Stories by Chad Swiatecki

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…

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City seeks input on vision, plans for downtown’s Palm District

Residents can begin offering their thoughts to the city about the future use and look of the Palm District, a section of downtown that features historic structures and is surrounded by rapid growth and development. The city will hold a…

Monday, May 3, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Prop E approval OKs ranked-choice voting, with legal questions ahead

Austin voters came out in favor of a new system for conducting local contested elections beginning in 2022, though how or if that change will be made appears unclear. Proposition E was approved 87,516 to 63,510 on Saturday, with nearly…

Friday, April 30, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

EDC eyes push to make more city properties available for music, arts uses

The city’s new economic development corporation will make a push this summer to identify city properties that could be repurposed into music venues or creative spaces, and has started to assemble the financial models for creating two arts spaces in…

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown Commission objects to proposed state rollback of city sound ordinance

The Downtown Commission is the latest city body to formally object to a proposed state law that would invalidate most of Austin’s noise ordinance and make it legal for bars and clubs to generate loud music until 2 a.m. seven…

Friday, April 23, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Foundation Communities gets $1.5M, seeks more to fund affordable housing projects

A pair of affordable housing apartment complexes from Foundation Communities have received $1.5 million in subsidies to help pay for their construction costs and cover part of a remaining fundraising gap. Wells Fargo and the Federal Home Loan Bank of…

Thursday, April 22, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Downtown leaders map out pandemic recovery amid construction boom

Downtown Austin leaders painted a mixed but promising picture of the city’s core on Wednesday, with large-scale construction projects accelerating and helping the area shake off the slowdown of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Downtown Austin Alliance presented its annual State…

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