Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Domain: DisneyAustin?

I can't make up my mind about The Domain. You know, the shopping center. What's that? You thought it was in Dallas? Well I don't blame you.

The Domain is located at roughly Braker and Burnet here in AUSTIN, and strikes a balance somewhere between The Truman Show and DisneyWorld. It's an outdoor mall that I think is going for "European," yet insists to be "the best of Austin." Here's the blurb from the website:

"Thanks to incomparable cuisine, diverse local artists, and eclectic shopping, Austin is known as one of the most unique destinations in the country. The Domain is bringing the best of Austin to one single, urban location."

Hmm. I don't know about that, Domain. Most Austinites probably wouldn't name Macy's, Starbucks, or - shocking! - California Pizza Kitchen as "the best of Austin." I think Stacy P. over at Yelp Austin stated it best:

"We stopped in yesterday to go to Z Gallerie, big mistake, huge mistake. I was dressed in flip flops and shorts and kept getting the dirty stink eye from everyone dressed to the fucking nines to GO TO THE MALL. Seriously, peeps were dressed for the club with heels, huge designer bags, little pooches with sweaters on and huge sunglasses. This place makes me sick."

Haha. Let's be friends, Stacy P.?

So today I stopped by The Domain for lunch - don't hate, it's close to my job - with the express purpose of going to Oakville Grocery. Oakville is supposed to be this little Napa/Sonoma-like grocer, and sometimes, they have samples of cheese and chocolate and other silly/yummy stuff. Only today - why today, I saw no cheese. Instead I saw something entirely different.

First, it was the bolted doors. Abandoned napkin dispensers. Dusty windows and bare, scratched-up floors. And finally...the shaming little eviction notice, plastered in the front door. Apparently, Oakville stopped paying their property rent, and got their Napa ass kicked out.

Now, whatever company that's developing The Domain is bling-bling rich. It stretches several blocks, and not only is there shopping, but gyms and "parks" and apartments - like the suburbs, only with a pretend urban atmosphere.

But in this economy, will we see more evicted properties at The Domain?

Maybe I'll be sad to see Kona Grill go - we do happy hour there from time to time, and I think their sushi is alright. But Domain, maybe take one from Austin Bergstrom Airport's playbook, and incorporate the city's existing businesses?

9 comments:

Breanna said...

I have a love/hate relationship with the Domain. Whenever I miss my hometown (Plano), I go there to inhale the faux-urban consumerism. I also like The Steeping Room, which I think is an Austin original. I could be wrong, but I still like it.

However, the piped-in music playing over the outdoor speakers is creepy. I always feel like I'm in one of those nuclear testing towns when I'm up there.

Tolly M said...

The Steeping Room! You know, I walked by that place the other day on my way to Oakville - maybe I'll give it a try. Will you be The Domain's saving grace, o Steeping Room?

YES, those weird speakers tacked to the metals posts - you're so right about the nuclear testing town feel!! That's exactly it. Or, I suspect that subliminal messages encoded into various non-threatening top 40 hits that say, "BUY BRAND-NAME PURSES AND SHOES" may also be coming out of the speakers. Just a hypothesis.

eastaustinite.com said...

Yeah.. the music freaks me out. meeep...

thelizness said...

ha ha ha, so, so true. the steeping room does have merit, though. it really does. we should do lunch there one of these days... ladies?

stacey said...

HELLO!! I'm Stacey P! or Stacey C actually :) but that was my Yelp review that you got on here! I HATE the domain, sure it's got some local shops but it just makes me sooo mad that they are trying to market the place as Urban. I'm sorry but since when are high end shops and cookie cutter apartments off of a highway considered an urban area?? I love your blog!

Tolly M said...

Stacey!! Haha, well this is just fabulous - I'm thrilled to not only have made your acquaintance, after such a delightfully sharp-tongued and dead-on Yelp review (PREACH sister about the Domain) but that you magically found yourself here! Do you have a blog? If so, I wanna go read it.

stacey said...

I'm in the process of putting my blog back up. The best part is I found you when I was looking at thisislifeinaustin's blog and I just clicked on your blog and started reading and cracked up when I saw my review. I'll link you to my blog when I put it back up!! Then I can have a reader!! Haha.

Tolly M said...

Haha, what a happy coincidence! Girl, when you get your blog started back up, let me know - I've love to read more of your sassy Austin insights!

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