Work starts on future light-rail lines

The city began preliminary work on two new light-rail routes—the Orange and Blue Lines—part of the Project Connect transportation package voters approved last November. Workers have taken soil samples from under Lady Bird Lake, where a bridge will be built for the Blue Line, and from under Guadalupe Street, which will run above an underground rail tunnel. Capital Metro has conducted a survey of heritage trees along the routes and is now overseeing archeological and environmental assessments in the areas planned for new rail as it works to attain federal regulatory approval. The new routes are projected to open in 2029. (KUT)

Dell named founding partner for UT basketball arena replacing Erwin Center 

Named after a University of Texas regent and possible enemy of trees, the school’s Frank C. Erwin Jr Special Events Center is slated for replacement by the Moody Center, which will be the new home of UT basketball games as well as large touring events and other school functions. The new Moody Center gets its name from the serial philanthropists at the Moody Foundation, which donated the University of Texas’ largest gift to date ($130 million). Thursday saw the announcement of another familiar name to be added to the complex, which broke ground in 2019: Dell Technologies will be the venue’s premier founding partner. The company, based in Round Rock, secured naming rights to both a Dell Technologies Plaza outside the new building and a 1,000-person space within to be dubbed the Dell Technologies Club. Architecture firm Gensler, which is partnered with developers Oak View Group, CAA ICON, Live Nation, and C3 on the building. The Moody Center does not yet have an opening date scheduled. (Austin Business Journal)

Is it the Dell Zephyr?
In the supercute-news-about-an-iconic-Austin-thing category this week: The 
Austin Parks Foundation revealed the new name and design of the kids’ train formerly known as the Zilker Zephyr on Friday. The former operators of the mini-train (located in its eponymous park, of course) shut it down in 2019 due to storm damage and issues with the Austin Parks Department. The new version is meant to look like a 1940s passenger train. It will be electrically powered and fully accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The exterior was designed by local firm Frank and Victor, and, yes, it’s a tie-dye pattern. The Austin Parks Foundation held a live press conference at the train’s “depot” and on its Instagram feed) to announce its choice of monikers from candidates including the Armadillo Express, the Bluebonnet Express, Edwina Justus (after the first Black female engineer for Union Pacific Railroad), the Lady Bird Flyer, the Moontower Rambler, and the Zilker Zante (the Spanish word for “grackle.” The name that won out in the end, though, is the Zilker Eagle—licensed from the original train owners, who christened it thus upon its maiden journey around the park in 1951. (Austin Parks Foundation, @austinparksfdn)

City gets 6 bids to redevelop vacant Home Depot property; building ‘not habitable’ for homeless housing (KXAN)

First look: Deloitte completes new Music Lane office (Austin Business Journal)

City pulls plug on westward expansion for Austin Convention Center (Austin American-Statesman)

City Council OKs shifting hundreds of jobs, range of admin duties out of Austin Police Department (Community Impact)