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Skycrapers dot skyline as sign of downtown growth

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TWC News: Skycrapers dot skyline as sign of downtown growth
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Another sign of economic recovery is the construction cranes popping up all over the city.

"I think the joy of Austin is that because it is so friendly and it is so informal that it feels very small town," Molly Alexander with the Downtown Austin Alliance said.

Officials with the group said Austin is the 15th largest city in the United States, and getting bigger by the day. With construction cranes are rising all over the city, at least six downtown projects are underway and a dozen or more are in the works.

"As Austin attracts more and more young talent, and more companies to its downtown, downtown is going to become even more popular," economist Angelos Angelou said.

A new Hyatt hotel, currently under construction at Third Street and San Jacinto Boulevard, held it’s topping out ceremony Thursday afternoon.

"This is our second in the downtown area and soon to be more," Brad Haas with Hyatt Place Hotel said.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, about 150 people moved to Austin each day. They say a large percentage of which want to live downtown.

"Downtown is not just an employment center that combines the university and state government, but it has become also--and always has been--a major entertainment center,” Angelou said.

It's the kind of growth that adds to the tax base without heavy public investment.

"You're not paying for new roads, you're not paying for new water lines, you're not paying for a new fire station, you're not paying for new schools, so you're leveraging your investment," Angelou said.

The Downtown Austin Alliance says more than two dozen new downtown-area projects are scheduled to break ground in 2013. About half of them will be hotels and the rest residential and retail projects.

"We are one lucky city,” Angelou said. “If you think about it, we all should be extremely proud."

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