City aims to get out of its own way with ‘fast-track’ permitting for Project Connect rail lines "An ordinance aimed at streamlining permitting for Project Connect has been making its way through boards and commissions in recent weeks – the latest sign of progress toward new rail and bus lines approved by voters in 2020." (Jonathan Lee, Austin Monitor)

Zoning change could mean taller towers in North Austin "Austin City Council approved changes to the rules for what's known as the North Burnet/Gateway Zoning District, increasing the maximum building height to 420 feet, with a development bonus, instead of 308 feet. They also modified the maximum floor-to-area ratio in the commercial mixed use-gateway zone subdistrict. The change modifies the maximum floor-to-area ratio, or FAR, with from 8:1 to 12:1 with a development bonus." (Mike Christen, Austin Business Journal)

Austin school district predicts millions in savings from bond modernizations "The Austin district could save almost 30%, about $6 million, of its annual utility costs if all the bond projects win approval, according to the district. The massive bond package has upgrades that district officials hope will improve the learning environment for students and cut maintenance costs, savings that could be used to pay employees higher salaries." (Keri Heath, Austin American-Statesman)

Inside Victory Plaza, a Modernist Office for the Modern Austin on Burnet Road "Victory Plaza, an office building by local firm Elevate Development Partners now under construction at 5209 Burnet Road, responds to a challenging three-acre site with impressive poise in its design from architecture studio Runa Workshop." (James Rambin, Towers)

Austin officials set new eviction, organizing protections for city renters "Austin leaders voted to establish new protections for renters aimed at staving off evictions and displacement, and allowing apartment complex residents to organize with their fellow tenants. The rewrites to portions of city rental property code apply to a majority of the city's housing space. According to 2020 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, 54.49% of all units in Austin are renter-occupied." (Ben Thompson, Community Impact)

Council considers Colony Park TIRZ ahead of expected approval "City Council appears ready to move forward next week with the creation of a property tax mechanism that will bring more than $80 million over 20 years to the Colony Park development in East Austin. The [tax increment reinvestment zone] will capture property taxes generated by the development of the 258-acre site, which is planned to eventually include more than 1,900 market-rate and affordable homes and apartments, mixed-use retail, office and institutional space, and 53 acres of open space." (Chad Swiatecki, Austin Monitor)

As Argo AI shuts down, will its driverless technology leave Austin's streets? "Argo AI, a technology company that has been testing its driverless car platoform in Austin, is shutting down. The Pittsburgh-based company has been operating in Central Texas since 2019 in partnership with Ford Motor Company. Ford has been deploying prototypes in Austin to establish the city as a proving ground for autonomous vehicle technology." (Kara Carlson, Austin American-Statesman)

Texas remains a hot spot for international homebuyers, shows new report "The Texas International Homebuyers Report, released this month by Texas Realtors, shows that Texas remains the third hottest U.S. destination for international homebuyers. The Lone Star State comes in behind Florida and California." (Arden Ward, CultureMap Austin)