A Sign of the Times

I don’t know if this made it onto or stayed on anyone else’s radar, but there was a five-story skeleton of a planned 10-story Intel building in downtown Austin that was abandoned right around when I moved here, circa 2000, coinciding with the local nadir of the (first?) tech bust. Intel ended up with a much smaller presence in rented space south of the river, and nothing happened at the downtown site for six years.

Well, yesterday, they finally blew it up (by most accounts “they” being the federal government). To make way for… wait for it… a federal courthouse. Not just a federal courthouse (we have two already), but this Orwellian monstrosity. Didn’t we stop building stuff that looks like this in the ’70s? This design reminds me of the misplaced I.M. Pei structures of certain state college systems (SUNY comes to mind), except not as good. I spent more time than I care to recall wandering alienated through these landscapes of abandonment, ducking and cringing beneath the stained concrete and dirty marble facades of post-apocalyptic monoliths. Which is why I find this evocative editorial, overlaid with my knowledge of the area, so chilling: it’s going to be like Logan’s Run meets Red Square (hell, it’s already the Republic Square area–not far to go there). On the plus side, as you stumble out of the Gingerman at 2am, there should be plenty of jackbooted thugs around to help you navigate the barricades and find your car. Assuming there’s any parking left after they extend the security cordon. And by “help” I mean tazer you and beat you with batons.

You see where this is going, right? Tear down the remnants of the tech bubble; extend the massive apparatus of authoritarianism. Get used to it.

One thought on “A Sign of the Times”

  1. REMEMBER: INTEL SHELL WAS WATSON’S BACK DOOR DEAL

    Austin Mayor Kirk Watson’s (now Sen. Kirk Watson) back door deal with Intel cost city taxpayers $7.5 million in subsidies after they left us with the “Intel shell” eye sore (That deal should be a reminder of how Watson’s deals with special interests always costs the citizens more).

    Watson’s City of Austin Prop 1, of the year 2000, diverted a whopping $67.2 million of our bond dollars, intended for free roads, into toll roads.

    And, today tricky Sen. Watson is pushing Managed Lanes, a fancy way to say toll roads without using the “T” word.

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