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Ray Benson and Friends Open Rattle Inn

Rattle Inn, one of the newest bar and music venues in Austin, is open and the owners are planning a big kickoff Jan. 23 headlined by venture co-partner Ray Benson’s band Asleep at the Wheel.The 7,500-square-foot space at 610 Nueces St. will be three bars in one. Rattle Inn is the love child of Benson, Ranch 616 owner Kevin Williamson and Matt Luckie, who owns Lavaca Street Bar & Grill and Gibson. Williamson and Luckie also co-own Star Bar.Benson, Luckie and Williamson said they’ve invested more than $500,000 in the new space but wouldn’t disclose details.

Joel Mozersky of One Eleven Design worked with the three to design a mid-century modern, Palm Desert-style space with large snakeskin booths and taxidermy on the walls. Rattle Inn consists of a main bar, “Ray’s Backstage” and a rooftop lounge

LINK TO STORY AT ABJ

ABJ-  How the Bastrop Blaze Could Impact Real Estate Values

The wildfires that destroyed most of Bastrop County could drop property values by as much as 60 percent, one firm estimates. Land is already starting to trade hands and more transactions are expected as the smoke clears.

Bastrop County land values could be cut in half as the real estate market faces dramatic ups and downs resulting from the wildfires that scorched almost 35,000 acres.

Dramatic value dips would be problematic for many landowners, but they could yield opportunities for investors looking to employ a patient buy-hold strategy while this patch of Texas recovers.

“We’re confident there will be some devaluation in the acreage charred by the fires,” said Cameron Boone, director of research at Lewis Realty Advisors Inc. Lewis Realty estimates the value of land directly impacted by wildfires could drop by up to 60 percent.

This might open the door for what some call vulture investors, who swoop in and offer pennies on the dollar for damaged properties, Boone said.

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Gotham Gazette

How Data Is Helping Riders To Make Sense Of Their Transit System

NEW YORK — New Yorkers love to complain about their subway system: It’s too slow, too expensive, too dirty. And, worst of all, it’s too difficult to understand why.

That part — the why — is gradually being answered as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority embraces and promotes the public dissemination of the massive amounts of data that the agency generates on everything from train delays to its budget.

A group that works to keep the MTA accountable is set to release findings on Tuesday from a long-term study titled “The MTA in the Age of Big Data,” which looks at  the state of the agency’s efforts to make data accessible to the public.

LINK TO FULL STORY

Gotham Gazette

Butt Of Jokes G Train Gets Some Serious Attention

by Cody Lyon, Mar 04, 2013

NEW YORK — It was once known as the venerable train to the 1939 New York World’s Fair and was a critical transit artery for workers at industrial plants churning out materials for World War II.

Today the G train is the object of jokes and rants each day, both for its small number of cars and its spotty service.

“It’s a wild card as far as when I’ll get to work or back home,” said freelance theater director and Greenpoint resident Josh Hecht, who takes the G train daily and says he leaves home an extra twenty minutes or so early to get to work appointments.

A number of factors are coming together to bring change to the long-neglected G train, which has seen ridership grow because of the popularity of neighborhoods served by the subway line, including fashionable Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Fort Green, Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.

The Metropolitan Transportation Agency, in response to calls from state lawmakers and a new transit advocacy organization for improvements like increased frequency of trains and communication with riders on the line, has announced that it will do a so-called “full line review” of the line by June. That review could result in major upgrades to one of the city’s most neglected lines.

LINK TO FULL STORY AT GOTHAM GAZETTE