Business


Austin gas prices drop 6 cents, AAA reports

Central Texas gas prices continue to fall from their Hurricane Harvey-induced spike. AAA Texas reports a gallon of unleaded fuel costs $2.30 this week in the Austin area, down six cents compared to a week ago. The statewide average is $2.26, also down six cents. Texarkana has the cheapest fuel in Texas, coming in at $2.18 per gallon, while El Paso was the most expensive metro area, with an average...


Business digest: Austin gas prices drop 6 cents, AAA reports

TRAVEL Austin gas prices drop 6 cents, AAA reports Central Texas gas prices continue to fall from their Hurricane Harvey-induced spike. AAA Texas reports a gallon of unleaded fuel costs $2.30 this week in the Austin area, down six cents compared to a week ago. The statewide average is $2.26, also down six cents. Texarkana has the cheapest fuel in Texas, coming in at $2.18 per gallon, while El Paso...

Economist: Austin area needs more housing supply

The Austin area housing market remains one of the healthiest in the nation, even as it grapples with affordability challenges and an undersupply of housing, a national economist said Wednesday. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, spoke at the annual membership meeting of the Austin Board of Realtors, which represents about 13,000 real estate professionals in Central...
Dallas Fed: Harvey’s economic damage temporary; recovery boosts demand

Dallas Fed: Harvey’s economic damage temporary; recovery boosts demand

It appears Hurricane Harvey will inflict little long-term disruption on the regional economy, which continued to expand at a “moderate pace” over the past six weeks despite the giant storm, 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...
Austin makes its bid for Amazon’s giant HQ2 project

Austin makes its bid for Amazon’s giant HQ2 project

Austin is officially in the mix for Amazon’s $5 billion second headquarters project. The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce formally submitted the city’s proposal for Amazon’s HQ2 project on Wednesday, one day ahead of Amazon’s deadline, chamber spokesman Mike Berman confirmed to the American-Statesman. “We’ve put together what we think is a compelling case for...
Austin’s bid is officially in for Amazon’s giant HQ2 project

Austin’s bid is officially in for Amazon’s giant HQ2 project

For the past month, hundreds of cities have scrambled to prepare proposals to win Amazon’s second company headquarters after the online retailer announced plans for the $5 billion project.  Austin, considered a contender by industry analysts, has been among those preparing bids. Now, Austin enters the waiting period.  The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce formally submitted the...
Conde Nast magazine says Austin hotel is best in Texas

Conde Nast magazine says Austin hotel is best in Texas

An Austin hotel took top honors in this year’s Conde Nast Traveler readers poll. The Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, 605 Davis St., was named the best hotel in Texas, scoring 97.02 points out of a possible 100. The music-themed hotel in the Rainey Street neighborhood debuted in late 2015, boasting 319 rooms. PHOTOS: A look inside the Hotel Van Zandt Here’s how Conde Nast’s writers describe...
These three websites will scare you silly for Halloween

These three websites will scare you silly for Halloween

You could go see a scary movie or terrify yourself by simply viewing the day’s headlines, but why not enjoy some more old-fashioned creepy vibes from the nearest web browser? Here are three sites you may have missed that will get you in the Halloween mood: Creepypasta.com: An excellent repository of more than 10,000 memes, short stories and urban legends, with a lot of thoughtful...
In early days, merger with Amazon ‘challenging,’  Whole Foods CEO Mackey says

In early days, merger with Amazon ‘challenging,’  Whole Foods CEO Mackey says

While Austin-based Whole Foods Market has only been a part of Amazon for less than two months, John Mackey, the grocer’s CEO, recently said that the merger has been less than perfect, describing it as “challenging.” Mackey spoke at the American Production and Inventory Control Society’s annual conference this past weekend, where he addressed the changes at Whole Foods...
Petitioners prevail in Austin Board of Realtors election

Petitioners prevail in Austin Board of Realtors election

The Austin Board of Realtors will begin 2018 with seven newly elected directors who all campaigned on a platform of greater transparency for the 13,000-member organization. The seven new directors, whose terms start Jan. 1, include Austin real estate agents Cord Shiflet and Brian Talley, who the board had ousted on Aug. 2. In published reports, board CEO Paul Hilgers said they breached their fiduciary...
Central Texas home sales decline 4.3% in September

Central Texas home sales decline 4.3% in September

Single-family home sales declined across most areas of Central Texas in September, while the median price in the region overall rose more than 5 percent, to $291,464, the latest figures show. In its monthly report released Tuesday, the Austin Board of Realtors said there were 2,433 home sales in the Austin-Round Rock metro last month, down 4.3 percent from September 2016. Half of the homes sold for...
More human than ‘Humans,’ ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ concludes with the hope of big ideas

More human than ‘Humans,’ ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ concludes with the hope of big ideas

Like a lot of television shows that go on to do great things, AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” started off a little rough.  Its first season, which debuted in June 2014 a few months after screening at South by Southwest, was a fictionalized account of the nerdy North Texas computer industry of the early 1980s. As they dreamed of making a dent in IBM’s giant personal computer...
LA Fitness plans new gym in Cedar Park

LA Fitness plans new gym in Cedar Park

LA Fitness is continuing its push into Central Texas, unveiling plans this week to build a new location in Cedar Park. The 34,000-square-foot gym will serve as anchor of Cedar Park Plaza, a strip center at the northeast corner of Whitestone Boulevard and Bagdad Road. “As LA Fitness continues to expand in North and Central Texas, this location in the growing Austin area will help meet the fitness...
Now accepting applications: Startup accelerator MassChallenge launches in Austin

Now accepting applications: Startup accelerator MassChallenge launches in Austin

Now Accepting Applications: That’s the message from MassChallenge, the Boston-based accelerator that officially launched its Texas program on Monday. At an event at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, MassChallenge celebrated its new presence in Austin and put out a call for startups across Texas to apply. MassChallenge announced last month that it chose Austin for its second U.S. site...
Austin marketing firm Threshold acquires Canadian boutique agency 

Austin marketing firm Threshold acquires Canadian boutique agency 

Austin-based marketing firm Threshold has acquired Canadian boutique agency Carve Creative + Strategy to form Threshold/Carve, a digital marketing agency for clients in retail, technology, healthcare and financial service and other industries. Threshold made the acquisition to strengthen its  services, but also to have a broader reach, said chief strategy officer John Wilkinson.  &ldquo...
Central Texas home sales decline in September

Central Texas home sales decline in September

Single-family home sales declined across most areas of Central Texas in September, while the median price in the region rose more than 5 percent, to $291,464, the latest figures show. In its monthly report, the Austin Board of Realtors said there were 2,433 home sales in the Austin-Round Rock metro area last month, down 4.3 percent from September 2016. Half of the homes sold for more than $291,464...
Former first lady Michelle Obama is back in Austin to speak at social media conference

Former first lady Michelle Obama is back in Austin to speak at social media conference

Former first lady Michelle Obama will be in Austin today to speak at a social media conference hosted by  Spredfast. Called “Smart Social Summit,” the three-day event runs through tomorrow at the W Hotel in downtown Austin.  Obama is scheduled to speak at 12:35 p.m. in what organizers describe as a moderated conversation. This is Obama’s second time in Austin. She previously...
Struggling Ruby Tuesday bought out by private equity firm, future unclear

Struggling Ruby Tuesday bought out by private equity firm, future unclear

A private equity firm has agreed to acquire Ruby Tuesday Inc. and is taking the company private as the restaurant chain struggles with declining sales as casual dining choices change in the restaurant industry.  Atlanta-based NRD Capital Management is buying the casual-dining chain for about $146 million, or $2.40 a share, according to a press release from the company. “The Board...
Amid member fight, Hilgers leaving as CEO of Austin Board of Realtors

Amid member fight, Hilgers leaving as CEO of Austin Board of Realtors

Paul Hilgers, CEO of the Austin Board of Realtors since 2013, will step down from the 13,000-member trade association effective Dec. 31, the board said Monday. The news comes amid an ongoing dispute between the organization and some of its members. A group of real estate agents, led by Austin Board of Realtors members Cord Shiflet, Brian Talley and Jonathan Boatwright, say the board lacks transparency...
Kendra Scott files lawsuit over competitor’s ‘highly similar’ logo

Kendra Scott files lawsuit over competitor’s ‘highly similar’ logo

Austin jewelry maker Kendra Scott has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a competitor of trademark infringement and reneging on an earlier agreement intended to keep the matter from trial. In a filing in U.S. District Court in Austin, Kendra Scott Inc. accuses Evereve Inc. of using a medallion-shaped logo similar to the one Kendra Scott Inc. has long used. One of Austin’s best-known success stories...
German grocer Aldi sets opening date for first Austin-area store

German grocer Aldi sets opening date for first Austin-area store

Aldi has set an opening date for its new store in Pflugerville – marking the discount grocer’s first foray into the Austin mero area. The store, at 1415 FM 685, will make its debut Nov. 2, the chain said Monday. “We’re thrilled to join the Pflugerville community and offer customers the benefits of the Aldi shopping experience,” Karla Waddleton, an Aldi division...
Tesla terminates hundreds of workers after yearly performance reviews

Tesla terminates hundreds of workers after yearly performance reviews

Tesla Motors has fired hundreds of workers after their annual performance reviews, even as the high-end electric vehicle manufacturer is in the midst of increasing production, according to news reports. The exact number of terminated employees out of Tesla’s workforce of 33,000 is unknown, but The San Jose Mercury News reported as many as 700 people may have lost their jobs. "As with any...
German grocer Aldi sets opening date for first Austin-area store

German grocer Aldi sets opening date for first Austin-area store

Aldi has set an opening date for its new store in Pflugerville – the discount grocer’s first location in the Austin area. The store, at 1415 FM 685, will make its debut Nov. 2, the chain said Monday. “We’re thrilled to join the Pflugerville community and offer customers the benefits of the Aldi shopping experience,” Karla Waddleton, an Aldi division vice president...
‘Shark Tank’ entrepreneur killed, body dumped in Pennsylvania river

‘Shark Tank’ entrepreneur killed, body dumped in Pennsylvania river

A 58-year-old entrepreneur, who once appeared on the popular show “Shark Tank” to make his case for an app called “EmergenSee,” has been found dead in a Pennsylvania river, reportedly from a gunshot wound to the head. The body found floating in the Schuylkill River in University City, Pa., on Thursday has been identified as Philip Reitnour, an entrepreneur who notably...
Hong Kong-based Leyou Technologies buys $10 million stake in Austin’s Certain Affinity game studio

Hong Kong-based Leyou Technologies buys $10 million stake in Austin’s Certain Affinity game studio

Austin indie video game studio Certain Affinity  -- the company behind a successful reboot of  “DOOM” and a player on the “Halo” and “Call of Duty” franchises -- said Monday that it has landed a new investor. Hong Kong-based Leyou Technologies Holdings Limited said it has acquired a 20 percent stake by investing $10 million in Certain Affinity...
Kroger considers selling off almost 800 convenience stores in 18 states

Kroger considers selling off almost 800 convenience stores in 18 states

Cincinnati-based Kroger may sell off its convenience store business amid changes in the grocery market, the company said in a statement. The Kroger Co. said its convenience store business is growing, but is “potentially of more value outside of the company than as part of Kroger.” The company intends to “explore strategic alternatives for its convenience store business, including...
Commentary: Stop development deals. Get Amazon with the ‘Texas Model’

Commentary: Stop development deals. Get Amazon with the ‘Texas Model’

Austin is vying for Amazon’s impressive new “HQ2” — a second company headquarters that could supercharge the local economy with $5 billion in capital investment and 50,000 new, good-paying jobs. Landing the state-of-the-art campus would be nothing short of blockbuster. While Austin has much to offer and much to gain, it shouldn’t fall into the trap of proposing a mammoth...
Top Local Buisness Stories of the Week

Top Local Buisness Stories of the Week

AUSTIN’S ECONOMY Gentrification, rising rents put squeeze on more Austin households: The pressures of gentrification and rising rents grew faster and spread farther in Austin than in comparable metro areas around the country, setting off ripple effects that could raise health care costs and undermine the quality of education for residents throughout the region, according to the authors of a...
JUST IN: Bastrop County coal mine, 2 Texas power plants to close 

JUST IN: Bastrop County coal mine, 2 Texas power plants to close 

A power generation company announced Friday it will shut down a Bastrop County coal mine, the power plant in Milam County it supplies coal to, and another power plant in Freestone County.  Three Oaks Mine near Elgin, the Sandow Power Plant in Milam County and the Big Brown Power Plant in Freestone County are run by energy company Luminant.  “Sustained low wholesale power prices, an...
As code schools win fans, University of Texas gets in the game

As code schools win fans, University of Texas gets in the game

Two years ago, the University of Texas decided to get into a booming field in the tech industry: Coding schools. The university’s continuing education program is now offering tech boot camps. Coding boot camps have exploded in popularity in the past decade, and there are a half-dozen code schools operating in Austin. Private companies pioneered the code school concept, but in the past few years...
Say hello to the ‘Department of Strange Tech Questions’

Say hello to the ‘Department of Strange Tech Questions’

What happens when an Austin tech reporter finds in his mailbox two letters addressed to the “Department of Strange Tech Questions?” Turns out, he goes on something of a hunt to find out more about the intriguing letter writer — and takes you along for the ride. To read the full story, go to www.512tech.com.
Austin, Atlanta are favorites to win Amazon HQ2, Moody’s Analytics says

Austin, Atlanta are favorites to win Amazon HQ2, Moody’s Analytics says

Austin could emerge the winner in the nationwide beauty pageant to become the location for Amazon’s second headquarters – at least according to financial services firm Moody’s Analytics. The Austin metro tied with the Atlanta metro area for first place in Moody’s overall ranking, but Austin got the edge “thanks to fast job growth, a dynamic tech economy, and the high...
Study: Proposed change to Texas power pricing could hurt wind sector

Study: Proposed change to Texas power pricing could hurt wind sector

A proposal to make it more expensive to transmit electricity over long distances in Texas would benefit natural gas and coal plants near Houston but could hurt many other power generators around the state — with the burgeoning wind-energy sector likely to take the biggest hit, according to a new study. Net revenue for power generators overall would fall by about $239 million annually, the report...

Thousands in Central Texas may feel impact of Trump health care move

A total of 68,199 Travis County residents have health insurance in 2017 that they accessed through the federal marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act, according to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. About half — or 33,740 of them – qualify for cost-sharing reductions to help lower out-of-pocket expenses, which the Trump administration has announced it will...
After Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas faces long road to recovery

After Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas faces long road to recovery

When the din of power saws and hammering had stopped, quiet filled the streets of Port Aransas on a recent warm Friday afternoon. Just blocks from the wrecked shops, restaurants and vacation rentals, the beach, cleared of debris, was empty. Seven weeks after the eye of Hurricane Harvey passed just north of this idyllic beach town of 4,000 residents — whose eccentric and laid-back vibe has made...
Mom-and-mom pet shop does battle with the big boys

Mom-and-mom pet shop does battle with the big boys

Family owned businesses doing battle with the big chains is nothing new. We’ve seen it happen numerous times, perhaps most notably with mega-retailer Wal-Mart in communities big and small nationwide. Now, the owners of a Central Texas pet supply store say they’re the ones struggling to survive, thanks to two new competitors on the same street. Just For Pets, 3742 Far West Blvd., opened...
Trump health order gets mixed Texas review; business group studying it

Trump health order gets mixed Texas review; business group studying it

A top business group in Texas greeted President Donald Trump’s executive order aimed at reshaping U.S. health care policy with a lukewarm statement on Thursday, while local health care advocates raised concerns that the attacks on the Affordable Care Act would dissuade people from signing up for medical insurance for 2018. Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, said his...
The chase for funding a key topic during Austin Startup Week

The chase for funding a key topic during Austin Startup Week

As developers, entrepreneurs and job-seekers descended on downtown Austin this week for Austin Startup Week, sessions on startup funding drew interest from founders and those hoping to launch startups. At the “Entrepreneurs Workshop” by the Central Texas Angel Network, or CTAN, angel investors discussed the importance of founders having a clear story and being prepared for a rigorous due...
After accusations of racism, Unbarlievable’s sales plummet: state data

After accusations of racism, Unbarlievable’s sales plummet: state data

Alcohol sales at a Rainey Street bar accused of racism this summer have plummeted in recent months, state data show. Unbarlievable, 76 Rainey St., opened in March, serving $353,561 worth of beer, wine and mixed drinks during its first month in operation, according to an American-Statesman analysis. Sales peaked the next month, with April bar tabs reaching $401,468. But fast forward to August...
Startup Viridis Learning moving headquarters from New York to Austin

Startup Viridis Learning moving headquarters from New York to Austin

Education technology startup Viridis Learning is moving its headquarters from New York to Austin. Founded in 2009, the company uses data analytics to match community college students with employers. Viridis helps connect the colleges with local employers who can map their existing programs and classes to the fit the jobs. The data is available to students through an online portal where they can...
An Austin reader charmingly turns a tech reporter into the ‘Department of Strange Tech Questions’

An Austin reader charmingly turns a tech reporter into the ‘Department of Strange Tech Questions’

One day, I found two identically addressed letters in my work mailbox. My name wasn’t on either envelope. Instead, they were each addressed to the Austin American-Statesman’s “Department of Strange Tech Questions.” And so they came to me. Both letters were written on 3/8-inch graph paper in small, but perfectly neat and readable, cursive. They were from an Austin woman named...
Apartment project set for old Treehouse site off Barton Springs Road

Apartment project set for old Treehouse site off Barton Springs Road

A site that has sat empty for three decades along Barton Springs Road is poised to be transformed with 74 upscale apartments that would have pricey rents and views of downtown Austin’s skyline Located atop a bluff at Barton Springs and Dawson roads, the site once housed a trendy restaurant and club, Mackendrick’s Treehouse, which opened in the late 1970s. Greystar and Dominion Advisors...
Sears Canada appealing to Canadian court to close stores, liquidate assets

Sears Canada appealing to Canadian court to close stores, liquidate assets

  In what could be a foreshadowing of things to come in the U.S., Sears Canada wants to close all its stores and liquidate all its assets, but first the Ontario Superior Court of Justice must agree, according to a statement from the retailer. The court is expected to hear Sears’ petition on Friday, and if the court agrees, the struggling retailer could begin liquidation sales as soon...
Will Amazon’s HQ2 home be the old Motorola campus?

Will Amazon’s HQ2 home be the old Motorola campus?

Eightfold Development of Austin has proposed its campus in East Austin for Amzaon’s HQ2 headquarters and envisions a main building in the shape of Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based voice device. Austin is cited as one of the key cities for Amazon’s secondary headquarters, known as HQ2, that the company wants to build somewhere in North America. But even if the...
Austin software maker AlertMedia lands $8 million to continue growth

Austin software maker AlertMedia lands $8 million to continue growth

Mass communication software maker AlertMedia has landed $8 million to launch a new wave of growth. Founded in 2013, the Austin-based company lets customers deliver mass notifications by phone, text, social media and mobile apps to any type of device, from a smartphone to an iPad or PC. Workers can also message their employers, allowing them to quickly share information in fast-changing situations...
Cardtek co-founder: Get ready for cars that can make mobile payments for you

Cardtek co-founder: Get ready for cars that can make mobile payments for you

Your next mobile wallet could be a bit larger than your cell phone. In fact, it could be large enough to drive around. We could soon be seeing automobiles that seamlessly integrate ways to make payments on things like drive-thru food, car washes and gas with wireless hardware built into the car. That’s an idea that will be explored Wednesday morning in a presentation at the IoT Payments...
Amid conflict, Doggett fears Obamacare signups will slip

Amid conflict, Doggett fears Obamacare signups will slip

Some local health care proponents — including U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett — say they fear fewer people may sign up for insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act this year when open enrollment begins Nov. 1, even though the law remains standing despite high-profile Republican efforts to repeal it. Open enrollment for medical coverage that begins Jan. 1 will last six weeks through Dec. 15...
Dell Technologies makes a $1 billion bet on the Internet of Things

Dell Technologies makes a $1 billion bet on the Internet of Things

Dell Technologies is making a $1 billion bet on the Internet of Things, with a new initiative and a three-year plan to create new products. The Round Rock-based tech giant said Tuesday that it will commit the money for research and development of hardware and software that helps manage billions of devices connected to the internet. The initiative includes a new Internet of Things division and a partner...
Gentrification, rising rents put squeeze on more Austin households

Gentrification, rising rents put squeeze on more Austin households

The pressures of gentrification and rising rents grew faster and spread farther in Austin than in comparable metro areas around the country, setting off ripple effects that could raise health care costs and undermine the quality of education for residents throughout the region, according to the authors of a report due out Tuesday. Researchers at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization...
Toll Brothers to develop remaining homes in Belterra project

Toll Brothers to develop remaining homes in Belterra project

Time’s running out to buy a home in the 1,600-acre Belterra community near Dripping Springs. Toll Brothers has been selected to build homes on the project’s 144 remaining lots, Ashlar Development said. Construction is expected to begin early next year, according to Toll Brothers, a nationally known builder with a significant presence in Central Texas. Belterra’s other builders include...
Rents hit record highs in Austin’s office market

Rents hit record highs in Austin’s office market

Rents for Austin-area office space hit new highs in the third quarter, the latest figures show, as demand continued to outpace supply in the local market Rents for top-tier (Class A) office space in the Austin market reached $39.71 a square foot, an all-time high, Cushman & Wakefield Austin said its third-quarter report. Rents for top-tier space downtown also hit a new record, $55.77 a square foot...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

AMAZON IN AUSTIN Amazon has rapidly grown its Austin presence: Amazon has more than doubled its Austin workforce in the past year, and indications are that more local growth could be in the works, separate from the e-commerce giant’s splashy purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods Market and its high-profile search for a second corporate headquarters. The company, which opened an Austin office...
Are you ready for Austin Startup Week? 

Are you ready for Austin Startup Week? 

In a sense, Matt Darner and Cameron Desautels of Dallas are on a scouting mission. They’re coming to town for Austin Startup Week, a five-day conference that starts Monday. If they like what they see, Darner and Desautels say they’ll consider relocating their two-year-old company. “We’re looking forward to making connections with other entrepreneurs and with venture capitalists...
As retail competition intensifies, Amazon, Wal-Mart, other competitors investing in workforce 

As retail competition intensifies, Amazon, Wal-Mart, other competitors investing in workforce 

Part of what’s made Amazon successful, analysts say, is that the company is consistently forward thinking about its customers -- creating products and programs people didn’t know they wanted before having them. The future of Amazon, though, could be largely based on the company’s forward thinking about its workforce, says Juan Garcia, Amazon’s global leader for career advancement...
Viewpoints: Central Texas has incentives — but what can Amazon return?

Viewpoints: Central Texas has incentives — but what can Amazon return?

With the deadline approaching, Austin and Central Texas leaders are scrambling to put together a proposal for wooing Amazon to the region, knowing they are competing against upwards of 200 cities in the U.S. and Canada for a project so huge — $5 billion — it’s considered an economic transformer for the community that lands it. It’s no wonder then that the competition has turned...
Austin’s Second Street: Hub of woman-owned businesses

Austin’s Second Street: Hub of woman-owned businesses

Woman-owned businesses aren’t as rare as they used to be – and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in Texas. American Express says four of the top 10 U.S. cities where female entrepreneurs have the greatest clout – “combining growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned businesses” from 2007 to 2016 – are in the Lone Star State. Austin ranks...
Austin’s Second Street: Hub of woman-owned businesses

Austin’s Second Street: Hub of woman-owned businesses

Woman-owned businesses aren’t as rare as they used to be – and perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in Texas. American Express says four of the top 10 U.S. cities where female entrepreneurs have the greatest clout – “combining growth in the number, employment and revenues of women-owned businesses” from 2007 to 2016 – are in the Lone Star State. Austin ranks...
As other cities loudly pursue Amazon’s HQ2, Austin takes quieter tack

As other cities loudly pursue Amazon’s HQ2, Austin takes quieter tack

The responses from cities across the U.S. to Amazon’s plans for a second headquarters have been overwhelming. Cities across the country have been loud and passionate in their pursuit of Amazon’s planned $5 billion “second headquarters,” a facility the company says will create 50,000 jobs. Landing the project will be be an economic boon, and cities are doing everything from...
While other cities loudly woo Amazon’s HQ2, Austin proceeding quietly

While other cities loudly woo Amazon’s HQ2, Austin proceeding quietly

The responses from cities across the U.S. to Amazon’s plans for a second headquarters have been overwhelming.  Municipalities have been loud and passionate in their pursuit of the $5 billion facility Amazon said will create 50,000 jobs, with positions averaging more than $100,000 in annual salary. Landing the project will be be an economic boon, and cities are doing everything from...
Like ‘a rave in space’: Austin’s TheWaveVR teams with musician to create virtual-reality album-art experience

Like ‘a rave in space’: Austin’s TheWaveVR teams with musician to create virtual-reality album-art experience

At 8 p.m. Central time on Sunday, fans of Los Angeles producer TOKiMONSTA will get to participate in a listening-party concert. But fans will be wearing virtual-reality headsets connected to PCs and will be experiencing an interactive version of the “Lune Rouge” album cover that allows them to hear the music while interacting with each other, playing with VR objects and experiencing...
Building that’s home to Texas power regulators suffering power outage

Building that’s home to Texas power regulators suffering power outage

The lights have gone out in a portion of the state office building that houses the Public Utility Commission, which oversees electricity providers in Texas. But the power outage at the William B. Travis building — which started Sunday and won’t be restored before the weekend — isn’t the result of retaliation for perceived regulatory overreach, or of a late bill payment. Instead...
Verizon, AT&T boost network capacity for ACL Fest

Verizon, AT&T boost network capacity for ACL Fest

Bigger and better. That’s the promise from cellular providers, who are beefing up their networks like never before ahead of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Verizon, for instance, says it has brought one of its “masting ball” antennas to town. The antenna, which weighs 600 pounds and contains 36 smaller antennas to help divide and balance traffic, is expected to boost capacity...
Austinites really, really like to work from home, census data show

Austinites really, really like to work from home, census data show

More people are working from home in the Austin area than any other major U.S. cities, according to recently-released Census Bureau data.  Nearly 9 percent of people ages 16 and up with jobs in the Austin area telecommute, the data shows. The national average is 5 percent. In fact, Austin ranks highest for percentage of people who work from home among the country’s top 50 metro areas, beating...
Judge rules against Austin Board of Realtors in election fight

Judge rules against Austin Board of Realtors in election fight

The Austin Board of Realtors has lost a court battle over the terms of its upcoming board election. As part of a lawsuit filed by two of the organization’s members, State District Judge Jan Soifer has ordered the Board of Realtors to include seven open seats on its board of directors in this month’s election, rather than the five seats the board had maintained were open. The two additional...
Amazon has quietly more than doubled its Austin presence in past year

Amazon has quietly more than doubled its Austin presence in past year

Amazon has more than doubled its Austin workforce in the past year, and indications are that more local growth could be in the works, separate from the e-commerce giant’s splashy purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods Market and its high-profile search for a second corporate headquarters. The company, which opened an Austin office in 2015, has increased its local footprint from 350 employees last...
Panel weighs changes to pricing in the state’s electricity market

Panel weighs changes to pricing in the state’s electricity market

Electricity that most Texans take for granted when they flip on their lights or crank up their air conditioners is increasingly being generated by power plants running on cheap natural gas or by the wind turbines proliferating across the state. The result has been lower wholesale electricity prices and plaudits from advocates for a cleaner energy mix. But some power plant operators say the trend also...
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon has quietly more than doubled its Austin presence in past year

EXCLUSIVE: Amazon has quietly more than doubled its Austin presence in past year

Amazon has more than doubled its Austin workforce in the past year, and indications are that more local growth could be in the works, separate from the e-commerce giant’s splashy purchase of Austin-based Whole Foods Market and its high-profile search for a second corporate headquarters. The company, which opened an Austin office in 2015, has increased its local footprint from 350 employees...
Shareholders OK D.R. Horton’s takeover of Austin’s Forestar Group

Shareholders OK D.R. Horton’s takeover of Austin’s Forestar Group

Shareholders for Austin-based Forestar Group Inc. have voted to approve a $560 million majority acquisition bid from Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc., the companies said. Shareholders representing about 31.9 million shares — or about 76.2 percent of the company’s outstanding shares — voted in favor of the deal, Forestar Group said in a news release. The companies expect to...
37-story tower planned for downtown Austin block

37-story tower planned for downtown Austin block

Trammell Crow Company plans to build a 37-story tower with office, restaurant and retail uses on a prime downtown Austin block owned by the University of Texas System, documents filed with the city show. The UT System last year selected Trammell Crow to redevelop the 1.75-acre site, called Block 71, which would put the property back on the tax rolls. The site is bounded by West Sixth, West Seventh...
A city named Amazon? That’s the offer from a GA town in exchange for Amazon HQ2 

A city named Amazon? That’s the offer from a GA town in exchange for Amazon HQ2 

The latest local pitch aimed at attracting Amazon to a location for its planned expansion? Create a city called Amazon. That’s the idea behind an effort in Stonecrest, Georgia in metro Atlanta.  The Stonecrest City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to de-annex 345 acres of land if the e-commerce giant picks the area for what the company calls HQ2, a corporate hub where Seattle-based ...
Kathy Blackwell named executive editor at Texas Monthly

Kathy Blackwell named executive editor at Texas Monthly

Kathy Blackwell, most recently editor-in-chief at  Austin Way magazine, has been named executive editor overseeing the features portfolio at the venerable  Texas Monthly by the statewide magazine’s Editor-in-Chief  Tim Taliaferro. Kathy Blackwell. Contributed by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon. “She will bring new ideas, new expertise and a great...
Condos, townhomes, shops planned near old Mueller control tower

Condos, townhomes, shops planned near old Mueller control tower

A mix of condos, townhomes, shops and restaurants will occupy a prime spot near the former air traffic control tower at the Mueller development in East Austin. Construction on the project, which is being developed by local firm Austin Modern Lofts, is expected to start early next year at the northwest corner of Berkman Drive and Tom Miller Street. When completed in 2019, the three-story building will...
H-E-B issues recall of chicken product sold at some stores

H-E-B issues recall of chicken product sold at some stores

San Antonio-based H-E-B, the dominant grocer in Central Texas, has issued a recall of diced chicken sold at 114 of its stores. A batch of Mi Tienda Pollo Casero was mislabeled as Mi Tienda Al Pastor Pork. The packages do not declare wheat as an ingredient, the company said, posing a health risk to those with wheat allergies. The recall only affects Mi Tienda Pollo Casero with a UPC of 23841700000...
Austin’s blood bank: Donations always needed, not just after tragedies

Austin’s blood bank: Donations always needed, not just after tragedies

It’s not unusual to see long lines of wouldbe donors at blood banks following tragedies such as the one that occurred Sunday night in Las Vegas. But We Are Blood, Austin’s blood bank, says the need for blood wouldn’t be as critical in these situations if more people would sign up to give regularly. We Are Blood issued a statement Monday saying that blood has a shelf life of just...
Denver company buys Austin’s Rogue Running store

Denver company buys Austin’s Rogue Running store

A Denver-based company has acquired the retail operations of Austin’s Rogue Running. JackRabbit is the new owner of the Rogue Running store at 410 Pressler St., just west of downtown, which will be operated under the name Rogue Running by JackRabbit. The Rogue Running training centers and the Rogue Expeditions travel business weren’t included in the sale and will continue to operate separately...
Dating app Bumble expands into business networking

Dating app Bumble expands into business networking

Watch out, LinkedIn. Austin-based tech startup Bumble launched a business networking tool on Monday called Bumble Bizz that brings its women-first approach to meeting people to the world of business professionals. This move by Bumble, which launched as a smartphone dating app in 2013, could present a big challenge to LinkedIn, which thus far hasn’t had many serious competitors. Bumble also has...
Workforce plans put new emphasis on paid internships, apprenticeships

Workforce plans put new emphasis on paid internships, apprenticeships

It’s gotten so hard to find skilled welders, the factory managers at Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions hung a bell on the wall so they could celebrate their new hires. “We actually found one of these guys recently,” said Jeffrey Cottrell, the firm’s vice president of operations. The guy stopped by to drop off his résumé, and Cottrell, fetched by the office manager...
Main Street Hub plans 1,000-person HQ in East Austin

Main Street Hub plans 1,000-person HQ in East Austin

Austin-based online marketing firm Main Street Hub said Friday it plans to build a new corporate headquarters on the city’s east side capable of accommodating more than 1,000 employees. Main Street Hub co-CEOs Matt Stuart and Andrew Allison said the building, which is set to open in mid-2019, will consolidate about 600 product, engineering, sales and operations workers currently based in three...
Austin and Amazon’s HQ2: Could it — and should it — happen here?

Austin and Amazon’s HQ2: Could it — and should it — happen here?

Ever since Amazon suddenly announced Sept. 7 that it will build a second company headquarters, just about everyone has weighed in on Austin’s potential of landing the $5 billion project Amazon is calling “HQ2. Area economic experts say Austin — with its tech-heavy culture, flagship University of Texas campus and young labor force — has a fighting chance of landing the facility...
Austin alcohol sales fall 3 percent in August

Austin alcohol sales fall 3 percent in August

Alcohol sales at Austin bars, restaurants and hotels experienced a rare dip in August, falling 3 percent. An American-Statesman analysis of state data found that bartenders citywide poured $52.2 million worth of booze last month, down from $53.6 million in 2016. Across Texas, bar tabs totaled $474 million in August, a decrease of 2 percent year over year. The top-selling business statewide was the...
Why Austin-area Latinos saw a big boost in household incomes

Why Austin-area Latinos saw a big boost in household incomes

For almost two decades, Bladimira Martinez scraped by on $7-an-hour pay as a maid. Even when she broke off from the company to work for individual families, she could only make as much as she could clean in one day at $50 an hour. Martinez, 45, depended on her husband to make payments on their Pflugerville home, and the family barely had time for leisure, let alone vacations, with Martinez working...
Cal Thomas: Unnecessary roughness

Cal Thomas: Unnecessary roughness

If you like professional sports, a major reason — perhaps THE reason — you attend games, or watch them on TV, is that it helps you escape from whatever occupies your mind the rest of the week. You certainly don’t want the issues of the day encroaching on your enjoyment. The recent exchange of insults between President Trump and some in the National Football League was the latest...
Facebook plans expansion in downtown Austin

Facebook plans expansion in downtown Austin

In another major expansion for Facebook in Austin, the social media giant said it will lease more than 230,000 square feet of space in a 29-story office tower under construction downtown. The new space will nearly double the Silicon Valley company’s space in Austin, where Facebook already has 700 employees and a multimillion investment. To read the full story, go to www.512tech.com.
Commentary: What is Texas lacking for Amazon HQ? Honor for LGBT rights

Commentary: What is Texas lacking for Amazon HQ? Honor for LGBT rights

Amazon announced that it is seeking a second North American headquarters with up to $5 billion investment in facilities and 50,000 jobs at an average pay of $100,000 a year. This will be a major economic boon for both the state and city that lands the deal. Clearly, it would be among the largest corporate expansions in Texas history not related to energy. Not surprisingly, several Texas communities...
Work kicks off on state complex honoring President George H.W. Bush

Work kicks off on state complex honoring President George H.W. Bush

Former President George H. W. Bush, who used the phrase “a thousand points of light” to describe ordinary people working to improve their communities, was praised as a “supernova” of public service Thursday as state officials heralded the imminent start of construction on a $581 million project north of the Capitol that will include a building named in his honor. Bush&rsquo...
Commentary: Why Florida should reconsider its objections to NAFTA

Commentary: Why Florida should reconsider its objections to NAFTA

For an object lesson in the power of free trade, a visit to your local grocery store delivers the starkest example of what happens when we reduce barriers between sellers and consumers. Thanks to free and open trade, the concept of produce not being “in season” has faded into shoppers’ memories, along with cashiers manually punching prices into a cash register. Unfortunately, some...
Report: SXSW 2017 pumped $348.6 million into Austin’s economy

Report: SXSW 2017 pumped $348.6 million into Austin’s economy

South by Southwest contributed $348.6 million to the Austin metro area’s economy in its latest fiscal year, as the growth of the organization and higher attendance costs helped drive a resurgence of economic gains for the region, according to an analysis released Wednesday by festival organizers. While still short of the double-digit growth rates SXSW posted earlier this decade, this year&rsquo...
‘One-of-a-kind’ property on Barton Springs Road up for auction

‘One-of-a-kind’ property on Barton Springs Road up for auction

A “one-of-a-kind” Austin property set on a bluff overlooking Barton Springs Road will sell to the highest bidder through an online auction on Oct. 26. Joe Longton, the Austin real estate agent who has the listing, said he can see the 511 Barton Blvd. property selling to a wealthy buyer — such as a company executive or a movie star for their private residence — or to an office...
Austin firm acquires 2 assisted living facilities

Austin firm acquires 2 assisted living facilities

An Austin-based private equity firm said Monday that it has acquired a pair of assisted-living facilities. Thrive FP bought Autumn Leaves of Northwest Austin and Autumn Leaves of Glen Ellyn, Ill., from The LaSalle Group Inc. A purchase price wasn’t disclosed. Autumn Leaves of Northwest Austin is a 46-bed memory care center at 10025 Anderson Mill Road in Northwest Austin. It is being rebranded...
Amazon planning bookstore at Domain Northside

Amazon planning bookstore at Domain Northside

Amazon is poised to open a bookstore at Domain Northside next year. The location here, slated to open in early 2018, according to signage that went up over the weekend, would be similar to the 11 the online retailer already operates in San Jose, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; Chicago; Boston; Paramus, N.J.; New York; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle. Austin isn’t mentioned yet on Amazon’s list...
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