The future of Downtown Austin: Car-less complexes?

This time next year, developers will not only break ground on a new 30-story apartment complex downtown called "The Avenue" but they will be breaking into Austin's future.

"We are the first residential development downtown to build without parking." Brad Nelsen, lead developer of the project, said, "However we won't be the last."

Nelsen is helping lead the way of a new generation of projects for a new generation of Austinites.

"We believe there is a growing population base, in downtown, that is happy to walk, use alternative forms of transportation, ridesharing, that kind of thing, that really don't have a need for a car that'll sit in a parking garage," he said.

Miles Powell is a part of that growing population. Powell said he has never owned a car.

"I walk to work almost every day. If it's raining I'll use one of the ridesharing apps to get to work," he said.

Powell said he lives and works downtown and feels there are more efficient ways of getting where he needs to go without owning one.

"I understand that if you are trying to get out of the city, or the general downtown area, but it honestly just makes more sense just to rent a car on the weekends." Powell said, "But if you're going to be spending a majority of your time downtown and you're able to walk and get around through other means, it doesn't really make economical sense to buy a car and get insurance."

And as more people like Powell chose to use their legs to get to work, more developers will be turning parking into a thing of the past.

"The fact that people live in major cities without cars is nothing new. The fact that it's becoming a reality in Austin is kind of creeping up on everybody but it is going to happen," Nelsen said.

The Avenue will sit on the corner of 8th and Congress next to the Paramount Theater. It will be 30 stories tall and include 135 residential units as well as five floors of office space.

There is also a restaurant and cocktail lounge, as well as a gym and a pool.

Nelsen said unit inside The Avenue will be roughly 15% cheaper than other residences in the downtown area. Nelsen said the units will range from 420 to 970 square feet.

The development has an agreement in place with the Austin Theater Alliance to help alleviate some of the congestion within both the State and Paramount Theaters.

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