Thursday, April 26, 2012

Walmart Proposals Anger Neighbors

A Wal-Mart slated to be built at the corner of Wurzback Parkway and Blanco Road has angered nearby North Castle Hill residents.  On Tuesday, their councilwoman, Eliza Chan, presented area residents with the results of her negotiations with Wal-Mart representatives.  Many were still not happy, My San Antonio.com reports.

Chan presented two proposals for her constituents to consider:  one is for a 165,000 square-foot store that would be open between 6am and midnight.  The other other is for a 150,000 square-foot store that is open 24 hours.  Both proposals include concessions such as a banning of a gas station or tire and battery center, a minimum of 300 feet between the nearby North Castle Hills neighborhood and Hardberger Park, and an 8 foot wall between the store and the buffer area, which would be rezoned as a green space that cannot be developed.

In addition, there will only be five pad sites along the road, down from the original seven, and there will be fewer curb cuts to enter the property.  Also, deed restrictions would prohibit several uses, such as gas stations, adult bookstores, and bars.  18-wheelers would be banned from Vista View, which is the street into the neighborhood, and from making deliveries after midnight, although it's unknown how early they could begin making deliveries. 

Despite many in the audience's unhappiness with Chan's efforts, she pointed out that she inherited this problem and revealed Wal-mart's original plan, which included a 180,000 square-foot store and a large apartment complex between the store and the neighborhood and park.  Chan warned that if the neighborhood doesn't agree to one of the two proposals, they could wind up with the apartments in addition to the store, as well as no protection zone.  Under both of the current plans, apartments would no longer be an option.

Making Guests Feel at Home

Making Guests Feel at Home is an important job as a host or hostess.  And one of the ways you can make your travelling friends or family feel more comfortable is by having certain technology solutions on hand for their use.  Apartment Therapy.com walks us through how to make sure your guestroom is equipped to handle your guest's cell phone, computer, you name it!

Providing a USB docking station for your guests to plug in their phone, camera, Kindle, IPad, what-have-you is a wonderful convenience when it's time to charge back up that battery for a sightseeing tour or to read a book before bedtime.  Along with this, a power strip is another great item to provide so your guests won't have to be crawling under the bed or searching behind bookshelves to find an outlet and discovering your dustbunnies.

Your guests will inevitably want to use your wireless network, and if you leave the network name and password on a post-it on the fridge, they will be able to find it easily and conveniently.  If you're concerned about having it that prominently displayed, leaving it in their room in an obvious place also works well.

For entertainment, give your guests instructions on how to operate Netflix Instant, if you have that, or your cable if you are a subscriber, so they can keep themselves occupied if rainy days keep them indoors.  Finally, if you host guests from all over the globe, have a set of international plug adapters ready for them to convert their electronics to be used with U.S. power.

Need help finding your very own Rental in Austin where your family or friends can visit you?  Give us a call today and we'll help you locate the apartment you've been dreaming of.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Linen and Towel Storage in a Small Space

Apartments Now San Antonio CardLinens and Towels can take up an enormous amount of real estate if you have a small apartmentApartment Therapy.com has some clever tricks for taming the tide of towels and sheets if you don't have a gigantic linen closet.

First, make some tough decisions about how much you really need.  Beds can only wear one set of sheets at a time, so consider keeping just one or maybe two sets per bed.  Also, everytime you buy a new set of sheets or towels, get rid of an old set.  If you like to change up your bedding, choose a duvet and different duvet covers, which will take up a lot less space than bulky comforters.

Once you've paired down your stash, keep your linen closet neat by storing like items and sizes together on a labelled shelf, so you don't have to pull out all your twin sheets to find your king set.  Then store the sets in their matching pillow case so they are ready at a moment's notice. 

No linen closet or one the size of a postage stamp?  There are other creative places you can keep your stuff such as under your bed or at the end of your bed in a piece of furniture with a lid.  You could even put them in your closet on hangers, in empty suitcases, or in an armoire or cabinet in a convenient place for you that is not necessarily the bathroom.  For blankets, you can fold those and place them at the foot of your bed for a storage solution that's also decorative.  Now you and the fabric that keeps you dry and warm at night can live in harmony!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trader Joe's Coming to Austin

Trader Joe's is coming to Austin, the Statesman.com reports.  The California-based chain, famous for its "2 Buck Chuck", $2 store brand bottles of wine, will be downtown on the site of the former Seaholm Power Plant.  A mixed-use project which will have 298 apartments, 130,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of retail space and an acre of event space outdoors, is slated to start construction in July.

The Trader Joe's store will have a much smaller footprint at only 11,500 square feet, and will open sometime in 2013.  Over 4,000 people signed an online petition asking Trader Joe's to come to Austin, and the Austin location is the eighth announced in Texas.  The chain has 365 stores in 32 states and is famous for its discount prices and barebones stores. 

Trader Joe's target consumer is "an urban high-income resident", attracted by the chain's house brands and wine specials.  With the explosion of downtown apartment and condo dwellers Austin has seen in the last few years, Trader Joe's should have no problem finding customers who fit that bill.  Trader Joe's competitors will be locally based Whole Foods and HEB's Central Market, although market analysts don't think the store will have much impact on either of those company's bottom lines.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Girl Scouts' Southwest Texas Council Names New CEO

Girl Scouts' Southwest Texas Council named its interim director, Rose Gonzalez Perez, CEO today, MySanAntonio.com reports.  Perez has been a Girl Scouts executive for twenty years and has been the interim CEO since September after the former director was named CEO of the Girl Scouts of America.

There are nearly 30,000 girls and adults in 21 counties served by the Southwest council and a committee conducted a national search to find a new CEO.  Perez has been a Girl Scout since she joined as a Brownie in Mathis, where she grew up.  The committee chose her at a meeting earlier this week, but surprised Perez and her staff with the announcement today at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center.  

One of her staff described Perez as having collaborated with many of San Antonio's business leaders and said that, "girl's needs are going to be seen by San Antonio, regardless if they're Girl Scouts or not.  When the business or nonprofits look to serve girls, they're going to look to Girl Scouts."

Looking for a new San Antonio Apartment for yourself and your Girl Scout?  Call Apartments Now San Antonio today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Repairing Bad Credit

Apartments Now CardRepairing Bad Credit is a difficult process, but a bad credit rating can keep you from renting an apartment, getting a credit card or loan, or even getting a job.  About.com guides you through the process of erasing your past financial mistakes and getting on a path to good credit in the future.

First of all, this is a process that you do not need a professional's help for.  You may see many ads for credit repair services, but there is nothing they can do that you can't do on your own.  You first step will be to order copies of your credit report.  You can do this for free once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com, or if you've been turned down for credit because of something on your credit report.  If you've already ordered your free annual report, you can pay to order them directly from the credit bureaus. 

After you have your report, review it for errors and contact the reporting agency if you find any.  You'll need to include proof such as a cancelled check that proves you made your payment on time and a copy of your report with the disputed information highlighted.  Alternatively, you can contact the company who listed the information on your credit report and dispute the mistake directly with them.  If you win your dispute, your credit report will be updated and you will receive a new copy.  If your dispute is not successful, your report will be marked that you disputed the information and you can add a personal statement to your credit report. 

Your next step is to tackle past due accounts.  First, pay accounts that are past due, but not yet "charged-off".  Then pay off charged-off accounts and accounts in collection.  After that, be sure to bring high balances back to below the credit limit.  Finally, apply for new credit, which you then pay in a timely manner and keep a low balance on.  That will rebuild your credit, showing future creditors you are a worthy risk.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Decluttering a Small Space

Apartments Now San Antonio CardDecluttering a small space can seem overwhelming.  However, if you don't keep the mess to a minimum, you can feel like your clutter is going to crush you!  Apartment Therapy.com comes to the rescue with tips on how to manage the mess even if your apartment is a bit on the diminutive side.

Make sure you have the proper storage containers for what you need to keep.  Rather than say, "there isn't room in my apartment for a filing cabinet (or bookshelves, or a desk)", acknowledge that you have stuff you need to keep and make sure you have the proper receptacles for it.  Put your furniture to work as storage.  Use an ottoman with a lid to store blankets, put drawers or storage boxes under your bed and get a bedside table with drawers or shelves so you can put everything you need at the night within arm's reach.  Also, in a smaller space, you need to go vertical with your storage.  Put shelves above your desk or on the wall in your living room to put books or papers (in storage boxes, of course!)

Finally, the last two tips may be the most important:  do a little sorting each day and don't be afraid to get rid of things.  You may think you don't have time to declutter, but if you break it into bite-sized chunks by doing things like, say, spending 15 minutes each day cleaning out one drawer or going through your closet, you'll have your whole abode organized in no time.  When you do go through stuff, be honest with yourself.  When was the last time you used it?  Do you really need to keep this?  If you answered, "I can't remember" or "I can't think of a reason why", then toss or donate it.  You'll feel a lot calmer without all those extra possessions weighing you down!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Area School Districts Tap Reserves to Make Ends Meet

Apartments Now CardLocal School Districts are having to tap their reserves and make budget-cutting measures to continue to survive, Statesman.com reports.  Although the budgeting process has just started, area school districts such as Dripping Springs and Hutto say they are going to have to make deep cuts in their budgets due to tax ratifications that failed to pass or because they are spreading cuts over two years.

In Hutto, district administrators are looking at budgets that would charge $100 a semester to ride the school bus and increase fees students have to pay for extracurricular activities.  Dripping Springs is planning to eliminate 25 to 30 positions, including teachers, and get rid of programs like multimedia and keyboard courses in the middle schools.  Both districts have to make such deep cuts due partially to voter vetoes of tax increases.

In Austin, AISD is contemplating using $14.2 million from their reserves to give employees a one-time 3 percent raise in 2012-2013.  To make the raise permanent, the district would have to increase the part of the tax rate that pays for daily operations.  The school board seems to be divided on whether they should call a November election to increase the tax rate.

Looking for an apartment in AISD, Hays or any of the other area school districts?  Contact Apartments Now for help finding the perfect home!