TRIBEZA Talk | July 2015

An Insider's Guide to Austin's Hidden Gems

Creating Public Art

“You have to think of public art as having some sort of permanence, it’s going to be there for quite a while,” Sun McColgin says. For over a decade he and wife, Ryah Christensen, have been creating work for private residences and public spaces throughout Austin.

“I always liked to make really large works,” Christensen says. Working in mosaic, Christensen designed a wall in the Spring Condominiums and earlier this year installed a piece in the Second Street District, which uses local limestone and glass to depict life along the Brazos River. McColgin created the mosaic "Urban Canyon" piece on Second Street, though he often works in metal, creating sculptures like the steel "Invisible Womb" for a Lake Austin residence.

In May, the couple was commissioned to create a piece for Eilers Park near Deep Eddy pool. “It’s part of this magical place that’s been used by people for 100 years, and hopefully some of that will come through,” Christensen says. For more information, visit 1180pandora.com.

On a Roll

Even if you’re not headed to the East Coast this summer, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a taste of New England. Since first launching Garbo’s as a food truck specializing in lobster rolls in 2013, Heidi Garbo expanded into the brick-and-mortar space with her Wells Branch restaurant last year and in May added on a wine and oyster bar. With the addition of the new space, Garbo also launched a Sunday brunch menu including poached eggs and wild Maine blueberry pancakes. “We’re in the middle of a neighborhood,” Garbo says. “It’s nice to have something that people can bike to on a Sunday morning for brunch around here.”

You can also get your seafood fix at Wonderland on East Sixth Street, where one of Garbo’s trucks took up residence in June serving spicy scallop tacos and fried clam fritters. “It’s funny how this cuisine — especially lobster rolls — is pretty nostalgic,” Garbo says. “It’s really gratifying because I like Austin, it’s my home now, but I’ll always miss New England a little bit.”

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View from the Top

On Highway 71, about 30 miles west of downtown Austin, in between a bend in the Pedernales River, you’ll find something you may have only dreamed of as a kid: a spacious treehouse. The Lofthaven II, one of four treehouses operated by Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, is a bedroom built for two around the trunk of a cypress tree. Suspended 35 feet in the air, the furnished room was designed for a romantic getaway, with a 60-foot long bridge connecting it to a bathhouse with a built-in waterfall. Relying on the shade of the trees to keep it cool (there’s no A/C), there is electricity and lighting; the comforts of home even in the tree tops.

A New View: Austin's Changing Style

With a host of new residential towers slated to be built, here’s a look at the future of the Austin skyline.

  • The Independent, 301 West Ave. Set to open in 2018, the staggered white tower is expected to be Austin’s tallest building with 58 stories containing 370 condo units. Construction should begin this fall.
  • Seventy Rainey Residences, 70 Rainey St. With 164 residences, this condo building incorporates the outdoors with vertical gardens climbing up the lower floors of the building’s base and an infinity pool overlooking Lady Bird Lake.
  • Waller Park Place, Red River at Cesar Chavez. Part of a two million square foot project next to the Austin Convention Center, this 46-story condo building will be one of the development’s three towers, including an office building and mixed-use space.
  • Skyhouse, 51 Rainey St. This 23-story apartment building includes 320 units, a rooftop deck and pool, and Rainey Street outposts for Salvation Pizza and Royal Blue Grocery.
  • Seaholm Residences, 222 West Ave. Part of the public-private repurposing of the Seaholm Power Plant, this 30-story high rise boasts 280 residences (all under contract), a 10th floor skydeck, and easy access to Trader Joe’s, Austin Music Hall, and the Second Street District.
  • 5th & Brazos, Fifth Street at Brazos. Under development from TBG Partners and the Magellan Development Group, this mixed-use tower will include 329 apartments, 333 hotel rooms, and two restaurants.
  • Seven, 615 W. Seventh St. The 220 one-and two-bedroom luxury apartments in this 24-story building have views of downtown Austin, access to a sun deck, and a short walk to the bars and restaurants on West Sixth Street.
  • The Residences At Austin Proper Hotel, San Antonio Street at Cesar Chavez. Part of the redevelopment of the Green Water Treatment Plant, the 35-story tower is set to open in 2017 with 120 residences, 250 hotel rooms, and two rooftop pools. Designed by Handel Architects, who worked on NYC’s National September 11 Memorial and the Trump SoHo Hotel.

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