BG Reads | News You Need to Know (June 7, 2019)
Episode 49 - Downtown Talk with Kevin Burns, Founder and CEO, Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors
On today’s episode we speak with Kevin Burns, founder and CEO of Urbanspace Real Estate + Interiors. Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham discusses Urbanspace’s evolution as well as thoughts on brand development, entrepreneurship, and hustle with Kevin.
Founded as real estate office in 2000, Urbanspace has evolved into a full-service firm specializing in residential real estate, project sales + marketing, and interior design + furniture.
The firm is linked to some of Austin’s most visible downtown projects, including the Seaholm Residences (where they closed all 274 units) and The Independent, the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi, expected to close out in 2019.
Follow Urbanspace on Twitter at: @urbanspace
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As tax protests begin, Travis Central Appraisal District catches heat (Austin Chronicle)
In a year when rising property taxes have consumed political attention throughout the state, the Travis Central Appraisal District's handling of local taxpayers' assessments is consumed with controversy. Already facing possible litigation over its highly criticized purchase of multiple listing service (MLS) data about home sales, TCAD has decided it will not offer face-to-face informal hearings to any property owners this year.
This is a major change from its past handling of appraisal protests, but TCAD hasn't communicated this clearly to the public, or to the consultants who represent property owners, even as formal protest hearings began this week. Each spring, TCAD mails Travis County property owners the assessments that determine how much county residents will pay in property taxes to more than 100 jurisdictions (the county itself, Austin and 20 other cities, school districts, Austin Community College, Central Health, and numerous utility and emergency service districts)… (LINK TO STORY)
Sparks fly over proposed changes to camping laws (Austin Monitor)
Representatives of the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition and the Downtown Austin Alliance continue to stress that they are working together to end homelessness in Austin. But their conflicting messages to City Council on Thursday about proposed changes to ordinances that target the homeless population were definitely not on the same page.
Council Member Greg Casar and Mayor Steve Adler, along with co-sponsors Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza and Council members Natasha Harper-Madison and Pio Renteria, have proposed changes to the city’s no-camping and no-sit/lie ordinances. For years, advocates for the homeless have said such ordinances do little good and even make it more difficult for people experiencing homelessness to improve their situations… (LINK TO STORY)
Abbott vetoes popular domestic violence bill because of an unrelated provision about radioactive waste fees (Texas Tribune)
Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday vetoed a widely supported bill to protect domestic violence survivors, calling it a “laudable effort” that lost his support when “someone slipped in an ill-considered giveaway to a radioactive waste disposal facility,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the bill author’s good idea about domestic violence has been dragged down by a bad idea about radioactive waste,” Abbott, a Republican, wrote in his veto statement. He has until mid-June to approve or reject bills passed during the 140-day legislative session that ended in May. The measure, Senate Bill 1804, by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, would have required that bond information about domestic violence offenders be entered into a statewide data repository… (LINK TO STORY)
Houston apartment permits triple from a year ago (Houston Chronicle)
The number of Houston-area apartments permitted in the 12 months ended April 30 was up 200 percent over the previous year, elevating Houston to the No. 2 spot of top metros ranked for permit activity, new data shows.
Builders permitted 20,012 units in Houston over the 12-month period, tripling the year-ago pace, according to a report from RealPage, a real estate data firm. The boost in activity lifted Houston's ranking one spot from the 12-month period ending in March. Houston displaced Dallas, which moved to the No. 3 spot. New York ranked No. 1… (LINK TO STORY)
Early voting in Dallas surges in some council districts with possible implications for mayoral race (Dallas Morning News)
Voters in still-contested Dallas City Council districts turned out for early voting in higher numbers than they did in the May 4 election — an unusual outcome that could have major implications on the mayoral race.
Early voting for Saturday's runoff election ended Tuesday. Council Districts 4, 7, 9 and 14, where residents still have to decide between two remaining council candidates, all saw bumps in early voter turnout. Those numbers could make the difference in a competitive mayoral election between state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, and four-term City Council member Scott Griggs… (LINK TO STORY)
Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz lobbying ban faces tough hurdles (The Hill)
An unlikely pairing between progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has given new momentum to efforts to pass a lifetime ban on former lawmakers lobbying.
But lobbyists and K Street-watchers are skeptical, saying they have seen similar efforts falter in the past. Lobbyists told The Hill any bill would be a long-shot bid and if passed could face a fierce challenge in the courts. Nathan Daschle, president of The Daschle Group, a public policy advisory of Baker Donelson, told The Hill banning former lawmakers from lobbying hits constitutional issues… (LINK TO STORY)
FIRM UPDATE: Bingham Group Adds Tina Bui as Senior Consultant for Land Use and Transportation
The Bingham Group, LLC (Bingham Group), an Austin based consulting firm providing government affairs, public affairs, land use, and procurement services, today announced the addition of Tina Bui as a Senior Consultant.
An Austinite since childhood, Tina is a local government insider with 20 years of experience in public policy and administration. Having built the bulk of her career at the City of Austin and Capital Metro, she has rare experience on all sides of City Hall- having served as a policy adviser to an Austin council member, staffer in multiple City departments, and political appointee to the City of Austin’s Planning Commission.
Her work has covered countless issue areas, including land use planning; transportation, public transit and smart mobility; water and waste management utilities; and general government administration… (READ MORE)