Friday, April 3, 2009

Our (New) Neighbors to the West

Check this out! This is the artist's rendering of the residential complex currently under construction directly across the street from Dog Park. The point of view, in fact, is from Dog Park. Gosh, isn't it idyllic? It's always April! Notice all the beautiful, blossoming shrubbery in the foreground that is currently not planted on Dog Park. Look at the cars, modest sedans, lazily cruising down a cobble-stoned Bull Creek Boulevard. And the tiny, well-dressed people who are walking to and from the foyer of the building housing their expensive "multi-family units," along with their private pools and gymnasium. After all, where else would they be walking? To the nonexistent nearby grocery store? To the thriving local businesses? To the nearby University? The reality is, they are either walking to see their grannies at the retirement home around the corner, the plastic surgeon two blocks down, or to the Dog Park. And how will they cross the street safely, I wonder.

Because the fact is that once these 329 units are available (which, according to were supposed to be ready and available now, completed by "4Q 2009"), the lovely, tree-lined boulevard pictured above will become a traffic nightmare, especially around prime-time Dog Park visitation hours. (After all, to get to the conveniently located Mopac Expressway, Post-West Austin dwellers will need to make two left-hand turns, the first from their own parking garage driveway, without the benefit of a traffic light.) And, despite some speculation around Dog Park that the units might be corporate apartments, which would limit the number of potential new Park attendees, the site bills the "units" (apartments? condos? Are these words suddenly politically incorrect now?) as "multi-family." Which means what? Where I come from, the (sub)urban northeast, multifamily means a jumbling Victorian house whose floors were converted into shag-rug-and-panelling lined apartments and whose residents yell out the windows ("Yo, Tony! Where's Frankie?"), hang laundry on lines strung between the buildings, and throw firecrackers from their porches for most of the month of July. I doubt that is what the good developers of Post West Austin intend. 

When I went to the Web site listed above, I was unable to find answers some basic questions: Are the units condos or apartments? How much are they? How many people can live in each "multi-family unit"? Will pets be allowed? Will there any conditions on the pets—their size and number? The site is obviously aimed at giving credit to the developers, not providing much info to potential buyers or renters or their existing neighbors. There is no schpiel about the neighborhood, other than its convenient location near Mopac and the University. What I want is insight into the kinds of people who will live in the things. Who are they? What do they want from my neighborhood? I want to be able to predict their impact on my insular little world of Dog Park. Right now, the vibe I'm getting is not a good one, despite the artistry of the rendering at the top of this page. More to come, I am sure. 

Art source:


1 comment:

  1. You raise some excellent questions! I've been watching them finish off those units with the red doors that open directly onto the street. I keep thinking, "they're going to put those behind some kind of small courtyard or fence...aren't they?" No, I think they're going to open directly onto a busy street with a bus line. Where it isn't uncommon already for the houses further (farther?)to the south to be victims of kick-in robberies of the opportunist kind.

    I think they bought into their own rendering of the cozy neighborhood when they were designing this place.


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