Rainey Street Undergoes Major Changes

The Rise of the New, the Fall of the Old. 

By Kristina Latham, Tricia Small, Dylan Carter

After dramatically changing a once run down residential street into an Austin hotspot, Lustre Pearl has shuttered its windows to make way for an 8-story apartment building.

After dramatically changing a once run down residential street into an Austin hotspot, Lustre Pearl has shuttered its windows to make way for an 8-story apartment building.

The Austin skyline is to be changed by 2015 as Rainey Street develops new hotel skyscrapers and better bars leaving Austinites and businesses to adjust to the alterations.

Rainey Street, located near Lady Bird Lake and Interstate 35, is known as a part of the Historic District in Austin, TX. Before the many bars and businesses, Rainey Street was a quiet residential area. Many of the houses are a bungalow style and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

All that history is changing as the addition of multiple hotels and condos along Rainey Street transform the eclectic strip of mostly privately owned bars into a more commercially developed area. Because of the new business, most of the bars and small businesses are forced to close up or  revamp their style to fit in.

The bungalow style buildings that once characterized Austin's Rainey Street are turning into rubble as new residential high rises get ready to spring up.

The bungalow style buildings that once characterized Austin’s Rainey Street are turning into rubble as new residential high rises get ready to spring up.

Lustre Pearl, the first bar on Rainey Street, recently closed its doors “to make way for a high-rise,” according to KVUE reporter Heather Kovar.

If not closing their doors altogether, many bars along Rainey Street are revamping their buildings or being bought out by larger investors hoping to capitalize on Rainey’s popularity. Rabbit’s Lounge has undergone renovations to become a newer and better bar, hoping to keep pace with the many the new bars coming to Rainey Street. Andrea Grimes, reporter for Eater-Austin, a news site for upcoming eateries,  got the report on it.

“Rabbit’s Lounge on East Sixth Street officially shuttered last fall,” Grimes reports, “and the space is now set to be revived with an infusion of new, Rainey Street-filtered blood.”

With all the changes, Austin’s Rainey Street will soon look more like a hotel and condo strip rather than a historical landmark. According to Jude Galligan, Downtown Austin Blog (DAB).org writer, there are 7 total hotel and/or apartment buildings set to pop up on Rainey Street. Those include: Fairmont Austin, Waller Center, Hotel Van Zandt, Millennium Rainey, Rainey Tower, Skyhouse Austin and North Shore Lofts.

“New apartment high rises and an influx of new bars,” Galligan writes. “Things are really happening in Rainey.”

Although officials say the new buildings will bring jobs to Austin, the famous bar street will never be the same. There will be skyscrapers, more commercial bars, less historic charm, and Rainey Street will be a temporary home for thousands of tourists each year. With these new changes occurring, some Austinites are unsure how to feel about the ‘new’ Rainey Street.

“It’s a shame it’s changing,” Michael Watts, a frequent Rainey Street goer, said. “There’s nothing like this place anywhere else.”

Though the Austin skyline will forever be changed, Rainey Street will always be a part of historic district.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMzMDHYADY8&feature=youtu.be

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