Probably not one person reading this blog gives a shit about this at all, but the Austin Contrarian has a nice post up today about why the city should possibly forego density bonuses in the future. It's a discussion.
For those unawares, "density bonuses" are what the city requires for developers to build high-rise buildings downtown (there's been a lot of talk about them recently, obviously). Right now, the legal limit for height is set at, I believe, 8 stories. For anything beyond that, the developer must offer density bonuses, like make a certain percentage of their building middle-income, or donate to a community non-profit, or invest in some kind of something that makes Austin unique, like supporting a musical venue or something. Sounds great, right? It's a win-win for everybody. And it keeps building somewhat regulated and not totally out of control. The Austin Contrarian makes some tentative arguments otherwise. Which are compelling, and have mostly to do with taxes and economics, which I know nothing about, though I find his post very interesting. And informative!
Personally, my favorite condos downtown are the two condos that are old buildings that have been modified. Brazos Place and the Brown Building are the first places I would look if I was looking to invest in downtown. I like the boxy architecture, and the fact that they're not too tall. And the Brown Building is really historical and beautiful. I love its windows.