BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 6, 2019)
Episode 49 - Downtown Talk with Kevin Burns, Founder and CEO, Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors
On today’s episode we speak with Kevin Burns, founder and CEO of Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors. Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham discusses Urbanspace’s evolution as well as thoughts on brand development, entrepreneurship, and hustle with Kevin.
Founded as real estate office in 2000, Urbanspace has evolved into a full-service firm specializing in residential real estate, project sales + marketing, and interior design + furniture.
The firm is linked to some of Austin’s most visible downtown projects, including the Seaholm Residences (where they closed all 274 units) and The Independent, the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi, expected to close out in 2019.
Follow Urbanspace on Twitter at: @urbanspace
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City releases road map for ‘agent of change,’ sound compatibility issues (Austin Monitor)
The city’s Economic Development and Development Services departments will spend much of the next 12 months implementing a variety of measures to reduce noise complaints and other issues that arise between residents and nearby entertainment businesses.
On Wednesday, EDD released a summary of the steps that will need to be taken at the administrative level to address sound compatibility issues, with improved enforcement of noise violations one of four key focus areas.
The other three are implementing an “agent of change” principle into the city’s building and land use codes to make new businesses responsible for sound mitigation; improving sound monitoring practices after an acoustic study to determine allowable noise levels; and encouraging more partnerships between residents and surrounding businesses to find solutions for noise and other quality of life issues… (LINK TO STORY)
Council to weigh money for a new homeless shelter (Austin Monitor)
City Council members will vote today on items that would expand the number of beds in Austin’s homeless shelters.
Council will vote to direct staff to find land and funding for an emergency shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness. Members could also approve a one-time donation of city money to help the Salvation Army reduce a $4 million funding gap for the Rathgeber Center for Families in East Austin, which is slated to open this summer.
If approved, the new emergency shelter would temporarily house up to 100 individuals.
Interim Homeless Strategy Officer Veronica Briseño says the shelter would follow the city’s housing-first strategy, which pairs clients with case managers to cut down on lengthy stays at Austin’s shelters… (LINK TO STORY)
Lawsuit seeks to keep Dripping Springs wastewater out of Onion Creek (Austin American-Statesman)
Austin water watchdog group Save Our Springs Alliance is going to court to stop the state’s environmental agency from allowing the city of Drippings Springs to release treated wastewater into Onion Creek, a waterway that feeds the Barton Springs portion of the Edwards Aquifer.
After four years of hearings and arguments over a permit to discharge the treated wastewater, the SOS Alliance alleges in a civil suit filed in Travis County that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would be violating state and federal anti-pollution laws, including the 1972 Clean Water Act… (LINK TO STORY)
As national attention focuses on Dallas violent crime spike, Police Chief U. Renee Hall's words cause commotion (Dallas Morning News)
As a spike in violent crime in Dallas picked up national attention, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall took the podium at a news conference Monday to assure residents that officers will be proactive fighting crime. Instead, Hall caused a commotion.
Hall, while trying to explain the increase in violent crime that has now even caught Gov. Greg Abbott’s eye, said people in Dallas “who have returned from prison who can't find a job, who are not educated so in those instances” have been “forced to commit violent crimes.” In spirit, Hall’s comments echoed the calls of social justice advocates — District Attorney John Creuzot among them — who believe the system fails to give people second chances, leaving them in a cycle of poverty and crime… (LINK TO STORY)
City Council could vote to drastically reshape areas near downtown San Antonio (San Antonio Express-News)
San Antonio officials are on the cusp of enacting a plan that could drastically reshape development in areas near downtown and along Broadway within the next two decades.
Residential and office development along Broadway has surged since 2010, fueled by the redevelopment of the abandoned Pearl Brewery into a mixed-use development with high-end apartments, restaurants and shops. City and county officials also have brought residents back downtown by subsidizing the construction of thousands of housing units in the area. The Midtown Area Regional Center Plan could be the city’s next step in trying to revitalize San Antonio’s urban core… (LINK TO STORY)
Would you like wine or ale with your home-delivered meal? 'Enjoy,’ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says (Dallas Morning News)
Texans who like to order home delivery of prepared meals from grocery store cafes can have wine and ale brought to them as well under a bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Currently, cafes at groceries such as H-E-B’s Central Markets and Amazon’s Whole Foods Markets may deliver beer that is less than 5% alcohol by volume to people’s homes.
Senate Bill 1232 by Conroe Republican Sen. Brandon Creighton and Fort Worth GOP Rep. Craig Goldman expands the alcoholic beverages that could be delivered. Wine and “malt beverages,” such as ales that are more than 5% alcohol, could be ferried by the grocery store cafes along with beer. Abbott, tie loosened and sitting at his desk at the Capitol, tweeted out a video late Monday that showed him making a quip or two as he signed the bill. “Enjoy responsibly,” the Republican governor said… (LINK TO STORY)
Mexico draws red line on asylum as Trump tariff risk rises (Reuters)
Mexico said on Monday it would reject a U.S. idea to take in all Central American asylum seekers if it is raised at talks this week with the Trump administration, which has threatened to impose tariffs if Mexico does not crack down on illegal immigration.
President Donald Trump said last week he would impose a blanket tariff on Mexican imports on June 10 to try to pressure Mexico to tackle large flows of mostly Central American migrants passing through en route to the United States. The move has spooked global markets worried about a new front in the U.S. trade war… (LINK TO STORY)
Tech giants amass a lobbying army for an epic Washington battle (Austin Business Journal)
Faced with the growing possibility of antitrust actions and legislation to curb their power, four of the biggest technology companies are amassing an army of lobbyists as they prepare for what could be an epic fight over their futures.
Initially slow to develop a presence in Washington, the tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — have rapidly built themselves into some of the largest players in the influence and access industry as they confront threats from the Trump administration and both parties on Capitol Hill.
The four companies spent a combined $55 million on lobbying last year, doubling their combined spending of $27.4 million in 2016, and some are spending at a higher rate so far this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying and political contributions. That puts them on a par with long-established lobbying powerhouses like the defense, automobile and banking industries… (LINK TO STORY)
FIRM UPDATE: Bingham Group Adds Tina Bui as Senior Consultant for Land Use and Transportation
The Bingham Group, LLC (Bingham Group), an Austin based consulting firm providing government affairs, public affairs, land use, and procurement services, today announced the addition of Tina Bui as a Senior Consultant.
An Austinite since childhood, Tina is a local government insider with 20 years of experience in public policy and administration. Having built the bulk of her career at the City of Austin and Capital Metro, she has rare experience on all sides of City Hall- having served as a policy adviser to an Austin council member, staffer in multiple City departments, and political appointee to the City of Austin’s Planning Commission.
Her work has covered countless issue areas, including land use planning; transportation, public transit and smart mobility; water and waste management utilities; and general government administration… (READ MORE)