he didn’t have in planning his Natiivo mural. Still, he maintains some negative space at the top of the column that allows him to avoid the blocky form.

Each artist working on the Natiivo project will make a similar video explaining their design and execution processes, and discussing local inspiration throughout their work. The series breaks down specific works in context, taking a less-common narrative angle about where pieces end up once they’re finished. Hopefully, the series helps bring Texas works to a wider audience that may know nothing of the state or its artists.

Indiewalls is uploading videos to its YouTube channel one by one as the works go up and people start moving in to Natiivo.

Longtime downtown Austin sushi lounge closes permanently as high-rise moves in

Sad Sayonara

In news that will no doubt have longtime Austinites yearning for those big-fish-in-a-small-pond days of yore, a favorite downtown sushi spot has announced it will close at the end of this month to make way for one of the city’s tallest new high-rises.

Maiko Sushi Lounge, the popular East-meets-West sushi fusion joint that opened in 2005 at 311 W. Sixth St. and quickly became a downtown foodie hot spot, will close up shop October 27, a company rep tells CultureMap.

“I’m sad to announce that after 15-plus years, Maiko Sushi will officially close their doors on October 27th. So get your last fill of sake mac and cheese, maki rolls, yaki udon, or poke bowl. Happy hour, dine-in, and takeout services are available [during] regular hours,” says Larina Chen-Mehta, whose parents own Maiko.

The closing, Chen-Mehta confirms, is brought on by the development of a 60-story BBVA USA apartment and office tower, construction of which includes demolishing the nearly 100-year-old building that houses Maiko, thereby displacing the beloved eatery.

Chen-Mehta says she and her family had been “hoping they would be building retail in the new high-rise, but that is not the case,” and says there are no current plans to reopen Maiko in a new location, though Austinites can always hold out hope.

In its heyday, Maiko was nightly abuzz with local sushi lovers and happy hour devotees, many of them treating out-of-town visitors to the vibrant, fast-paced scene and exquisite and extensive menu of sushi specialties and fusion fare. (Anyone else get addicted to those tuna avocado nachos and Texas Monster rolls with tequila lime sauce?)

Maiko’s closure is one in a long line of well-loved local eateries that have shuttered (Las Manitas, Frank & Angie’s, Hut’s Hamburgers) to make way for a growing and reshaping Austin, though many locals wonder if that can be considered “progress.”

Local sushi lovers aren’t taking the closing news terribly well, with dozens of Maiko fans commenting and sharing their sadness on the restaurant’s Facebook page, and one poster even noting “it’s the only restaurant I can count on being great every time.”

Maiko Sushi will be open for the next two weeks, so roll on in while you still can. Check the restaurant’s website for any updates.

New owner checks in at highly acclaimed luxury hotel in downtown Austin

Proper sale

McWhinney, the Loveland, Colorado-based company behind the Hyatt Centric hotel under construction in downtown Austin, now owns another prime hotel property in the Capital City.

McWhinney, a real estate investor, developer, and manager, said September 27 that it purchased Austin Proper Hotel & Residences in Austin’s Second Street District. The sale price wasn’t disclosed. The seller was Goldman Sachs Asset Management, one of the world’s biggest investment managers.

Developed by the Santa Monica, California-based Kor Group, the 32-story Austin Proper opened in December 2019. It features 244 guest rooms, 98 condos, and more than 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space. It already has collected accolades from Conde Nast Traveler.

Highlights of Austin Proper include:

  • Fifth-floor pool.
  • Full-service Verbena spa.
  • Fitness center equipped with Peloton bikes.
  • Peacock Mediterranean Grill & Bar, The Mockingbird sidewalk café, poolside restaurant La Piscina, and Goldie’s Sunken Bar. McGuire Moorman Hospitality operates these four spots.

Santa Monica-based Proper Hospitality will keep managing the property.

“This new eclectic hotel has already become a top leisure destination for Austin, and we look forward to welcoming more guests while continuing to deliver strong results at this fantastic luxury property,” Dave Johnstone, executive vice president and chief investment officer for hospitality at McWhinney, says in a news release.

As McWhinney absorbs Austin Proper into its portfolio, it continues construction on its 31-floor, 246-room Hyatt Centric Austin at Eighth Street and Congress Avenue. The hotel is expected to open in early 2022.

“The purchase of Austin Proper is a perfect complement to the Hyatt Centric hotel that will open in 2022, giving McWhinney and our investors two of the premier hotel properties in one of the hottest hospitality markets in the country,” says Ray Pittman, president and CEO of McWhinney.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

The "world's rudest" diner is coming to Austin, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. A diner with the "world's rudest service" is coming to Austin...like, whenever. Karen’s Diner provides the worst service for the best experience, at least according to cheeky clientele who appreciate the campy comedy of a long-suffering server.

2. Award-winning New York pub brings Irish hospitality to Austin's Sixth Street. The Dead Rabbit pub is bringing Ireland to Texas, opening a new location in downtown Austin.

3. Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching Austin. The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1, and its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago.

4. 6 Austin restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. Austin restaurants and bars earned both national and regional recognition, with three national nominations and three nominations for Best Chef: Texas.

5. 2 Austin suburbs cash in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Lakeway has been renamed the fifth richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study, while Bee Cave moved from No. 13 in 2022 to No. 9 this year.

Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day

Sweet On You

Roses are red, violets are blue, and it's almost February, which means the season of love is upon us. Whether you're looking for the perfect Instagram backdrop or the perfect gift for your Galentine, Valentine — or just a treat for yourself — one particularly sweet collaboration has you covered.

Starting February 1, Austin's own Kendra Scott is partnering with the Museum of Ice Cream to "spread joy, inspire human connection, and reimagine the way we experience ice cream and jewelry just in time for Valentine’s Day," according to a release.

An extension of Scott's “Sweet on You” Valentine’s Day campaign, the partnership will feature an immersive, experiential retail component in the bustling Kendra Scott flagship location on South Congress, as well as a custom ice cream flavor, opportunities to give back, and more.

For an immersive retail experience, the event space at the flagship store will be transformed into a mini-Museum of Ice Cream appropriately dressed with bananas, baubles, and hearts galore. If you've never made it to the renowned museum housed at the Domain, this is your chance to get a literal taste of the experience, while shopping for trinkets and treasures at the same time.

Both companies prioritize giving back as key pillars of their brand, so it's only fitting that the duo will be surprising three schools in Austin, Chicago, and New York with February ice cream parties as part of their partnership. Children at participating schools will be able to enjoy the exclusive Kendra Scott x Museum of Ice Cream flavor while crafting their own Museum of Ice Cream cardboard truck. Each classroom will also receive an Amazon gift card to offset teaching supplies, and Kendra Scott will provide each student with a yellow rose to give alongside Valentine’s messages for their friends, family, teacher, or crush.

Taking place from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, a public event on Febuary 1 will formally celebrate the launch of the partnership. Guests will be able to check out the collaborative, immersive shopping experience while shopping Kendra Scott’s new Valentine's Day Collection, enjoying free ice cream and treats from the Museum of Ice Cream and the Sips & Sweets Café.

RSVP to the public event here, and start shopping the Valentine's Day collection here.

Texas-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

Awards News

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17