BG Reads | News You Need to Know (October 1, 2019)



NEW -> Episode 54: Austin Market Perspective with Zach Cannon of The Burt Group (LINK TO SHOW)

Shout out to Zach for being BG Podcast's highest viewed episode this month. If you haven't listened to it yet, don't miss out and listen today! Coming tomorrow, Episode 55: Exploring Austin's Commercial Tenant Market with JLL's Bre Brown


Massive redevelopment moves ahead near Domain (Austin Business Journal)

Brandywine Realty Trust is moving forward with the redevelopment of its massive Broadmoor campus next door to The Domain in North Austin.

The Philadelphia-based real estate company recently hired Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. to exclusively handle marketing and sales for a small piece of the campus: a 1.7-acre retail and hospitality site along Burnet Road.

It is just a tentative first step in a process that could bring shops, residences, offices and perhaps even a train stop to this high-profile site wedged between The Domain and Charles Schwab's relatively new campus. And other hints about the future of the site can be found in public records… (LINK TO STORY)

Parks board tries to negotiate impasse over use of Republic Square (Austin Monitor)

Managers of the weekly farmers market that has taken place at Republic Square since 2003 have expressed frustration that the Downtown Austin Alliance’s use of the space for special events has started to negatively impact some of the more than 60 vendors.

At last week’s meeting of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board, a representative from the Sustainable Food Center, which manages the market, said the setup for DAA-managed events has caused occasional reconfiguration of vendors, which impacts their business and has caused some vendors to move to other markets.

The issue came up while the board was considering an amendment to the city’s agreement with the Austin Parks Foundation at Downtown Austin Parks LLC, the entity formed by DAA for its role in handling the maintenance and programming of Republic Square. The amendment didn’t specifically address closures of the property for special events, but the board voted unanimously to delay action on the amendment so that Sustainable Food Center and DAA can continue their talks regarding the impact of events on the popular market that attracts roughly 2,000 visitors each week… (LINK TO STORY)

Austin Still Struggles With Pay Equity, Rent Costs And High Rates Of Uninsured Children (KUT)

Fifty-five percent of Austinites rent, according to American Community Survey data, compared to the 45% of homeowners. That's nothing new, really. Renters have outnumbered owners in Austin for the better part of a decade.

What is noteworthy is how much Austinites (continue) to overspend on rent. National guidelines suggest paying no more than a third of your income on rent. In Austin, 49% of renters spend 30% or more of their household income on rent – and 65.7% of those people are in units with rents of $1,500 or less a month. 

Statewide that share of people paying $1,500 or less in monthly rent is considerably higher at 81%. The statewide makeup of renters and owners is nearly flipped – 61% of homes are owner-occupied, compared to 38% renters – and half of those renters are considered cost-burdened, spending 30% or more of their income on rent… (LINK TO STORY)


HEB Ends Its Sales Of Vaping And E-cigarette Products (KUT)

E-Cigarettes will no longer be found on the shelves of HEB. The San Antonio based grocer stopped supplying the smoking alternative last week.

HEB spokeswoman Dya Campos said the company based its decision on the fact children and young adults were using the product.

“We share the concern of many Texas parents that the risks are too unknown at this time and we share the general public health concern in these products,” she said.

Campos added HEB will continue to sell traditional tobacco products. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control reported 805 cases of lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette and vaping products in 46 states… (LINK TO STORY)

Democratic leaders in the House rally behind U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar amid primary challenge (Texas Tribune)

Two of the most powerful Democrats in Congress are making their support for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, crystal clear as he faces a spirited primary challenge from his left.

During appearances this weekend in Austin, including at The Texas Tribune Festival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Cheri Bustos, the head of the House Democrats' campaign arm, lavished praise on Cuellar, and Bustos said more than once that she was not concerned about his reelection prospects.

"Henry Cuellar knows that district like the back of his hand," Bustos said Saturday at a briefing for reporters. "I completely support him. ... He has very good relationships with the vast majority of his colleagues — who are supportive of him — and I think he'll be fine."… (LINK TO STORY)

Top House Armed Services Republican Mac Thornberry won't seek reelection (Politico)

Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry announced on Monday that he won’t seek reelection in 2020, marking yet another high-profile retirement for House Republicans.

As the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Thornberry was a vocal supporter of efforts to boost military spending and helped win major increases in the defense budget under President Donald Trump.

"It has been a great honor to serve the people of the 13th District of Texas as their congressman for the last 25 years," Thornberry, 61, said in a statement. "They have given me opportunities to serve the nation in ways I could have never imagined, including as Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee… (LINK TO STORY)

What is Texas' Castle Doctrine and what does it mean in the Amber Guyger case? (Texas Tribune)

On Monday, State District Court Judge Tammy Kemp allowed jurors to consider what's called the "Castle Doctrine" in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed 26-year-old unarmed Botham Jean in his apartment after mistaking it for her own.

Jean lived one floor above Guyger and worked at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Guyger, who was fired after the 2018 shooting, had just completed a nearly 14-hour work shift.

Closing arguments were heard on Monday. The jury is expected to resume deliberations Tuesday… (LINK TO STORY)


California to let college athletes sign endorsement deals (San Francisco Chronicle)

Defying the NCAA, California opened the way Monday for college athletes to hire agents and make money from endorsement deals with sneaker companies, soft drink makers, car dealerships and other sponsors, just like the pros. The first-in-the-nation law, signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and set to take effect in 2023, could upend amateur sports in the U.S. and trigger a legal challenge.

Newsom and others cast it as an attempt to bring more fairness to big-money college athletics and let players share in the wealth they create for their schools. Critics have long complained that universities are getting rich off the backs of athletes — often, black athletes struggling to get by financially. "Other college students with a talent, whether it be literature, music, or technological innovation, can monetize their skill and hard work," the governor said. "Student athletes, however, are prohibited from being compensated while their respective colleges and universities make millions, often at great risk to athletes' health, academics and professional careers."… (LINK TO STORY)

Shale boom is slowing just when the world needs oil most (Wall Street Journal)

The American shale boom is slowing as innovation plateaus—and just when shale’s importance in global markets has reached new highs following an attack on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure. U.S. oil production increased by less than 1% during the first six months of the year, according to the Energy Department, down from nearly 7% growth over the same period last year.

Unlike several years ago, when shale production fell due to a global price collapse, the slowdown this year is driven partly by core operational issues, including wells producing less than expected after being drilled too close to one another, and sweet spots running out sooner than anticipated. The challenges raise the prospect that the technological and engineering advances that have allowed shale companies to unlock record amounts of oil and gas from rock formations have begun to level off… (LINK TO STORY)

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