Katherine Jones, Founder of Milkshake Media, is upset. Today, she wants City Council not to approve a 400 foot skyscraper to be built across the street from the historic home that houses her creative agency, on the corner of West Seventh and Rio Grande. The developer is Dallas based CLB Partners. "Creating a 400 foot skyscraper in the middle of the Original City Neighborhood goes against every principal of Urban Planning" she says. In protest, artists cloaked her building in black.
The idea is that skyscrapers belong in the Central Business District. Lower structures belong in what are called Downtown Mixed Use Districts, such as the Original City Neighborhood, which are limited to 120 feet. According to Jones, City Council has commissioned ROMA Design Group to develop a plan for the Original City Neighborhood. "The developer asking for a zoning change will create a precedent that will render ROMA's future plan useless. That's a $600,000 waste of taxpayer's money" explains Jones.
Opposition to the zoning change is being fueled by Austin, Draw the Line: Austinites for the Responsible Planning of the Original City Neighborhood.
The new building will be built where the existing Ranch 616 restaurant is located. According to Jones, the developer has plans to build around Ranch 616, but only if they get their 400 feet. "In effect, they're saying, '400 feet or we kill the Ranch,'" says Jones.
City Council is voting on the zoning ordinance February 15th.
This is being viewed as a test case for appropriate growth. Previously, I wrote about a similar case where neighbors are protesting a large Wal-mart planned for Northcross Mall. There, Dallas-based Lincoln Properties will be developing a 200,000 square foot Wal-mart, which neighbors say is too big. Responsible Growth for Northcross held a protest last Saturday where 3,000 people encircled Northcross Mall.
According to city records, the following people and business are for and against the project.
[These list for and against the proposed 7th & Rio Grande project were updated on 2/15 at noon, per Katherine Jones' request. Jones says 800 letters have been sent from the Austin, Draw the Line Website to City Council. They did not appear at the time of this update. For the complete list of letters in support and against from the City's files, please go here.--JG]
Austin Women's Club
Marijean Tritle, President
Mary Ann Golden (Strategic & Long Range Planning, AWC).
Heritage Society of Austin
Jack M. Wilhelm
Greater Central Texas Council of the Navy League
Ben Proctor (nearby property owner)
Sara Carter, CFO
Brian Auderer, Sr. Designer
John Long, Writer
Gray Luckett, Designer
Allyson Black, Account Mgr.
Mitzi Gobbi, Office Manager
David Cleaves, Account Director
Kata Bates, Account Director
Judges Hill Neighborhood Association
Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association
Old Austin Neighborhood Association
West End Austin Alliance
Five Rivers Neighborhood Association
Pecan Street Property Owners Association
Ehrlich Commecial Real Estate Limited Partnership (owner of the property next door).
Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association
Lowa, Ltd.(owns property in the same block)
Kevin Williamson - Ranch 616
The Khabele School
Montwalk Holdings, Ltd. (owns property on the next block)
Old Austin Realtor
North University Neighborhood Association
Paul Parson's, P.C. (originally opposed until talking with Michael J. McGinnis)
Robinson-Macken House L.P.
Urbanaxis Mortgage/ Urbanspace Realtors
Joe's Bar and Grill
Citygroup Smith Barney
Burks Digital Reprographics
Wahoo's Fish Tacos
The Rasmus Firm
Austin Women's Club Past President and Past Building Committe Chairman
Winstead, Sechrest & Minick
Richard B. Geiger
The Austin Wine Merchant
Joash Enterprises, Inc.
Waterloo Restaurant Group
Waterloo Records & Video, Inc.
Amelang parnters, Inc.
Central Austin Planning Area Committee
Rio Grande Street Partners, L.P.
The Edward Joseph Companies
Miller Blueprint Company
Heritage Title Company of Austin, Inc.
Melissa J. Martin
Jerry and Barbara Carlson
J. Scott Loras
C. Ryan Nail
Fred & Mariel Falbo
Bryan R. Cary
Sharon Wade Shoop
Andrews Urban LLC