Council renews city support for East Austin's African American cultural district "After several last-minute edits, a resolution calling for the city to reaffirm and expand on its designation of an African American Cultural Heritage District in East Austin was unanimously passed by City Council Sept. 2. The resolution sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Natasha Harper-Madison includes direction for City Manager Spencer Cronk to more visibly highlight the district in city documents and in public. On that front, city maps will be updated to note the district's place in the city; new public art, signage and other features will be added throughout the area; and the city will seek formal historic designations for the area's cultural and historical landmarks." (Ben Thompson, Community Impact)

Office redevelopment at Fair Market site secures first rezoning vote "Another addition to fast-growing East Austin is on the horizon. ... [P]lans are in the works to replace the Fair Market event venue at 1108 E. Fifth St. with a six-story office building with ground-floor retail. Fair Market owner 11E5 LLC and Endeavor Real Estate Group are the co-developers. Now Austin City Council is weighing whether to grant a height increase for the site. The development team wants a zoning change for the building, which is just south of a designated 'activity corridor' along Seventh Street, in order to build 85 feet high instead of 60." (Parimal M. Rohit, Austin Business Journal)

Austin ranks No. 2 among most overvalued housing markets in the U.S. "We all know that the Austin housing market is hot. But a new study suggests it’s entirely too hot. A data analysis by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University shows Austin ranks second among the most overvalued metro home markets in the country. Based on past pricing, homes in the Austin area are selling for 50.72 percent more than they should, the study says." (John Egan, CultureMap Austin)

A South Congress Mixed-Use Project Builds on the Legacy of Hill’s Cafe "The 2018 closure of Hill’s Cafe, a longtime South Austin staple for chicken fried steaks and live music with roots on South Congress Avenue dating back to 1947, served as yet another indicator that the city’s dense development was boldly venturing south of Highway 290, anchored by the nearby St. Elmo district’s ongoing transformation from industrial neighborhood to trendier industrial neighborhood. But the mixed-use project announced three years ago replacing the cafe atop its sprawling 14-acre property at 4700 South Congress Avenue ultimately fell through, which ended up being a pretty good deal for the ghost of Hill’s Cafe — an all-new plan for the site by local developers the Sutton Company now hopes to bring the restaurant back." (James Rambin, Towers)

Austin City Council pushes back on I-35 plans that could raze dozens of properties "The Austin City Council is pushing back on the latest plans for the expansion of Interstate 35, which indicate that dozens of properties abutting the highway could be displaced by the multibillion-dollar project. Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Transportation released design plans that would require between 30 acres and 32 acres of land acquisition to expand the highway. That could displace between 142 and 147 properties, according to TxDOT. They are nearly evenly split between residential and business properties." (Phil Jankowski, Austin American-Statesman)

Capital Metro Slashes Bus Frequency Amid Driver Shortage "Capital Metro will reduce frequency on 17 bus routes and suspend a late-night bus service for UT students as the transit agency struggles to hire enough drivers and mechanics. Starting Sept. 19, buses that normally come every 10 to 12 minutes may run every 15 minutes. Other routes will have service cut from every 15 minutes to twice an hour. Some routes will be affected only on weekends, and MetroRapid service will be cut only at night." (Nathan Bernier, KUT)

Travis County seeks aid from city of Austin to disburse rental assistance as federal clock ticks "Travis County commissioners voted this week to seek aid from the city of Austin in disbursing federal rent assistance funds ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline. At an Aug. 31 meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court, county staff described a race to pay out 65% of its total roughly $10.7 million allocation from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 before the end of the month. If that goal is not met, any unspent funds will have to be returned to the federal government." (Olivia Aldridge, Community Impact)

Austin at Large: Days Seem Harder and Meaner "In the throes of a noisy, painful week when the ugliest people in Texas saw their darkest fantasies come true, Austin Mayor Steve Adler spent the better part of an hour on Monday bringing you the good news about where you live now. And even as Adler, in his penultimate State of the City address, dipped his toe into the clear, cold springs of Austin exceptionalism – 'We are a city where people genuinely care. This is what is so magical about our city.' – he also brought some salt and heat. The wowser stats and positive performance indicators and checked-off action items that make 'the state of our city ... the strongest in the country,' he noted, came in the face of disastrous adversity as well as pathological hatred from the leaders of the state of which we are the capital and, increasingly, from within our own confines. 'Our sense of community is at risk,' Adler said. 'Our days seem harder and meaner, and far too many of us feel overcome with weariness and emotional fatigue. We're tired and we've had enough.' Preach!" (Mike Clark-Madison, Austin Chronicle)