Business


2 years after demolition, Jumpolin piñata store returns to East Austin

Jumpolin, the piñata store whose demolition two years ago sparked protests and debate about gentrification’s effects on East Austin neighborhoods, officially reopened Tuesday at a new location, one mile east from where the old one once stood. The store, which is now at 2605 E. Cesar Chavez St., will have a grand opening ceremony on Aug. 19, but the location is serving customers now, said...


PEC director disputes claim that ‘retaliation’ led CEO to resign

PEC director disputes claim that ‘retaliation’ led CEO to resign

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative board member at the center of controversy regarding his racially tinged Facebook post last November said Monday that there was never any retaliation against co-op employees who complained about it, contradicting allegations from the utility’s former chief executive before he resigned in protest in May and received $1.1 million in separation pay. James Oakley...
George Strait, Ed Sheeran among guests at Louis Messina’s 70th bash

George Strait, Ed Sheeran among guests at Louis Messina’s 70th bash

Christine Messina knows a thing or two about staging events. So when her husband, music Austin titan  Louis Messina, turned the big seven-oh, she knew just what to do. She threw a tuneful party at Arlyn Studios and made sure that every detail, down to a fantasy candy counter, sang. Beau Bedford, Louis Messina and Shakey Graves at Messina’s 70th birthday party. Contributed...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

UT STUDY UT System graduates earn more, but major and campus matters, study finds: Workers who received bachelor’s degrees from University of Texas System schools tend to earn more than their peers who graduated from other Texas or U.S. universities, with choice of major exerting the most influence on future earnings, according to a study released last week. Researchers at the Georgetown University...

Up the Ladder

Health care Ascension Healthcare has named Craig Cordola senior vice president of Ascension Healthcare and ministry market executive for Ascension Texas. Ascension operates the Seton Healthcare Family, including Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Law firms Peckar & Abramson has named Karla Pascarella partner in its Austin office. Title companies Stewart Title of Austin has named...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Audi to update 850,000 cars as diesel recalls widen

AUTOMAKERS Audi to update 850,000 cars as diesel recalls widen BERLIN — German automaker Audi says it will fit up to 850,000 diesel cars with new software to improve their emissions performance, following a similar move by rival Daimler as the auto industry tries to get ahead of public controversy over the technology. Audi, the luxury brand of the Volkswagen Group, announced the voluntary retrofitting...
EXCLUSIVE: Another high-rise set for Austin’s Rainey Street district

EXCLUSIVE: Another high-rise set for Austin’s Rainey Street district

Amid continued demand for downtown living, an Austin developer plans to build a residential high-rise in the Rainey Street area where a number of apartment and condominium projects have risen over the past decade. The project is proposed for 48 East Street, which formerly housed law offices and now has tenants leasing space on a short-term basis. Lee Development & Construction is the developer planning...
Tight labor market helps push Austin wages higher — for some

Tight labor market helps push Austin wages higher — for some

Austin employers had it good for a long time. Because so many people wanted to move here — especially during the recession and the early parts of the recovery, when the Central Texas job market was powering away from almost every metro in the country — companies here could get away with paying a little bit less. But the luxury of lower wage pressures slipped away as other metro areas&rsquo...
New complaint against PEC director in wake of ‘tree and rope’ post

New complaint against PEC director in wake of ‘tree and rope’ post

The fallout continues for the Burnet County judge — and Pedernales Electric Cooperative director — who wrote online that it’s “time for a tree and a rope” in reference to a black man accused of killing a police officer Barely two months after James Oakley was disciplined by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for the November Facebook post, a new complaint has been...
A Texas hyperloop? ‘For sure,’ Elon Musk says 

A Texas hyperloop? ‘For sure,’ Elon Musk says 

If Elon Musk’s plans work out, Texans might have to find something other than traffic to complain about. The Tesla, SpaceX billionaire got Twitter talking Thursday when he tweeted he had “just received verbal govt approval” for an underground hyperloop, a high-speed tube transportation system. According to the Hill, a hyperloop could shuttle passengers from New York to Washington...
Solid job gains, smaller cuts help keep Austin jobless rate in check

Solid job gains, smaller cuts help keep Austin jobless rate in check

Lighter seasonal job cuts and a modest acceleration in the pace of Austin-area job creation helped limit the usual rise in the local unemployment rate in June, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. The metro-area jobless rate ticked up to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent in May, the commission said. The increase was smaller than typical for the month, when educational...
Whole Foods execs could make millions on Amazon deal

Whole Foods execs could make millions on Amazon deal

If Amazon.com completes its planned $13.7 billion purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods Market, some of the organic grocer’s executives will walk away with millions of dollars. For a look at where the money will go, read the full story at www.512tech.com
Austin VC funding soared in the 2nd quarter

Austin VC funding soared in the 2nd quarter

After a slow start to the year, venture capital activity in Austin bounced back in the second quarter, with internet companies leading the charge. A total of $330 million was raised by 43 companies during the quarter — a 182 percent increase from the first quarter, when 17 companies received $117 million. To read the full story, go to www.512tech.com

Austin-area home starts approach record level

A surge in homebuilding in Central Texas sent housing starts to a near all-time high in the second quarter, according to Metrostudy, which tracks the numbers. Vaike O’Grady, Metrostudy’s Austin regional director, released the latest figures Thursday during a mid-year forecast event sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin. “The Austin housing market is benefiting...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Austin losing coding school, as Iron Yard to close

TECH EDUCATION Austin losing coding school, as Iron Yard says it’s closing National coding school Iron Yard said Thursday that it will shut down all of its operations, including its Austin campus. In a statement posted on its website, Iron Yard said that “the industry as a whole is still young and its leaders face the challenge of a nascent market, as well as the demands facing all institutions...
Midyear report: Austin home sales growing, but at slower pace than ‘16

Midyear report: Austin home sales growing, but at slower pace than ‘16

Central Texas home sales slowed their growth rate in the first half of 2017, but home prices continued to rise at a steady clip, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. Through the end of June, single-family sales in the five-county Austin metro area — stretching from Georgetown to San Marcos — rose 2.8 percent over the same period in 2016, totalling 14,958 sales. The median price...
MID-YEAR REPORT: Austin home sales still growing, but slower than 2016

MID-YEAR REPORT: Austin home sales still growing, but slower than 2016

Central Texas home sales grew at a slower pace in the first half of the year, while home prices continued to rise at a steady clip, the Austin Board of Realtors said Thursday. Through June, single-family sales in the five-county Austin metro area — stretching from Georgetown to San Marcos — rose 2.8 percent year-over-year to 14,958 sales. The median price of those sales was $300,000, a...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Work starts on Round Rock office project

DEVELOPMENT Work starts on Round Rock office project Mark IV Capital Inc. has broken ground on Summit II at La Frontera, a 95,000-square-foot building scheduled to open in 2018 in Round Rock. Located near of Interstate 35 and Texas 45, the two-story building will be adjacent to the 87,186-square foot Summit I at La Frontera, which Mark IV purchased in 2013 and has since fully leased. Mark IV said...
Barton Creek Resort plans $70M expansion, will add 10-story tower

Barton Creek Resort plans $70M expansion, will add 10-story tower

The 309-room Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is planning a major renovation and expansion that will cost nearly $70 million, according to filings with the city and state. Work on the project, which includes plans for a new 10-story hotel tower, will start this fall, with completion set for 2019, according to applications submitted by Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts. The first phase has a $10.2 million...
Work starts on new Round Rock office building

Work starts on new Round Rock office building

Mark IV Capital Inc. has broken ground on Summit II at La Frontera, a 95,000-square-foot building scheduled to open in 2018 in Round Rock. Located near the intersection of Interstate 35 and Texas 45, the two-story building will be adjacent to the 87,186-square foot Summit I at La Frontera, which Mark IV purchased in 2013 and has since fully leased. Mark IV said it plans to connect the two buildings...
Think Austin is the top tech hub? These cities beg to differ

Think Austin is the top tech hub? These cities beg to differ

Austin has a reputation as a growing, tech-friendly city, but a new ranking shows other cities edging out the Texas capital — even a few perhaps not immediately associated with the tech industry.  Not surprisingly, the San Francisco Bay area topped the list of top cities for tech jobs, in an analysis compiled by CBRE, a real estate and investment services firm. Austin ranked No...
Study: UT System graduates earn more, but major, campus matters

Study: UT System graduates earn more, but major, campus matters

Workers who received bachelor’s degrees from University of Texas System schools tend to earn more than their peers who graduated from other Texas or U.S. universities, with choice of major exerting the most influence on future earnings, according to a study released Wednesday. Researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce found that UT System graduates earned...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Ascension Texas names new leader

HEALTH CARE Ascension Texas names new leader An executive with Houston’s renowned Memorial Hermann Health System has been selected to oversee Ascension hospitals in Austin and Waco. Craig Cordola succeeds Jesús Garza as senior vice president of Ascension Healthcare and ministry market executive for Ascension Texas beginning Sept. 1. In Austin, Ascension operates the Seton Healthcare Family...
New leader selected to oversee Seton Healthcare Family, Dell Children’s

New leader selected to oversee Seton Healthcare Family, Dell Children’s

An executive with Houston’s renowned Memorial Hermann Health System has been selected to oversee Ascension hospitals in Austin and Waco. Craig Cordola succeeds Jesús Garza as senior vice president of Ascension Healthcare and ministry market executive for Ascension Texas beginning Sept. 1. In Austin, Ascension operates the Seton Healthcare Family, including Dell Children’s Medical...
Apple unveils new emojis, ‘woman with headscarf,’ ‘breastfeeding,’ ‘bearded guys,’ more

Apple unveils new emojis, ‘woman with headscarf,’ ‘breastfeeding,’ ‘bearded guys,’ more

On World Emoji Day Monday, Apple unveiled a new collection of emojis coming to iOS, macOS and watchOS, including a variety of new inclusive characters. The new collection includes a woman wearing a headscarf, a T-Rex, zombie, starry-eyed smiley face, bearded person and several more. The inclusive art for women are on trend with the company’s inclusive approach over the past five years. Apple...
NO-FRILLS FARES: Frontier to offer nonstop flights from Austin to 8 more cities

NO-FRILLS FARES: Frontier to offer nonstop flights from Austin to 8 more cities

Frontier Airlines is doubling the number of cities it serves with nonstop flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, officials with the airline announced Tuesday. Half of the eight new flights will available in October, with the other four next year. The seats available in October will cost $49 one-way for an unspecified time, a company official said at a news conference. Frontier, founded...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Wells Fargo poised to sell off more assets

BANKING Wells Fargo poised to sell more assets Wells Fargo & Co. may not be done shedding assets as it rethinks its business following its sham-accounts scandal. After announcing the sale of both its shareholder-services and commercial insurance subsidiaries in the last month, the San Francisco-based bank is considering cutting even more amid a broad review of its operations. Chief financial officer...
Business groups tell Texas lawmakers: Reject ‘bathroom bill’

Business groups tell Texas lawmakers: Reject ‘bathroom bill’

Scrapped corporate expansions and relocations. Discontinued national conventions and conferences. Canceled sporting events and concerts. Those are the economic consequences Texas lawmakers are risking if they approve legislation regulating where transgender people can use the bathroom during the special session of the Texas Legislature that begins on Tuesday, according to corporate executives, business...
With $6 million grant from state, Merck announces tech hub in Austin

With $6 million grant from state, Merck announces tech hub in Austin

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced that Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. will move forward with plans to develop a major technology innovation center in Austin, becoming the key anchor for an innovation district developing around the Dell Medical School. The global pharmaceutical titan made the announcement after the governor’s office announced it would provide the company a $6 million grant from...
Business groups rally at Texas Capitol to oppose ‘bathroom bill’

Business groups rally at Texas Capitol to oppose ‘bathroom bill’

Toting signs declaring “Texas Welcomes All” and “Keep Texas Open For Business,” state business and tourism representatives took to the steps of the state Capitol this morning to urge lawmakers to reject what they call a discriminatory proposed new state law regulating bathroom access for transgender people. The rally — a day before the start of a special session of the...
CodeNext draft proposes major changes for anxious Allandale community

CodeNext draft proposes major changes for anxious Allandale community

Todd Shaw and Amy Wood haven’t changed much about their Allandale home since they bought it in 1992. Aside from a back room addition about a decade later and kitchen renovations about a decade after that, the house, built in 1950 along the banks of Shoal Creek, still looks much like it did when they moved in. Out back, a few yards from the porch, sits a small clubhouse, complete with a zip line...

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

BATHROOM BATTLE Austin tech industry gears up to fight bathroom bill: Austin’s tech industry is preparing to battle in the Texas Legislature during its upcoming special session over bills that would require transgender people to use certain bathrooms, saying such proposals would make it difficult to recruit and retain talent in Texas and would harm the state’s reputation. Several tech...

Up the Ladder

Financial The Teacher Retirement System of Texas Board has named Jerry Albright chief investment officer. Wells Fargo has named David Miree lead region president for Texas. Nonprofits The Capital City Innovation consortium has named Chris Laing director. Oil & Gas Parsley Energy has named Stephanie Reed senior vice president-land. Technology Spanning Cloud Apps has named Paul Strelzick executive chairman...

Chasing a dream? Get your finances in order first

Mark Howard of Basalt, Colorado, earned a six-figure annual income during his 25-year career in financial services. His dream, though, was to teach high school — a job that paid about $40,000 a year. When he floated the idea past his wife and business partner, Danielle Howard, her reaction was surprise and unease. He was 54, she was 44. They had two kids in college, a big house and a lifestyle...
Warren Buffett’s battle over Texas auto law could hinge on technicality

Warren Buffett’s battle over Texas auto law could hinge on technicality

Is it possible to own a company without controlling it, or even being “affiliated” with it? That’s the fine point of corporate governance state officials and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are debating and weighing. The issue stems from Berkshire Hathaway’s efforts to maneuver around a state law that has jeopardized the conglomerate’s ongoing operation...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Texas State gets grant for veterans program

EDUCATION Texas State gets grant for veterans program The Texas Workforce Commission on Friday announced a $145,495 grant to Texas State University and said the school had joined the state-backed College Credit for Heroes program, which the agency manages. Texas State will use the grant — one of more than $1 million in awards the commission announced Friday — to fund the creation of an...

Say hello to summer 2017’s breakout indie video game

Looking for your annual summer blast of video-gaming fun, a title that appears to be everywhere? This year, it’s “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” says American-Statesman tech writer Omar L. Gallaga. For an indepth-look at the unusual Windows PC game, see the full story at www.512tech.com
Warren Buffett’s battle over Texas auto law could hinge on technicality

Warren Buffett’s battle over Texas auto law could hinge on technicality

Is it possible to own a company without controlling it, or even being “affiliated” with it? That’s the fine point of corporate governance state officials and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. are debating and weighing. The issue stems from Berkshire Hathaway’s efforts to maneuver around a state law that has jeopardized the conglomerate’s ongoing operation...
Retail boom: New shops, restaurants continue flooding into Austin area

Retail boom: New shops, restaurants continue flooding into Austin area

Austin remains atop the wish list for shops and restaurants of all sizes looking to expand, retail experts say. That includes both local chains and national outlets. A new report from Weitzman, a commercial real estate firm with offices across Texas, found that the Austin metro area has the strongest retail occupancy rate among all major U.S. markets. The rate currently sits at 96 percent, according...
Shareholder sues, wants to block Whole Foods sale to Amazon

Shareholder sues, wants to block Whole Foods sale to Amazon

A Whole Foods Market shareholder has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to halt Amazon Inc.’s proposed $13.7 billion acquisition of the Austin-based grocery chain, saying that the deal undervalues Whole Foods and is being made without sufficient transparency. For the full story, go to www.512tech.com

BUSINESS DIGEST: Retirement system names new investment officer

FINANCIAL Retirement system names new investment officer The Teacher Retirement System of Texas, one of the country’s largest public pension funds, on Thursday announced it has hired a new chief investment officer. In a release, the TRS board of trustees said it had appointed Jerry Albright to oversee management of the $140 billion fund. Albright replaces Thomas “Britt” Harris, who...
Sources: Former PEC leader got $1.1 million when he left co-op

Sources: Former PEC leader got $1.1 million when he left co-op

The former CEO of Pedernales Electric Cooperative was awarded an estimated $1.1 million to leave quietly in May, the American-Statesman has learned, on the heels of a board meeting in which he announced his intent to resign and accused board members of retaliating against employees who spoke out against perceived racism at the electric utility You can read the full story at www.mystatesman.com
Gymboree closing 350 stores after filing for bankruptcy

Gymboree closing 350 stores after filing for bankruptcy

A children’s clothing retailer is closing hundreds of stores. Gymboree announced the company will close about 350 across the U.S., and closing sales will begin Tuesday. The company will have more than 900 locations after the stores are shut down. Gymboree also operates Janie and Jack stores and Crazy 8 stores. “Today’s announcement represents the next step in the company&rsquo...

BUSINESS DIGEST: Austin Innovation consortium names executive director

COMMUNITY Innovation consortium names 1st executive director The nonprofit organization created to oversee the development of an innovation district around the Dell Medical School announced its first executive director Wednesday. Chris Laing, who previously oversaw commercialization, startup investment and business incubation at the University Science Center in Philadelphia, will begin his role as...
Dallas Fed: Strong demand keeps region’s economy growing

Dallas Fed: Strong demand keeps region’s economy growing

Solid demand across a wide spectrum of goods and services sustained the region’s economic momentum over the past six weeks, according to a report Wednesday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In its chapter of the Beige Book, an anecdotal survey of the economy compiled every six weeks by the Federal Reserve banks, the Dallas Fed said economic activity in its district “continued to...
40-story apartment tower set for downtown Austin’s eastern edge

40-story apartment tower set for downtown Austin’s eastern edge

The sale of a 58-unit condo project overlooking Lady Bird Lake is now final, paving the way for more high-rise residential development in the Rainey Street area on downtown Austin’s eastern edge. More than 80 percent of the owners of the decades-old Villas on Town Lake condominiums — the statutory requirement for a sale to occur — agreed to sell their units at the 2.3-acre waterfront...
U.S. job openings slipped in May, but hiring increased

U.S. job openings slipped in May, but hiring increased

U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in May. But hiring picked up and more people are quitting their jobs — both positive signs for the economy. Job openings fell 5 percent in May to 5.7 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. The setback occurred after advertised job postings nearly reached 6 million in April, a figure that has been revised downward from the initial report. Meanwhile...
Credit agency warns of ‘considerable’ risks to UK economy

Credit agency warns of ‘considerable’ risks to UK economy

The British economy faces the prospect of barely growing in the run-up to the country’s exit from the European Union in less than two years, one of the world’s leading credit ratings agency warned Tuesday. In a bleak assessment of the country’s economy, Standard & Poor’s said growth is set to slow from 2016’s 1.8 percent to 1.4 percent this year and 0.9 percent next,...

Business digest: New 134-room hotel planned near Austin’s airport

TRAVEL New 134-room hotel planned near Austin airport A new hotel will soon go up near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Choice Hotels said Tuesday it plans to build a four-story, 134-room Cambria Suites at East Ben White Boulevard and East Riverside Drive in Southeast Austin. Cloud Nine Hospitality will be the operator for the hotel, which should open in 2019. Amenities will include a pool...
New 134-room hotel planned near Austin’s airport

New 134-room hotel planned near Austin’s airport

A new hotel will soon go up near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Choice Hotels said Tuesday it plans to build a four-story, 134-room Cambria Suites at East Ben White Boulevard and East Riverside Drive in Southeast Austin. Cloud Nine Hospitality will be the operator for the hotel, which should open in 2019. “Austin is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. and an ideal market for...

Business Digest: Tech stocks gain in mixed finish for U.S. indexes

WALL STREET Tech stocks gain in mixed finish for U.S. indexes Wall Street capped a mostly listless day of trading Monday with an uneven finish for U.S. stock indexes. Gains by technology and materials stocks were mostly outweighed by losses among real estate companies, banks and other sectors. Macy’s and other big retailers also took hefty losses. Energy companies rose as the price of crude...
Liberty Lunch founders: ‘We’re not going to fight’ Stubb’s name change

Liberty Lunch founders: ‘We’re not going to fight’ Stubb’s name change

They’re not necessarily happy about it, but the duo who founded Liberty Lunch more than 40 years ago said Monday they don’t intend to fight plans by the owners of Stubb’s to revive the famed Austin music venue’s name. The Stubb’s live music venue and barbecue restaurants are required to change their name as part of a settlement reached last week that put an end to ...
Austin-based car rental firm SilverCar adding 2 more cities

Austin-based car rental firm SilverCar adding 2 more cities

Austin-based airport car rental service SilverCar is expanding to two more cities. The company, which was acquired by Audi this year, said Monday it will launch in Seattle on July 31 and Orlando, Fla., on Aug. 28. With the new additions, SilverCar will be in more than a dozen markets nationwide. SilverCar said it has already started taking reservations for both new cities, offering customers access...
Plot twist! Chipotle unveils queso at test kitchen

Plot twist! Chipotle unveils queso at test kitchen

Squeaky wheel gets the cheese. Maybe. According to Eater New York, Chipotle is unveiling its only public-facing test kitchen in the Big Apple on Monday, called Chipotle NEXT Kitchen. On deck: a classic margarita and virgin strawberry variety, a salad with avocado citrus dressing and — OH, WHAT’S THIS NOW? — queso. That’s right. Queso, which the Mexican fast casual chain...
Webb Report: Why no queso at Chipotle? Mystery solved, Texas

Webb Report: Why no queso at Chipotle? Mystery solved, Texas

Listen, you’re just not going to win any hearts in Texas by not having queso on your taco joint’s menu. That hasn’t stopped Chipotle Mexican Grill from maintaining a presence in the Lone Star State, however. Their guac is famously extra. Queso? Invisible. Now, we know why the burrito chain hasn’t added liquid gold to their arsenal of toppings and side dishes. “Queso is...
Is Stubb’s changing its name to Liberty Lunch? Documents say ‘yes’

Is Stubb’s changing its name to Liberty Lunch? Documents say ‘yes’

In a city where Old Austin frets about New Austin on a daily – if not hourly – basis, a piece of the past appears poised to make a return. In a filing Friday with the Texas secretary of state’s office, the company that owns the Stubb’s live music venue and barbecue restaurants reserved Liberty Lunch – the name of a beloved downtown Austin music venue that closed...

BUSINESS DIGEST: 10-screen movie theater planned for North Austin

ENTERTAINMENT 10-screen movie theater planned for North Austin AMC plans to carve a 10-screen cineplex out of part of an existing Sears Grand store in North Austin. The Kansas-based chain said it has agreed to lease 45,000 square feet of space at the store, which is located at 12625 N. Interstate 35. As the American-Statesman recently reported, Seritage Growth Properties – a Sears offshoot that...
Timeline of merger deal between Whole Foods, Amazon

Timeline of merger deal between Whole Foods, Amazon

Timeline of merger deal between Whole Foods Market and Amazon - Late 2016 and early 2017 – Under pressure from “intensifying competitive conditions, deflationary price pressures and technological changes,” the board and management assess Whole Foods’ position and long-term prospects in the grocery industry. The company reverts back to a single CEO, John Mackey, and starts to...
10-screen movie theater planned for North Austin

10-screen movie theater planned for North Austin

AMC plans to carve a 10-screen cineplex out of part of an existing Sears Grand store in North Austin. The Kansas-based chain said it has agreed to lease 45,000 square feet of space at the store, which is located at 12625 N. Interstate 35. As the American-Statesman recently reported, Seritage Growth Properties – a Sears offshoot that now controls much of the struggling retailer’s real estate...
Is Stubb’s changing its name to Liberty Lunch? Documents say ‘yes’

Is Stubb’s changing its name to Liberty Lunch? Documents say ‘yes’

The Stubb’s live music venue and barbecue restaurants are changing their name to settle a trademark lawsuit that dragged on for nearly two years – but their owner hasn’t said just yet what that new name will be. Documents filed with the Texas Secretary of State’s office, though, indicate it will be a name near and dear to longtime Austinites. In a filing made Friday...
Documents: ‘Company X’ was competing with Amazon to buy Whole Foods

Documents: ‘Company X’ was competing with Amazon to buy Whole Foods

There was at least one other bidder competing against Amazon to take over Austin-based Whole Foods Market, new securities filings show. The updated proxy statement, filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, identified the competing bidder only as “Company X,” and said it offered a “merger-of-equals” deal in a range of $35 to $40 per share. Read the full story...
DOCUMENTS: ‘Company X’ was competing with Amazon to buy Whole Foods

DOCUMENTS: ‘Company X’ was competing with Amazon to buy Whole Foods

There was at least one other bidder competing against Amazon to take over Austin-based Whole Foods Market, new securities filings show. The updated proxy statement, filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, identified the competing bidder only as “Company X,” and said it offered a “merger-of-equals” deal in a range of $35 to $40 per share. “Company X...
Stubb’s restaurants, music venue changing names to settle lawsuit

Stubb’s restaurants, music venue changing names to settle lawsuit

Stubb’s, the renowned barbecue joint and live music venue, will soon change its name to resolve claims made in a trademark lawsuit filed nearly two years ago. That suit was filed by One World Foods, the company that makes Stubb’s-branded barbecue sauces, marinades and rubs. It was filed shortly after One World was acquired by Maryland-based food industry giant McCormick and Co. as part...
New owner ponders future of prized Lake Austin tract

New owner ponders future of prized Lake Austin tract

One of Austin’s last undeveloped tracts overlooking Lake Austin, which was owned for a quarter-century by Exxon Mobil Corp., has been purchased by a well-known Austin entrepreneur. Jonathan Coon confirmed to the American-Statesman that he and his wife, Kirsten, are now the majority owners of the 145-acre wooded property, which sits on a bluff on Shepherd Mountain west of Loop 360 (Capital of...

Business Digest: New owner for 5 NW Austin office buildings

REAL ESTATE New owner for 5 NW Austin office buildings A portfolio of five Northwest Austin office buildings has changed hands. DivcoWest has sold the Campus at Arboretum to a partnership between Vanderbilt Partners and True North Management Group LLC, according to Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, which arranged the transaction. The buildings have a total of 318,534 square feet and sit on 16.5 acres....
New owner for 5 NW Austin office buildings valued at $79 million

New owner for 5 NW Austin office buildings valued at $79 million

A portfolio of five Northwest Austin office buildings has changed hands. DivcoWest has sold The Campus at Arboretum to a partnership formed by Vanderbilt Partners and True North Management Group LLC, according to Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP, which arranged the transaction. The Class A buildings have a total of 318,534 square feet and sit on 16.5 acres. They’re located at 10415 Morado Circle...
There’s a reason you can’t get queso at Chipotle, Texans

There’s a reason you can’t get queso at Chipotle, Texans

Listen, you’re just not going to win any hearts in Texas by not having queso on your taco joint’s menu. That hasn’t stopped Chipotle Mexican Grill from maintaining a presence in the Lone Star State, however. Their guac is famously extra. Queso? Invisible. Now, we know why the burrito chain hasn’t added liquid gold to their arsenal of toppings and side dishes. According to Vice&rsquo...

Business Digest: Regulators OK Cabela’s sale to Bass Pro

RETAIL Regulators OK Cabela’s sale to Bass Pro SIDNEY, Neb. — U.S. antitrust regulators have ended their investigation into Bass Pro Shops’ $4 billion deal to buy Cabela’s, Cabela’s said Wednesday. The Nebraska-based chain said the Federal Trade Commission signed off on the deal earlier this week, but banking regulators still haven’t approved one part of the transaction...
Austin airport adding third direct route to Europe

Austin airport adding third direct route to Europe

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport continues to grow the “international” portion of its name, adding its third nonstop route to Europe. The new route is direct from Austin to London-Gatwick Airport, and will be operated by Norwegian Air Shuttle, the airline announced Wednesday. Gatwick Airport is about 30 miles from Central London, and is Britain’s second-busiest airport by passenger...

Business Digest: Meter-reading firm to lay off 49 in Austin

AUSTIN ECONOMY Meter-reading firm to lay off 49 in Austin Corix Utility Services has notified state workforce officials that it will lay off 49 workers in Austin as its meter-reading contract with the city comes to a close. The firm, which provides utility meter reading services through Austin Energy, said in a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission that its layoffs would occur by Aug. 25. On May...

Have a great workplace? Let us know

Help us spread the word about the best places to work in Austin. Nominations remain open for the American-Statesman’s 2017 Top Workplaces of Greater Austin project, with the nomination deadline extended until July 7. The project recognizes employers that stand for the best in leadership, vision, an employee-centered culture and other qualities. Any employer is eligible — private company...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

CAMPUS SALE 3M reaches agreement to sell its 156-acre Austin campus: Materials company 3M has reached a deal to sell its Austin campus and that employees will be moved to a new building off Parmer Lane in Northeast Austin, the company said last week. Austin-based World Class Capital, a private investment firm that focuses on real estate, has agreed to buy the 156-acre 3M land for an undisclosed price...

Business Digest: SEC to let all firms file IPO documents secretly

SECURITIES SEC to let all firms file IPO documents secretly Hoping to encourage more companies to go public, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expanding a program that has allowed smaller businesses and technology startups to keep some details of their finances and business strategies under wraps early in the process of an initial public offering of stock. In a policy change announced late...
For July 4 holiday weekend, gas prices at lowest point since 2005

For July 4 holiday weekend, gas prices at lowest point since 2005

Filling up your tank this Independence Day will be cheaper than it has been in more than a decade, analysts say. This holiday weekend, GasBuddy.com reports that gas prices nationally are at their lowest level since July 4, 2005. In the Austin area, AAA Texas says the average price per gallon for unleaded fuel is $2.05, down a nickel compared with a week ago. Statewide, the average is a penny less...
Meet the tech world’s secret influencers

Meet the tech world’s secret influencers

Imagine a job where the latest tech devices and gadgets arrive at your doorstep — for free. You regularly fly to cities like London, Las Vegas and San Francisco, where half the time your hotel room is paid for by tech companies and so is the food. In exchange, these companies demand two things from you: your attention and opinion. The job is a reality for 49-year-old Patrick Moorhead, a former...

Business Digest: Walgreens ends attempt to buy Rite Aid

RETAIL Walgreens ends attempt to buy Rite Aid Walgreens has ended its takeover pursuit of rival Rite Aid following resistance from U.S. regulators and will instead now buy stores, distribution centers and inventory in a new deal. The proposed merger, first announced in 2015, was initially for about $9.4 billion but was whittled down to about $6.8 billion earlier this year. For scrapping the transaction...
Austin’s Forestar Group agrees to $560M acquisition by D.R. Horton

Austin’s Forestar Group agrees to $560M acquisition by D.R. Horton

Austin-based Forestar Group Inc. said Wednesday it has accepted a nearly $560 million majority acquisition bid from Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc., which in less than a week outbid a rival offer from the Starwood Capital Group. Under the terms of the deal, which is expected to close by the end of this year, D.R. Horton will acquire 75 percent of Forestar’s stock at a cash price of...
Same tolls, new operators for southern stretch of Texas 130 tollway

Same tolls, new operators for southern stretch of Texas 130 tollway

After more than a year in bankruptcy, the company operating the southern end of the Texas 130 tollway emerged Wednesday under new ownership and new management, shedding about $1.4 billion in debt in what its leadership said makes the nation’s fastest highway more stable. Toll rates won’t be affected. The 41-mile stretch of Texas 130 from Mustang Ridge to Interstate 10 near Seguin has a...

Business Digest: Travaasa Austin to lay off 100-plus workers

WORKFORCE Travaasa Austin to lay off 100-plus workers A Lake Travis resort plans to lay off more than 100 people this fall as it prepares for a months-long renovation project. In a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission, Travaasa Austin, 13500 FM 2769, says 114 of its 152 employees will be let go effective Sept. 1. Kristi Drager, the resort’s human resources manager, says in the letter that...
Austin alcohol sales up 4 percent in May

Austin alcohol sales up 4 percent in May

Alcohol sales at Austin bars, restaurants and hotels jumped 4 percent in May, according to an American-Statesman analysis of data from the state comptroller’s office. Bartenders citywide poured $63.3 million worth of beer, wine and mixed drinks last month, up from $60.9 million in May 2016. With patrons downing $23.4 million in booze, the 78701 ZIP code, which includes most of downtown Austin...

Austin Salvation Army moves ahead on new shelter, command center

The Salvation Army of Austin will break ground Thursday on two major projects in East Austin: a new emergency shelter for women and children, and an area command building that will house administrative offices and a community center. The money for both projects comes from a capital campaign co-chaired by Austin philanthropist Dick Rathgeber. The fundraising effort topped its $17 million goal, raising...
3M reaches deal to sell 156-acre Austin campus

3M reaches deal to sell 156-acre Austin campus

Materials company 3M told its employees on Wednesday that it has reached a deal to sell its Austin campus and that employees will be moved to a new building off Parmer Lane in Northeast Austin. Austin-based World Class Capital, a private investment firm that focuses on real estate, has agreed to buy the 156-acre 3M land for an undisclosed price. For more on this story, go to www.512tech.com
LOOK OUT, BUC-EE’S: Okla. chain adding 100 Austin, San Antonio stores

LOOK OUT, BUC-EE’S: Okla. chain adding 100 Austin, San Antonio stores

Watch out, Buc-ee’s. A popular Oklahoma-based chain of convenience stores is continuing its push south into Texas, announcing plans for 100 new locations in Austin and San Antonio. QuikTrip, which is headquartered in Tulsa, said the first of the new stores should open in the summer of 2018. The chain, which broke into North Texas in 1999 and currently has 134 locations there, has 750 locations...
Nonprofit Code2College aims to prepare students for tech careers

Nonprofit Code2College aims to prepare students for tech careers

Matt Stephenson saw the handwriting on the wall. Working for the giant financial firm Goldman Sachs Group, in credit derivatives and mortgage-backed securities, he sensed that the market was going to experience an upset. So in 2007, a year before the financial collapse on Wall Street, he got out. “I cut it a little close,” recalls Stephenson, 35, who later founded the Austin nonprofit...
JUST IN: Austin resort laying off more than 100 workers

JUST IN: Austin resort laying off more than 100 workers

A posh Lake Travis resort plans to lay off more than 100 people this fall as it prepares for a months-long renovation project. In a letter to the Texas Workforce Commission, Travaasa Austin, 13500 FM 2769, says 114 of its 152 employees will be let go effective Sept. 1. Kristi Drager, the resort’s human resources manager, says in the letter that the resort hopes to extend job offers to many of...

Business Digest: Former first lady coming to Austin tech conference

TECH SECTOR Former first lady coming to Austin tech conference Michelle Obama just can’t get enough of Austin. The former first lady is coming back to our city in October for a tech conference hosted by social media software company Spredfast. The company posted the news to its Twitter account on Tuesday morning. Called “Smart Social Summit,” it takes place Oct. 16-18 at the W Hotel...
After strong start to 2017, Austin-area auto sales cool off

After strong start to 2017, Austin-area auto sales cool off

After a strong start to the year, Austin-area auto sales have cooled off a bit, a new report shows. Sales of new vehicles declined by 2.4 percent in May, compared to the same month last year, according to data from the Freeman Auto Report, a Dallas-based service that tracks those purchases in Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. Austin-area consumers bought 10,919...
Growth of Texas manufacturing, service-sector activity cools in June

Growth of Texas manufacturing, service-sector activity cools in June

The growth of Texas factory production and service-sector business activity slowed in June, but outlooks on the statewide economy remained optimistic and employers continued to expand their payrolls during the month, according to a pair of reports from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The state production index, a key measure of Texas factory output, dropped to a reading of 12.3 in June from 23...
PHOTOS: Handmade cigars at Bobalu Cigar Co. in Austin

PHOTOS: Handmade cigars at Bobalu Cigar Co. in Austin

Bobalu Cigar Co. has been manufacturing its own handmade cigars since 1997. The shop sources all of its ingredients from around Latin America. Pedestrians on Sixth Street downtown can catch a glimpse of the process through the shop window or can try their own cigar inside.
‘CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR’: Yeti sues 3 more companies over tumblers

‘CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR’: Yeti sues 3 more companies over tumblers

Austin-based Yeti Coolers is continuing its crusade against companies that make products it contends are “confusingly similar” to the ones it manufactures, suing three more companies this month. In a filing in U.S. District Court in Austin, attorneys for Yeti say tumblers sold by RELYMedia, CreekFire and Nine Line Apparel too closely resemble some of the tumblers in its top-selling Rambler...
Yeti sues 3 more companies over ‘confusingly similar’ tumblers

Yeti sues 3 more companies over ‘confusingly similar’ tumblers

Austin-based Yeti Coolers is continuing its crusade against companies that make products it contends are “confusingly similar” to the ones it manufactures, suing three more companies this month. In a filing in U.S. District Court in Austin, attorneys for Yeti say tumblers sold by RELYMedia, CreekFire and Nine Line Apparel too closely resemble some of the tumblers in its top-selling Rambler...
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