Bets on real estate

While I was sitting in a waiting-room that will go unnamed, my eye was caught by a full-page ad in a national shelter magazine. Among the residences featured in the ad was one very close to IH-35 and its frontage roads. Some houses even closer did eventually sell, but only after major noise-reduction measures were implemented. No prices are shown for two of the three houses shoehorned onto steep lots on Riverside (1107A and 1107B) and being marketed by the same team marketing the house in the ad; the third, which is the one in the magazine ad, is “offered” at $979,000. The appraisal roll shows A and B as condominium properties. So, when it comes to these properties, somebody bought the land at a low price for that part of town, going by the history of the appraised value, and has invested a substantial amount to place new and tall housing on them, wagering, no doubt, that they will be toured by prospective buyers at the “quiet” times of day or the “quiet” days of the week, whenever they may be.

The Austin Independent School District is makiing bets on the future of Austin real estate, too. In a feature in today’s local daily about Linder Elementary (“Crowding puts Linder Elementary in a bind,” byline Raven L. Hill), conditions at just one school are examined. If anyone missed the process leading up to school-bond elections, this article points up how important it is for everyone to follow it next time around. Here’s a quotation from the article, indicating that, apparently based on speculative real-estate predictions, entire generations of elementary-school attendees are to be deprived of even the possibility of a new school or one without large numbers of portable buildings: “District officials said they don’t want to build an elementary in Southeast Austin because of projected housing trends over the next 10 to 15 years. Apartments along Riverside Drive, where many Linder families live, are prime locations for high-priced condominiums.” The bet is that those projects now planned, some of which may never be built, will be too expensive for any households with children. I’d like to know just who those unnamed district officials are.

People who find that a perch atop highway-land is just what they like may be less rare than one would think. That’s their business. But when it comes to school-district assessments of the future Austin real-estate market, I’d like to know whether those unnamed officials have kids and, if so, where those kids attend school. I’d also like to know why they weren’t willing to speak for attribution. Just wondering.

2 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham (unregistered) on February 11th, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

    Since I live in walking distance of Linder, the Metro cover story has a special interest for me. I posted last week about the school transfer process. Obviously, it’d be nice if we had a school that wasn’t overcrowded in our own neighborhood.

    It should also be pointed out that there’s a moderately sized townhome development going in immediately to the north of Linder (Edgewick). I’m not sure if they’re planning on selling to families or not, but you’d think that there’d at least be some children there.

    The development of the East Riverside drive corridor may be affecting a lot of the planning in that area. The day labor site that went in at Midnight Rodeo on Ben White would’ve made much more sense on East Riverside. I’ve heard it didn’t go there because of the dollar signs that people (including at least one city council member) are seeing in redevelopment on East Riverside.

  2. Rantor (unregistered) on February 13th, 2008 @ 10:05 am

    I can do my own on-line stuff only when I’m on dial-up and so haven’t been able to see the school-transfer video. I didn’t realize that among the schools dealt with in the TV story was Linder. There will be children south of the river and east of IH-35 for years and years to come; not everything will become high-dollar condos. I feel so sad to be on Riverside and see young families including babes in arms and toddlers in strollers trying to cross when the traffic signals are too far apart and where, even if signals are in place, there’s not enough time allotted for any pedestrian to cross safely, let alone a family grouping. I’m angry at the school district for building palaces on the edge of town while keeping so-called "portable buildings" in operation for decade after decade in the heart of Austin and including the portables as physical space counting toward "under-enrollment" for some schools when the buildings should have been long gone. Certainly attendance lines need to be redrawn to favor families within walking distance of existing schools and to take into account major thoroughfares that present access difficulties even for students of high-school age. No matter where the "official" southside day-labor site is, there’s a lot of action at the old Aquarius Theater and at other locations along and just off Riverside. What a waste all those acres and acres of parking lots are, the ones that stand vacant all the time. I write as a former customer of the Town Lake MiniMax and the Safeway of fond memory.

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