Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Marshall Tract Status


Cousins Properties Inc. will not develop the Marshall Tract. Dan Marshall is working with L. M. Holder III architects on a new proposal for the Marshall Tract.  L.M. Holder III commits his practice to creating architecture compatible with the climate and the environment and to share this knowledge of energy efficient systems and renewable energy with others to build a sustainable environment. More information will be made available in the future. More about L.M. Holder III is available on his web site:

L.M. Holder III Bio

“L.M. Holder III commits his practice to creating architecture compatible with the climate and the environment and to share this knowledge of energy efficient systems and renewable energy with others to build a sustainable environment. There are finite conventional resources and an infinite need for these resources. For us to sustain our society, we must integrate renewable energy and sustainable materials into architecture. Our choice is not if we change, but how much will be left when our priorities change. The earlier the change is made, the longer our standard of life can be maintained. Holder researches historic examples, designs new buildings, shares information with others, and gives lectures and seminars for professionals, and non-professionals alike. His leadership promotes alternative performance energy standards to allow design freedom and promote innovation when prescriptive standards were proposed. He gives many lectures and seminars and writes workbooks and guidelines to promote energy responsible architecture and his architectural projects receive national recognition as do his lectures and seminars. Holder is a leader in researching methods of making the transition and sharing information with others, creating buildings which are benchmarks for energy efficient design; even creating buildings and structures which generate more energy than they use. He provides energy, daylighting, and computer simulated lighting and consulting services for professional, institutional, public, and private clients. Throughout his career he endeavors to be part of the ultimate solution to create a quality environment which can be sustained.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Houses vs. Office Buildings

At an Eanes ISD community bond forum, I got the chance to ask a question about what type of development would be most beneficial to the school district - single family house or office development. The answer was counter intuitive because I would have thought that the office development with more capital value would be preferred from the perspective of school financing. That turned out not to be true for three reasons. First EISD is not at capacity for students so additional students don't require new facilities, within limits of course. Secondly,  the benefits financially have to be viewed as a delta to the existing conditions. And, third, EISD has an expense shortfall of between 4M and 5M dollars annually. The state recaptures 54% of our local tax dollars now and that will increase to 63% in five years. And, apparently it's even worse when it's looked at from the perspective of a delta. If I remember correctly, 90% of the delta due to capital improvements of property would go to the state. Therefore, whether the land is developed  for house or office buildings is not important to EISD with respect to  tax revenue. However, the additional capital value of the offices would give the district more ability for bond issues. On the other hand, single family homes would presumably bring more students into the district thereby increasing the amount of money given by the state per student. This would  help alleviate EISD's operating expense short fall.

If you'd like a copy of the presentation given at the forum on January 14, 2015, click here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Another Perspective on How the Buildings Might Look

As I have stated earlier, photographic or graphic perspectives on how a building might look on hilly terrain to the neighborhood are tricky. Cameras and drawings can't match the eye exactly. Those of us who have attempted such things that have been reported in this blog are careful attempts, hopefully, not biased attempts to help residents "see" what might become. Here's another attempt.

I took the following two pictures with the same camera at the same focal length, each about 2,200 feet from the building or proposed building site - one of Cielo Center and the other of the Marshall Tract. Cielo Center is a six story building with 270,00 square feet of space. I don't know what Cousins will finally propose but the earlier proposal was two buildings - 5 and 7 story. The final image is a map showing the approximate camera location and view.

I'll leave up to the reader to visualize for their selves what the buildings might look like.

Cousins' perspectives on how the two buildings would look from various perspectives are now available on the Lost Creek Neighborhood Association's web site. Click here to view the slide presentation. Below is one perspective from further west on Lost Creek Blvd. The picture was created with a different camera with a different focal length from a different perspective.

The drawing bellow compares the perspectives of the two sets of images. In the two pictures I took, I was about 2200 feet from the building and the field of view was about 40 degrees. The Cousins perspective is about 1200 feet from the largest building, and a 65 degree field of view.