BG Reads + BG Podcast | News You Need to Know (February 6, 2019)



Episode 33: Emily Chenevert, CEO at Austin Board of REALTORS®

(RUN TIME - 14:22)

On today’s episode we speak with Emily Chenevert, CEO at Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR). She and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham

Named CEO of the 13,000 member association in April 2018, she previously served as ABoR's Chief Operating Officer, and has nearly 15 years of experience directly advocating for REALTORS® and their business at all levels of government.

She recently launched ABoR’s first podcast, ScratchThat, a series peeling the layers back on the national trends in real estate. 

This episode was recorded on December 20, 2018.

Link to Episode 33


Casar seeks to reduce parking, compatibility requirements for subsidized housing (Austin Monitor)

City Council Member Greg Casar is proposing a measure aimed at maximizing the impact of low-income housing developments in Austin.

The measure, which was unveiled Tuesday and will be on Council’s agenda Feb. 21, directs city staff to craft an ordinance that will allow subsidized housing developments to forgo many of the city’s land use regulations.

The proposal targets developments where at least half of the units are restricted to those with incomes at or below 60 percent of the area median income, which is $36,120 for a single person or $51,600 for a family of four. It would also require that the developments have a certain number of units with multiple bedrooms….

Link to story

See also: Link to Affordability Unlocked Resolution

Zoning change sought for East Riverside apartment projects (Austin American-Statesman)

Signaling more change for the rapidly transforming East Riverside Drive area, local developers are seeking to rezone two parcels near Oracle’s campus to allow them to build two projects that could have 1,000 luxury apartments, retail space and possibly commercial uses.

The tracts are currently home to the Mesh apartments, whose monthly rents range from $1,034 for a studio to $1,979 for a three-bedroom unit. The proposed projects are part of a tide of new residential and commercial development that has been sweeping the East Riverside area, and that has led to concerns by some about the area’s ongoing gentrification.

The apartments were built in the 1960s and 1970s, said Diana Zuniga, one of the managing partners of the partnership that owns the properties. Because of the city’s lengthy approvals and permitting process, it will be “a minimum of three years” before any new development would break ground, Zuniga said. With the rezoning still pending, renderings are not yet available of the proposed project, she said…

Link to story

Industrious expanding coworking space in Austin as demand continues to grow (Austin Business Journal)

New York-based Industrious LLC is expanding in Austin as the need for coworking space continues to grow in the tech hub.

Industrious Austin will open a second location — 23,658 square feet — at 823 Congress Ave. in the third quarter of 2019, the company announced on Tuesday.

This space is in addition to the existing 5th and Colorado location that has been operating at close to full occupancy since it opened in 2016, according to Industrious.

"At Industrious, we have an exhaustive approach to site selection to deliver an amazing workplace experience to our members,” Troy Volkel, real estate manager, Industrious, said in a statement. “Neighborhood amenities, accessibility, and tons of natural light are just a few of the things we consider. 823 Congress is centrally located with visibility from Austin's main thoroughfare and the building's redevelopment plans as well as proximity to downtown amenities, shopping, and dining options were extremely appealing. Industrious members will love it."…

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Abbott Names School Finance, Property Taxes, Mental Health As Emergency Items In State Of The State (KUT)

Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address today before the Texas Legislature. He kicked off the speech with a long list of platitudes about the state: from leading the nation in job creation to having the fastest growing economy in the U.S. to hitting its lowest recorded level of unemployment ever.

The state of Texas has never been better, he said…

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Layoffs, economic development deal cancellations on table in Austin if state tax reform proposals become law (Community Impact)

Local leaders say city personnel, economic development incentive deals, labor contracts and service programs are all at stake should the property tax revenue cap bills proposed by the Texas Legislature last week gain traction.

After a failed attempt to pass similar laws in 2017, the Texas House and Senate introduced tax reform bills on Jan. 31 that would restrict cities like Austin—those which collect more that $15 million in annual property tax revenue—from increasing property tax rates that fund city operations by more than 2.5 percent without voter approval.

The property tax revenue cap for taxing entities currently stands at 8 percent. With the exception of last year, Austin City Council has increased city taxes by or near the legal maximum—between 7 and 8 percent—each year since the new 10-1 council took over in 2015…

Link to story

Beto O'Rourke says he's excited at the prospect of running for president. He'll decide this month. (Texas Tribune)

Beto O'Rourke said Tuesday he will decide whether to run for president by the end of the month, signaling his closely watched deliberations over a 2020 run are entering their final stages.

The former Democratic congressman from El Paso and U.S. Senate nominee made the comment during an interview with media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who pressed him on his long-awaited decision — and whether he's given himself a deadline.

"The serious answer is really soon," O'Rourke replied. "Before the end of this month."…

Link to story


'Tonight, I Ask You To Choose Greatness,' Trump Says (KUT)

The stakes were high for President Trump ahead of his second State of the Union speech, as he remains at a logjam with Congress over immigration in the shadow of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Tonight was the first time Trump addressed Congress with Democrats controlling the House, and the White House has said in the days leading up to the important annual address that the president will make a bipartisan pitch, outlining a "policy agenda both parties can rally behind."

"The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people," Trump will say, according to prepared remarks…

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The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.


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