Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown shootings bring plans to address violent crimes

Just over a month since a mass shooting incident on East Sixth Street killed one person and injured more than a dozen, the state of downtown safety is receiving special attention in a pair of public sessions offering differing views…

Tuesday, July 27, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Panelists tout benefits of growing use of public-private partnerships

With real estate prices rising and land availability becoming more scarce throughout Central Texas, local governments and public institutions are finding more opportunities to consider public-private partnerships as a way to maximize the use of public land. While the Mueller…

Friday, July 23, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Convention center plans meet resistance from Downtown Commission skeptics

The Downtown Commission will consider asking City Council not to move forward with any new plans to expand the Austin Convention Center, with commission members asking city staff for more information to justify the project. Staffers gave an update on…

Thursday, July 22, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Greystar/HACA proposal recommended for redevelopment of Home Depot site

City staffers have recommended moving forward with a proposal from Greystar Development and the Housing Authority of the City of Austin for the redevelopment of the 19-acre East Austin site best known as the home of a long-closed and decaying…

Monday, July 19, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Proposed live music grants could fund hundreds of concerts

The city is seeking feedback in the initial guidelines for the long-planned Live Music Fund, which would provide hundreds of grants of up to $10,000 for independent musicians and promoters to create new concerts and festivals throughout the city. Total…

Thursday, July 15, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City opens $2M grant program to assist creative sector nonprofits

The city has spun up another emergency relief program for arts organizations, with $2 million in federal aid available for nonprofit groups connected to local arts and cultural communities. The Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant will provide 100 grants…

Friday, July 2, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City eyes two sites as finalists for homeless encampments

Two pieces of city-owned property have been identified as potential sites for homeless encampments, with an analysis of possible zoning issues preceding the disclosure of where the sites are located. The estimated cost of preparing the sites with the utilities…

Friday, June 25, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Developers, planners key to housing the city’s homeless population

City and nonprofit leaders tasked with helping the city’s growing homeless population see a need for short-term temporary housing and longer-term planning strategies that will make it easier to build homes and provide services for those in need. The ongoing…

Tuesday, June 22, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown Commission eyes housing, other details on HealthSouth redevelopment

Members of the Downtown Commission expressed some concern last week that the ongoing negotiations over the redevelopment of the former HealthSouth property downtown could result in a project that doesn’t meet the expectations of City Council or the community as…

Monday, June 21, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Council OKs new direction on convention center reconstruction

The city will move ahead with another attempt to remake the Austin Convention Center, following the decision in April to abandon a planned westward expansion and reconstruction that would have been completed in two phases. Earlier this month City Council…

Thursday, June 17, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

With Council approval, new EDC moves forward

City Council has approved the interlocal agreement that will allow the newly created Austin Economic Development Corporation to begin conducting its business, which will be focused around real estate projects addressing affordability and gentrification concerns. The unanimous vote last week…

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Complaint against Harper-Madison ruled out of ethics commission’s jurisdiction

Ethics violations against Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison were found to be outside the purview of the city’s Ethics Review Commission last week, marking the second time in two months the commission has failed to move forward with a complaint…

Monday, June 14, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Settlement leads to dismissal of Ethics Review case against Save Austin Now

The Ethics Review Commission voted last week to dismiss the complaint pursued for eight months against the Save Austin Now nonprofit, after the initial complainant withdrew his charge as part of a settlement agreement he reached with the group. Political…

Friday, June 11, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Local leaders see pandemic, winter storm as openings for economic opportunities

Local leaders say the past 15 months of Austin’s history have been a test for how the city can best serve the people and businesses that are most at risk as growth changes the economics and character of Central Texas.…

Thursday, June 10, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Emergency funding for musicians, creatives waiting on Council, staff action

City staffers expect to have initial guidelines next month for how to spend money in the city’s Live Music Fund, part of a series of spending programs to aid local creatives in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. This week…

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Report pushes local philanthropies to help solve housing crisis

Austin Community Foundation is encouraging local philanthropic organizations to get more involved in addressing the housing affordability crisis in Central Texas, considered the root cause of the area’s growing homeless population. A recently released report, “Housing Affordability in Central Texas,”…

Friday, May 14, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Public, Council members push for new emergency plan after winter storm

The head of the city’s new task force examining the impact of Winter Storm Uri says the city must create an updated and far more robust emergency response plan. Sareta Davis, chair of the Winter Storm Review Task Force, also…

Thursday, May 13, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Tourism Commission recommendations include gondolas funded by hotel tax

A transit system geared toward tourists, paying Austin musicians to promote local tourism, and a variety of programming and promotional efforts for historic sites are among a new batch of recommended uses for the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax dollars. This…

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown vacancies eyed for arts activations, tenants with new pilot program

Vacant storefronts in downtown Austin could become temporary homes for arts and creative organizations beginning this summer thanks to a pilot program under development by the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation. The foundation is currently working on a lease agreement with…

Thursday, May 6, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Working-class housing fund eyes more acquisitions as demand, cost pressures grow

An investment fund focused on preserving working-class housing in Austin is nearing its first property acquisition of 2021, and moving ahead with its reactivation after the slowdown in 2020 caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Austin Housing Conservancy Fund is…

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