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How’s Downtown Austin Setting The Standard? Public-Private Partnerships


Rainey Street’s bars and 2nd Street District’s shopping often get credit for the cool factor that makes Austin unique. But before shops and bars could open, the city had to lay the groundwork.

Downton Austin has an incredible coalition with partnerships, Page senior principal Larry Speck said at Bisnow’s Future of Downtown Austin event last week. Before Rainey became a nightlife destination, the city had to do some serious upzoning. 

The city also owns a considerable amount of Downtown land. How it interacts with developers depends on the site, Greystar managing director Eddie Yarmer said. Greystar doesn’t typically like ground leases with cities, but it can benefit from an adjacent project on a ground lease. The city’s involvement in a neighborhood makes it more vibrant, which attracts residents.

The Fairmont Hotel, which opens in August 2017, is on a 99-year ground lease with the city. Manchester Financial Group president Doug Manchester thinks the city has made a great commitment to the community with its involvement in the redevelopment of Waller Creek and Doug is excited to have Manchester’s 1,048-room hotel on the banks.

Here are Larry, panel moderator Stewart Title SVP Bob Roberts, Doug and Eddie.