Katz’s Set To Close Doors For Last Time Jan 2

As most people are now aware, Katz’s is going out of business after 31 years and a series of recent financial woes. This is bound to affect surrounding businesses as Katz’s has been a draw to that area for years.

Some of what Statesman.com had to say:

Marc Katz’s delicatessen, a West Sixth Street institution, is closing, after 31 years in business and two bankruptcies. Katz, whose company, M&M Katz Inc., has been mired in U.S. Bankruptcy Court since July, said the deli will shut down Jan. 2.

"I have to go," Katz said. "It has been 31 years. I want to leave while I am happy and suppliers and employees are taken care of. I just think it is time."

Katz informed workers at the restaurant a few weeks ago that it would soon shut down. "We rode so high for so many years. I just don’t want to do it anymore," he said.

That gives the restaurant one more Christmas Day in operation. For many years of its operation, Katz’s was known for being one of the few prominent restaurants in Austin that was open on Christmas Day. The all-night deli’s well-known slogan was "Katz’s Never Kloses."

The parent company to the deli first filed for bankruptcy in 2004, citing heavy debt payments to lender Amresco Commercial Finance and Katz’s son, Barry, who runs a separate restaurant in Houston. That case was closed in 2006, after Katz sold three properties to raise cash.

Read More: Statesman.com

What’s Next For The Austin Museum of Art?


For close to 30 years, the Austin Museum of Art has clung to the dream of a permanent Downtown home on a block south of Republic Square Park, a dream it held on to even through the collapse of three separate building plans that were publicly announced. But the news last week that Travis County had contracted to buy the block AMOA owns between West Third and West Fourth and Guadalupe and San Antonio streets means that the museum has finally let go of that particular dream. So what does that mean for the museum’s future? Is this the end of AMOA’s pursuit of a new facility of its own?

Not at all, says AMOA board of trustees President Lynn Sherman. In fact, the sale of the land was instigated by the museum’s desire to find a way to move forward on the project that last stalled out two years ago this month when Houston-based developer Hines Interests LP withdrew from a partnership with AMOA to buy the eastern half of the block for a 30-story office tower. According to Sherman, in January 2010, the board began exploring all available property in the central business district – which he defined as being between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Barton Springs Road and just west of MoPac to just east of I-35 – to look for raw land on which a new facility might be constructed or an existing building that might be repurposed into a museum. In late spring, the board also started to entertain new options on the block it owns: offers to purchase the lot, in part or in its entirety, or to co-develop the lot with AMOA as Hines was to do. "Everything was on the table," says Sherman.

Read Full Article: Austin Chronicle

Redistricting Battles Ahead To Affect Downtown Austin

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, could be a target during redistricting, with census data released Dec. 21 showing Texas stands to gain four House seats.

Hispanic population growth is the driving factor behind the delegation increasing to 36 members. The data shows that Texas’ population grew by 4,293,741 people since 2000, an increase of 20.6 percent, for a total of 25,145,561 residents. The state has consistantly increased in population since 1910, according to the Census Bureau.

With Hispanics making up much of the new population growth in Texas, some of the new congressional district maps will have to be ethnically proportionate to get clearance under the Voting Rights Act, which aims to prevent discrimination. Census estimates show the state was about 37 percent Hispanic in 2009, compared with 32 percent Hispanic in 2000.

Blacks, the second-largest minority population in the state, held steady in 2000 and 2009 counts at about 12 percent.
[Read more…]

A Georgetown Twist On Christmas

Story From: News 8 Austin

Just 30 minutes away from Austin, Downtown Georgetown celebrated Christmas in a completely different way.

From a colorful parade down Main Street to a 15-foot snow hill in “Whoville,” Georgetown residents made the most of the week leading up to the holidays.

Stroll coordinator Jenny Phillips has been working the event for five years. She said this year was a chance for the city to go all out. “We did it way bigger. We usually have about 150 booths. This year 250 booths. We have an ice sculptor that’s performing on Austin Avenue. He’s carving out The Grinch right now, and the parade is the biggest it’s ever been because it’s the 30th year,” Phillips said.
[Read more…]

Near Complete W Hiring 300 In Austin

From: Austin American Statesman

The W Austin Hotel, nearing completion north of City Hall, will start hiring Thursday for 300 jobs. Openings range from food service to security, accounting and front desk positions. The W also is looking for a particular person to be its Insider — someone with “unparalleled local knowledge” who will be the face of the hotel.

The recruiting center, at 117 Lavaca St., will be open Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments will be available starting Monday. Candidates can apply online at www.whotels.jobs/austin or call 512-542-3680 for more information.

The 251-room hotel is part of the W Austin Hotel and Residences, which includes condominiums and new studios for the “Austin City Limits” music show on KLRU-TV.

Mortgage Rates Rise, Applications Fall

Mortgage applications plunged last week to a four-month low after mortgage rates jumped to 4.46% for an average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, up from 4.28% in the previous week, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported on Wednesday.

Overall applications were down 14.4%, but the plunge was sharper among refinances, which are much more sensitive to swings in rate. Refinance applications were down 16.5%, to the lowest level since July, while purchase applications were down 5%.

Read the full post at The Wall Street Journal