• Staci Livesay

Here we Grow Again.

Alibi Bar is looking to tear down its structure and replace it with a 2 story structure. Here's the story as published in ABJ on 10.17.19

More changes are on the way for the bungalow-based bars that line downtown Austin’s popular Rainey Street.

Jason Steward, the owner of The Alibi at 96 Rainey St., wants to demolish the bungalow house where the bar has operated for about two years and replace it with a two-story structure.

A site plan proposing the changes was submitted to the city of Austin Development Services Department on Sept. 17 by civil engineering firm 318 Group LLC. It’s currently under review by city staff.

Maximizing square footage by going taller and adding more buildings is a continuing trend in the Rainey Street Historic District as bar owners vie for customers and profits in the rapidly changing part of downtown. In theory, more capacity means more sales.

And, standalone cocktail lounges could become an endangered species as more high-rise apartment, condominium and hotel towers are planned for the district — an ironic twist of fate considering a bar-craze wave was what initially transformed the sleepy neighborhood into a commercial district about 10 years ago.

Rainey Street was once mostly made up of modest-sized homes. In 2005, the area's zoning was changed to Central Business District. Then in 2009, entrepreneur Bridget Dunlap opened the first bar in the district, Lustre Pearl. In the past decade or so it has arguably changed faster than any other part of Austin.

Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden owner Ben Siegel was one of the first to expand on Rainey, investing $7 million over the last couple of years in buying property and building a three-story building to house an on-site meat packing and ham curing facility, a smokehouse and walk-in beer cellar. The expansion also gave Siegel enough room to accommodate 2,000 people.

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Rainey Neighborhood Association

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