Wednesday, July 28, 2010

East Austin Neighborhood Profile: French Place

Where can a food trailer selling BBQ and a 1900's Victorian coexist? French Place in Austin TX, that's where!

Geographically French Place is defined as the area between Manor and 38 1/2th, west of Airport Boulevard and east of I-35. French Place is also sometimes referred to as Cherrywood. Whatever you want to call it--in my opinion, this neighborhood is one of Austin's coolest places to live.

The houses here are older (30's and 40's mostly), charming and have good sized lots. Prices range from $250k-$375k.

The proximity to both Concordia University and The University of Texas makes this neighborhood attractive to students and professors and also makes it a good option if you are looking for a property to run as an income generating investment. The proximity to downtown is also very appealing to young professionals and really, anyone who wants to be close to the cultural centers of Austin.

The tree lined streets and eclectic architecture make this a great walking/biking neighborhood. You could never describe French Place as homogenized or ordinary. All along Manor Road you can find many great restaurants and coffee shops. There's Eastside Cafe where they serve vegetables grown in their awesome garden that you can stroll through while you wait for your table, Thunderbird Coffee has a great outdoor patio, good coffee and is a great place to work. I often schedule meetings there. El Chilito's tacos and agua fresca are so good and so affordable. And then, of course the new addition of Franklin's BBQ food trailer---get there early, they sell out fast.

In December, the Cherrywood Art Fair is a great place to get holiday gifts that are made by local crafters and artists. The Vortex Theater has youth programs as well as regular performances. All in all there's just a lot going on in and around the French Place neighborhood.

So, if you are looking to be in a neighborhood that is in a great urban location and has tons of personality, consider French Place!

Contact me if you would like more information about French Place or other Austin neighborhoods.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

South Austin Neighborhood Profile: Southwood

I am working on a series of  Austin neighborhood profiles. Those of you who know me, know that South Austin is where I live and often work---so it seemed like the best place to start!

Do you like to avoid IH 35? Do you like Sno Cones? Do you like to go to a corner store that is not corporate owned? Would you like to have a couple of chickens? Do you value space over status? If so, Southwood could be the neighborhood for you!

Geographically, Southwood is defined by Ben White Boulevard to the North, Manchaca Road to the west, W. Stassney Lane to the west (to the RR tracks) and to the east, South First Street including the greenbelt surrounded by Williamson Creek east of the intersection of South First Street and Emerald Wood Street .

You see a lot of bumper stickers around town promoting the virtues of South Austin and their corresponding zip codes and there is an undeniable sense of neighborhood pride that exists south of the river. South Austin represents a lack of pretense and harmony for many of it’s residents and I am really proud to count myself among them.

In recent years,  home values in the Travis Heights, Bouldin Creek, Zilker and SOCO neighborhoods have increased greatly, pricing out many first time home buyers. In my experience, those buyers are heading south of Ben White and it’s easy to see why.

In Travis Heights a 2 bedroom / 1 bath house under 1000 sqft can cost $350,000 and up. It will probably be really awesome and charming. It will be within walking distance to all kinds of cool stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love Travis Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods, but for many folks this is not a viable financial option.

In the Southwood area you can find a 3 bedroom / 2 bath house, 1200 sqft + with some good yard space for under $225,000! A majority of the houses were built in the 60’s and 70’s. These eras  don’t always conjure up charm and style for many folks (much like the 30’s and 40’s era houses do), but these properties have great potential and many creative folks are making great design choices and are realizing that you don’t have to sacrifice style for space.

This neighborhood is also shaping up to be a good place to invest. We have seen very healthy appreciation in this area in the last 5-7 years and there is no indication that it won’t continue.

People who want to buy in the Travis Heights, Bouldin Creek, Zilker and SOCO neighborhoods, but can’t--don’t want to go north, so south of Ben White is where they are choosing to live. It's easy to get to downtown and avoid IH35, Central Market and a Newflower Market are nearby, there are many parks and public pools around, and lots of taco stands and sno-cone trucks.

Contact me if you would like to know more about Southwood or other South Austin neighborhoods.