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Austin's Identity Crisis for Downtown Austin Real Estate

Oct 11, 2007
Some Austinites are not excited about the changes going on. The corporations moving in, the family-owned and operated businesses go down while the thirty-six story condos go up. People who have lived here all their lives (or even just more than ten years) say that this is a different city than the one they remember. Back when they might not even have called Austin a "city".

There was a time when Motorola was just a type of phone people had, not a place where they worked. When video games were a thing people played, not designed. Where Dell was a thing from a song about a farmer, not a computer company. In short, there was a time when Austin was a big, friendly village where everyone seemed to know everyone.

Now, it's hard to see the sky without noticing the foreboding skeleton of an incoming condominium projects or a crane in your periphery. Developers are buying up land and displacing local businesses in order to get the best spot downtown for a high rise that will dwarf all the others, that will sell for more money, that will be nicer and closer to all the downtown attractions.

But what are those attractions?

There will always be a Congress Bridge, and so there will always be bats. But will people want to walk from the Sheraton to see them, then get a drink at the Coyote Ugly Saloon franchise? Will they want to eat at the Baby Acapulcos? What will make the town special when Las Manitas is gone, when all the little businesses that got us to this point are gone, and the only choices for restaurants are in the lobbies of the newest hotels?

What will make Austin Austin? It's a good question.

It's easy to see that the city has lost some its appeal. Its uniqueness, its originality. Big business has a way of doing that. But is it so bad? Is it really true that there will be nothing left?

Those small, local places brought people here, it's true. And they certainly gave Austin its flavor. But millions more people are here now. The city has grown by leaps and bounds. People still need places to live. And the more people there are, the more money is being spent. There is much to be thankful for when we think about this new "bigger" Austin. The Austin real estate market values go up. Many businesses prosper. The city has more money to improve infrastructure and city services like parks. Its hard to allow it to change some of what we love, and some of the changes I'm not happy with. But overall I think it will be okay.

The key is that the people are still here. The same people that made Austin the coolest city in the... well, in my opinion in the entire country are still here. They're still waving at you from their yard, still smiling at you on the street. The buildings aren't the personality in the city, the people in them are. So let's make sure those people dont go anywhere, and we're all gonna be just fine. Yes, we may have to part with a couple businesses and landmarks dear to our hearts, but as long as Austinites keep true to what we love about this city, we will retain the part of our identity that is the most important.
About the Author
Ki Gray works for Austin Real Estate a small company in Austin Texas. Their website provides a search for Austin Homes along with information on downtown Austin Condos
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