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Population in South and West on the Rise

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Texas, California, and Florida are leading in the population rise of the Southern and Western states that account for “more than 80 percent of new residents nationwide over the last three years.” California remains the most populous state with 38,332,521 residents, and Texas has held its number two spot with 26,448,193 residents. New York came in third with 19,651,127, however Florida is expected to surpass the Big Apple because its population is growing three times faster and it is less than 100,000 residents behind.

State officials are closely monitoring these numbers because population estimates determine the funding of various federal programs as well as the number of seats that each state holds in the House of Representatives. Texas has the potential to gain 3 congressional seats if the population continues to rise as it has in the last 3 years. Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado would each gain one seat which would result in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, West Virginia and Rhode Island losing one. The political clout of a state is largely determined by the “demographic contest”, so as long as population increases follow the recent trend, the spotlight will remain on the southwest.

Source: “Population rising faster in South and West, census data show” by Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times

 

Austin Real Estate Continues to Bring Bay Area Business

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Austin is in the spotlight for San Francisco real estate companies with a special interest in the tech industry. Drawbridge Realty Trust recently purchased StoneCreek Park, which is located on Duval Road, for $16.9 million. It is a “76,910 square-foot Class A office building with a life sciences bent.” This is not the company’s first purchase in the Austin area. Drawbridge Realty Trust also owns three other local buildings ranging from 12,000 to 118,000 square-feet, all of which are associated with the science, technology, engineering and mathematical fields. Todd Mills, executive vice president for CBRE Group Inc. says, “The reasoning is pretty clear. A lot of these companies only invest in tech markets, so they’ve been invested in Silicon Valley and see what’s happening in Austin.” Drawbridge is among four other major players in the industry from the Bay Area. As long as the Austin market continues to depend on the tech industry for growth, the interest and focus of San Francisco investors is expected to heighten.

 

Information Source:
Buccholz, Jan. “Bay Area continues to take bits of Austin.” Austin Business Journal 29 Nov. 2013: 7. Print.

Round Rock Welcomes In-N-Out to Central Texas

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The eagerly awaited moment has arrived: In-N-Out Burger opened in Round Rock on Tuesday, December 3rd and the response was nothing short of ecstatic. This is the first In-N-Out location in Central Texas to open its doors for business after the burger chain made their first Texas debut in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 2011. Long lines of people and cars offer a warm welcome to the family-owned business and are likely to continue until excitement calms. The expansion will not end here. Both Austin and Cedar Park are expected to have locations open by the first of the year, and San Antonio is rumored to be next in line.

Construction on MoPac to begin in December

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A two-year construction project on MoPac Expressway is scheduled to begin next month. The project will stretch from Cesar Chavez to Parmer Lane with the objective of adding one tolled express lane in each direction. The director of community relations for the MoPac Improvement Project, Steve Pustelnyk, has ensured that they are “going to be doing an extensive outreach effort to try and make sure the drivers know what we’re doing and when so they can avoid any issues.” Lane closure times have been limited to the window of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to minimize resident’s increase in commute times. Construction will begin between RM 2222 and US 183, and all sections will be under construction by Summer 2014. The $200 million project’s purpose is to provide reliable routes for high priority travel. The project is being funded by the Texas Transportation Commission.

Round Rock Economic Development Project Wins State Award

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The 2013 Community Economic Development Award has been given to the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership to recognize their success in bringing Cornerstone Healthcare Group to the community. The discussion for this development began in April of 2012 to address the need for quicker access to hospital care for Round Rock residents, and they broke ground on December 4th. “This hospital will continue the Round Rock brand of being associated with high quality medical care. The project demonstrates Round Rock’s continued focus on quality development,” said Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw. The nearly $20 million investment will provide a two-story, 55,000 square foot facility with 54 patient rooms, 12 high intensive care rooms, and 6 high-observation rooms. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on November 21st to celebrate the grand opening of the hospital.

Plans for Public Market in Downtown Austin

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Preliminary discussions focused on bringing a public market to downtown Austin modeled after Seattle’s Pike Place have begun. Buzz about the topic continues among city leaders as possibilities are discussed. Pike Place, opened in 1907, is a Seattle attraction that brings a large downtown crowd equivalent to that of both entertainment events and sports events combined. Austin’s TXP Inc. has suggested that this could be of great benefit to both the local economy and the food industry. Advocates of the project also argue that an added benefit of bringing a market of this scale to the downtown Austin area is increased access to healthy food, which will cater to Austin’s prominently health-conscious residents. The current focus of these preliminary discussions is determining the best way to finance and operate a market that will be functional and profitable in the city.

Hutto Installs New Mural

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A new mural featuring Hutto’s mascot, the hippo, is set to be installed in downtown Hutto by the end of this year. The purpose of the mural is to draw visitors to the city. The mural will  be painted by Suzanna Huser, a local artist. It will be displayed at 101 East Street and will also feature the city’s flower, the orange crush lily. “This mural will be the first public art piece to have done there, and we hope to attract visitors from Hwy. 79 to visit downtown and explore Hutto,” Hutto Downtown Manager Kim McAuliffe said. The mural is set to be finished on October 19th, just in time for Hutto Old Tyme Days. Work will begin this month.

Photo from City of Hutto.

New Land-use Codes in Progress for City of Austin

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Public opinion is being sought by the city of Austin as land-use codes are being rewritten. “A new code would seek to maintain the character of existing neighborhoods, integrate nature, create and expand housing choices and ensure efficient city services.” It is expected to take three years and up to $2 million to rewrite the code that will set the foundation for the Imagine Austin plan passed in June of last year. The future of residential and commercial development will be determined by these changes.

Business is Booming in Cedar Park

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Cedar Park is the fourth largest city in the Austin Metroplex with over 55,000 inhabitants. In the last 10 years, Cedar Park has grown over 400%. The city boasts a hill country view, family atmosphere, and less than a 20 mile commute to downtown Austin.

Currently, more than 12 projects are underway in Cedar Park. These include a new Wal-Mart Super Center and a Costco.
Local Austin businesses are also interested in opening new locations in the area.
Torchy’s Tacos opened a Cedar Park location in August 2013 and Alamo Drafthouse opened their Lakeline location in July 2013.

This economic growth is good news for both job seekers and employers.  “Our employment has grown since 2005, it’s gone from about 5,000 employees in the city to about 15,000 now,” said Larry Holt with Cedar Park Economic Development.

The city has also briefly mentioned redeveloping some of the older parts of Cedar Park along HWY 183.
They have created an online dialogue about the overall growth of the city at www.imaginecedarpark.com, where locals are encouraged to contribute to the conversation about “how Cedar Park looks and feels in the next 20 years.”

 

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