It’s the last day of 2013, and what sort of blog would we be if we didn’t go out with a bang and a list? In 2013, countless construction cranes infiltrated the Austin skyline. Whether you love the change or you hate it, it’s clear that construction is booming in this great town of ours.
Here are just a few of some of the most significant construction and transportation projects that were announced and/or broke ground this year:
Speaking of cranes, the Seaholm Redevelopment project saw a crane pop up in mid-November after breaking ground this spring. It makes a lot of sense for construction to move quickly on this huge project, as the residences are already fully reserved, according to the project website, with an opening date around June 2015. In addition to the condos, the mixed-use development features a plaza, restaurant and retail tenants, offices, and Trader Joe’s; much of this two-story retail section should be completed by summer 2014.
Bike Sharing & the “MoPacalypse”
B-Cycle, Austin’s first bike-sharing program, officially launched on December 21, just squeaking in at the end of the year. 11 downtown stations are just the first step in the process, as 2014 will see more stations in a variety of locations open up, giving Austinites and visitors more transportation options.
Another important transportation construction project broke ground on October 18; the Mopac Express Lanes are designed to relieve traffic congestion on one of Austin’s most frequented roadways, bringing toll lanes to an 11-mile stretch of the road.
The Office Market Is Back
June 4 was not only a gorgeous, sunny day in Austin, but it also marked the groundbreaking of the Colorado Tower, the 29-story downtown office building at 3rd and Colorado. In addition to the office space there will be 6,000 square feet of retail & restaurant space and a 600-car parking garage. The tower is set to open in late 2014.
In addition to Colorado Tower, more office space is coming to the CBD thanks to the IBC Bank Plaza and the aforementioned Seaholm project.
COTA and the Austin 360 Ampitheater
Although the Circuit of the Americas opened its doors in 2012, the Austin 360 Amphitheater opened this April as Kenny Chesney brought his “No Shoes Nation” tour through Austin. The amphitheater is part of COTA’s strategy to diversify its income during the year. The 14,000 capacity venue has hosted such artists as Maroon 5, Iron Maiden, Jimmy Buffet, Mumford and Sons, and Lil Wayne, giving Austin a world-class venue with a variety of acts.
Auditorium Shores and the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk
Another controversial project closed out the last few weeks of the year, as the Austin Parks and Rec Department began construction on the Auditorium Shores Improvements on December 20. The project will see the popular spot closed off in shifts, starting with the West Lawn then moving to the East Lawn and the Off-Leash Area. The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail will remain open during construction, though visitors should be aware of potential detours.
Speaking of the Hike and Bike Trail, construction is still underway on the Lady Bird Lake Boarwalk which will complete a 1.3-mile section of the trail over the water on the south side of the river.
But Wait, There’s More!
Though construction hasn’t yet started, we’d be remiss not to mention some of the biggest construction announcements that happened this year, including the highly controversial #TacoPUD approval, plans for Waller Park Place and Trinity Tower, the drastically changing face of Rainey Street, and of course the hotel boom that is currently underway.
In addition, the Red River area near the UT campus will start looking very different as the school begins developing a medical district and medical school, a project they formally announced in May. Once the three phases of the project are complete, the area will likely be unrecognizable, with Brackenridge demolished for a new teaching hospital and the Erwin Center eventually being relocated.
What was your favorite project groundbreaking, completion, or announcement from 2013? Leave your comments below and let us know!