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We made another great edition Friday.

  • Early, somehow Ricardo talking taking photos around town (he and Lino have been urging each other on, apparently) took us through Bear Ryan and then a collection of hoaxes and benevolent pranks, including:
  • Max Kolomatsky who redesigns signs in NYC without anyone asking him to (for example):
  • Jason Roberts and crew concocting the Bishop Arts District from thin air and later returning street cars to South Oak Cliff (btw, Austin once had them, too):
“We’re bringing the street car back. All I did was build a website. That’s all I did. And we’re bringing the street car back after half a century.”
  • the origins of the Texas Medal of Arts
  • also Knitta Please; Candy Chang; Rémi Gaillard; the Yes Men; and hoaxes in general.
  • A few folks shared impressions from this year’s SXSW as well as recent Wizard Academy Friday happy hours.
  • We discussed Mozart’s endless layout tinkering over all these years, which reminded me of the days that I, inspired by This Is Not A Pipe, would tape a This Is Not A Door sign over a suddenly-not-a-door-anymore window.
  • Somebody hacked Treaty Oak.
  • Two trolls arrived.
  • Based on our discussions about photography, continuity, change, place, and more, I recommended Smoke:
  • A long conversation about Outdoor Voices leaving all retail locations led into risk capital, the recent history of finance, through conglomerates and corporate raiders and venture capital, about beta and Black-Scholes, and much more, including two book recommendations — Den of Thieves and Barbarians At The Gate. (I wish we could have had Gary H, Maury M, and Steve L along for this one.)
  • We also talked about Tips Iron & Steel, now ATX Steel, with its amazing interior, unbelievable location, and long history:

The Tips site is one of the few large, contiguous pieces of property left in downtown Austin, Obenhaus says.

“We’ve done some preliminary meetings with the neighbors and have shown our plans to the city, and had a very good response from them,” Obenhaus says. “It’s really an underutilized property in its current condition.”

About 2.8 acres of the site is considered vacant, but a 10,000-square-foot 1904 vintage warehouse and other older structures dominate the rest of the land. Obenhaus says the brick and steel warehouse may be incorporated into future development plans, due to its historic character.

If the site is developed for multifamily use, it would be entering a blossoming local market, according to one local market study.

The study by NAI/Commercial Industrial Properties Co. found city-wide multifamily occupancy rates at 96 percent at the end of 1998, with downtown rates as high as 99 percent for properties 13 to 20 years old.

Tips was founded in Austin in 1899 as the Tips Foundry & Machine Co. by Walter Tips and his son-in-law, Adolph Carl Goeth. The company originally serviced and repaired engines and other mechanical equipment, but later went on to build a full range of gasoline-powered engines for irrigation pumps, power plants and cotton gins.

In the late 1920s and 1930s, Tips began manufacturing structural steel for bridges and buildings. The company’s work can still be seen in the Driskill Hotel and the Travis County Courthouse.

ABJ from April 1999: “Developers cast eyes on ironworks facility”

We caught perfect conditions, a bright crisp clear morning just after a quick downpour.

See you Friday.