Rising rent pushes local businesses from South Congress strip

South Congress Avenue is seeing another round of local business closures as rents continue to rise.

South Congress Avenue is seeing another round of local business closures as rents continue to rise.

South Congress Massage relocated to 1512 1/2 S. Congress Ave., Austin, from its previous location at 1210 S. Congress Ave., Austin, on Aug. 1 after the business owner says her rent was tripled.

The relocation is the second on the strip that includes 1200-1210 S. Congress Ave. in as many months.

The Turquoise Door II, which opened in 1989 and sold American Indian jewelry and Latin American folk art, closed its storefront at 1208 S. Congress Ave. in July, when its lease expired. The owner said he would have preferred to remain in the location but high rent and unfavorable terms made it untenable.

The other tenants, which include Heritage Boot Co.; noir boutique Blackmail; home, gift and clothes boutique Favor the Kind; and Creatures Boutique, remain open. Blackmail celebrated its 20th anniversary last October, and Heritage Boot Co. opened in 2007.

According to the Travis County Appraisal District, the strip is owned by Greenfield Partners LLC, a Connecticut-based private equity real estate investment firm. The company also owns the Austin Motel, which it purchased at the same time as the strip in 2016.

In the last five years, the strip's assessed property value has more than doubled, from $1,471,609 in 2014 to $3,273,648 in 2018.

Across the street, a major mixed-use development called Music Lane is under construction. Its first phase is scheduled to open in September 2019, according to Austin-based developer Endeavor Real Estate Group's website.

Music Lane's announced tenants include London-based members-only club Soho House and upscale gym Equinox.

By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


A screen capture of Chief Equity Officer Brion Oaks at a Travis County Commissioners Court meeting
Austin Equity Office asks Travis County to be mindful when administering COVID-19 relief

Chief Equity Officer Brion Oaks named several areas for continued support in relief distribution and COVID-19 test administration.

Austin City Hall was one of several downtown buildings to get vandalized. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Four Austin City Council members publicly call for Police Chief Brian Manley’s resignation

The Austin Police Department has come under heavy scrutiny for how they handled recent protests against police brutality.

Austin is starting the process to redraw the boundaries for its 10 City Council districts. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
For the first time, Austin will redraw its 10 City Council districts

Most of the process will take place in 2020 and 2021, with new boundaries in place by the November 2022 council elections.

SNAP, a federal program overseen in Texas by the HHSC, assists around 1.4 million eligible low-income individuals and families statewide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Emergency SNAP food benefits extended in Texas during COVID-19 pandemic

SNAP assists around 1.4 million eligible low-income individuals and families in Texas.

Demonstrators marched in the streets in front of the Texas Capitol on May 31. (Chris Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council hears from community on police response to weekend protests

"He is in so much pain, and I can't help him," said the brother of a 16-year-old injured in the weekend's protests.

CMS also unveiled an interactive map that lets users search any nursing home in the U.S. to see its COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CMS reports 321 coronavirus deaths in Texas nursing homes, nearly 32,000 nationwide

CMS also unveiled an interactive map that lets users search any nursing home in the U.S. to its COVID-19 cases.

The annual Texas 4000 ride from Austin to Anchorage has gone virtual this year. (Courtesy Texas 4000)
Texas 4000 ride goes virtual, aims to raise $1 million in fight against cancer

Riders from the University of Texas usually trek from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska, each summer, but they will not make the journey this year due to safety concerns around the coronavirus.

William Nzoiwu protests police brutality against the black community. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
7 ways Austin-area residents can promote racial equity through volunteering, donation efforts

Looking for a local way to get involved? Here is a roundup of opportunities.

A 323-unit apartment complex will be opening in 2020 off East Riverside Drive in Austin. (Rendering courtesy Aspen Heights Partners)
New 323-unit apartment complex coming to Austin's East Riverside area

Leasing is expected to begin in November for the new building.

Manor Road Peruvian restaurant Yuyo closes permanently

Chef Maribel Rivero is offering recipes and cooking classes through her website.