Austin Texas Team Real Estate Blog

head_left_image

The history of Austin's skyscrapers yesterday and today.

Now skyscrapers are an everyday sight in Austin Texas, but it was not always so. Construction of Austin's first Austin skyscraper began in early 1910. The building was built by E.M. Scarbourough at the southwest corner of Congress Avenue and 6th Street. The building had eight stories, which seems minuscule by today's standards. This type of construction was so new, that they felt the need to have the Austin American Statesman write an article to explain how it could be so tall and not cave in.

The new Littlefield building claimed the title of tallest downtown building the very next year in 1911. The Littlefield building was constructed on the northeast corner of Congress and Sixth Street as a business and personal residence for Mr. Littlefield. The construction was truly custom as everything was made to order in the structure. It should be noted there was not a single stick of wood used in the buildings framework or walls, it was all steel. The building even had a sub cellar for storage and a rooftop garden! The building was considered cutting edge at the time it was built.

There were more tall buildings built between the 1930-1980's but none of them were history making buildings. After the building boom and bust of the 1980's the next serious round of skyscrapers started in the 1990's and has not stopped yet.

The most controversial of those newer buildings was the Frost Bank Tower. Frost Bank's new tower caused a lot of protest and conversation before they even began construction in November 2001. People said it would alter our skyline and be an eyesore. Personally I like the Frost Bank Tower and feel that it adds something special to our night skyline. All the glass and steel crystal points look impressive. It looks like a building from the set of a Superman movie. It was the very first high rise to start construction after the Sept 11th attack.  It was planned to be 352 feet tall, but it ended up being 315'9" tall with 33 floors. It won the Emporis Award for best skyscraper of the year in 2004 and the Austin Chronicle Award for best Building in 2004. Many claim it appears to resemble an owl (the Rice University mascot and UT rival) from the corners, which may or may not annoy some UT alumni. My dad graduated from Rice, while I went to UofH and UT so I guess you could say I have mixed feelings.

frost

There used to be an ordinance or building restriction to prevent anyone from building anything tall enough to obstruct an existing home owner's view of the State Capital. Somehow in the drive to bring condos downtown that rule was cast aside in the name of progress. I was sorry to see it go and still mourn its passing. I used to enjoy sitting on the back deck and seeing the orange glow of the UT tower next to the Capital, but those days are long gone unless you live in one of the new high-rise condos.

There are more and more buildings reaching for the Austin skyline these days. Some of the newcomers to forever alter our skyline are: The Monarch, The Spring, The Austonian, The W, and the 360 Condos, just to name a few. The Frost Bank Building is now virtually dwarfed in comparison to the newest additions to downtown. See this rendering of downtown to see the radical changes in our skyline. I am ready for this condo construction to stop, personally I would like to be able to recognize my hometown next year. I am sure next year I can add to this blog with a few more buildings that will be even taller than these. So keep your eyes open!

downtown Austin

 

 

If you are in the market for a home in Austin and are not presently working with a Realtor, please call me. I would be happy to assist you with the process of buying a house or condo. I specialize in Relocation and I have a network of experts to make the process easy to navigate. I look forward to the opportunity to earn your business.

Betina
Foreman, Realtor

Keller Williams Real Estate 1801 S. Mopac, Suite 100  Austin, Texas 78746   512-771-6318  BetinaForemanRealtor@yahoo.com   Betina@KW.com   www.ZilkerParkHomes.com

Member: Austin Board of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, ActiveRain, Trulia-Top Voices, and Zillow-Neighborhood Pros.

 

Comment balloon 3 commentsBetina Foreman • June 26 2009 01:53PM
The history of Austin's skyscrapers yesterday and today.
share
Now skyscrapers are an everyday sight in Austin Texas, but it was not always so. Construction of Austin's first Austin skyscraper began in early 1910. The building was built by E. M. Scarbourough at the southwest corner of Congress Avenue and 6th… more
Do you have a screenwriter? Why not hire a director as well? Avoiding…
share
I don't profess to be a technology or social media guru, but I will say that I have been immersed in this stuff for a couple of years, so I certainly have developed my own set of opinions on what works and what doesn't. That being said, one of the… more
New Hospitals in Lakeway to serve far west Travis county and Lake…
share
Lakeway is getting a new hospital!! They just announced that the "Lakeway Regional Medical Center" will be built by a private development company called… what else the "Lakeway Regional Medical Center Development, LLC"… more
Are you curious to see the results of the Austin Energy Audits??
share
Recently I wrote a blog about the new Austin Energy Audits This audit must be performed on all "re-sale" homes in Austin The only exempt homes are those built in the last ten years, or homes that have participated in the Austin Energy… more
THINGS I LEARNED FROM BEING RAISED IN TEXAS
share
ALTHOUGH I WASN'T BORN IN TEXAS IT IS MY ADOPTED HOME NOW AND I TRULY LOVE IT HERE, I CAN ATTEST THAT THESE ARE FACTUAL STATEMENTS. THINGS I LEARNED FROM BEING RAISED IN TEXAS Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with their feet… more
Energy conservation tips to save money around your home
share
Now that summer is upon us with the 100+ degree days smothering Austin in the oppressive heat, I thought it was a good time to share some tips to conserve energy For most Texans the cost to cool and (briefly) heat our homes is the number one home… more
What does it mean to be "off the grid"?
share
Have you ever considered what it means to "be off the grid"? Most of us try to save energy by cutting off lights when we leave a room or turning the thermostat up when we leave the house. Have you ever considered actually firing the… more
Bridges at Bear Creek has more amazing south Austin homes under…
share
As a Shady Hollow resident Realtor I stay on top of the new construction in my south Austin neighborhood. Marbridge Farms sold some of their land last fall to a few distinguished builders. The latest builders to enter this area are: Mercedes… more
30% off, Zillow admits they are not accurate in Austin Texas and…
share
Zillow is engaged in conversation with Sky Realty Austin, President, Curtis Reddehase about the fact that Sky Realty office is no longer syndicating listings to Zillow and like minded sites. Following is the letter that a Zillow representative… more
New Gabardine neighborhood just south of Shady Hollow-News from your…
share
The Shady Hollow neighborhood has had a loyal following of longtime fans. There has been no shortage of builders hoping to capitalize on that. The latest is a combined effort from Momark Development and Benchmark Development called The Gabardine. … more