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Here's a Look at Some of the Brand-Backed Buildouts Planned for SXSW

Ketel One will be building a windmill over South By similar to this one built at the Art Basel Festival in 2013.

Many predict this year’s South By Southwest will be pared down compared to years past. While the days of giant Doritos vending machines are gone, there are still a couple of corporate-backed buildouts and events to lure in fest-goers.

So, we decided to rummage through city permits to preview some of the stranger requests from South By sponsors.

Austin is getting a Bates Motel

The A&E television prequel to the Hitchcock classic is setting up shop next to the Austin Convention Center, which moves in the wee hours of the morning on March 10 and will stay through March 22, according to a temporary use permit filed with the city. “Bates Motel” is even offering a night’s stay at the makeshift hotel, according to Mashable, for one guest and up to 11 friends.

The Iron Throne Returns to the Capital City

HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is no stranger to South By. For the past couple of years, the fantasy show has had a buzzworthy presence at the festival — the centerpiece of last year’s setup allowed South By attendees that stopped by the Austin Music Hall popup to feel like Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, if only for a moment.

This year, SXSWesteros, as it’s called, is heading to a former Austin landmark: the former site of Antone’s on 213 W. 5th Street. HBO will paint the entirety of the building’s western wall, which faces Lavaca Street, starting on March 9.

Things will get windy (and boozy) on the East Side

Vodka-maker Ketel One is partnering with Transmission Entertainment to build a stage and a 14-foot-tall windmill at 1100 E. 5th Street, according to a permit filed with the city. This isn’t the first windmill rodeo for Ketel One, however. While the company’s paperwork doesn’t reveal much in the line of design, it shows the windmill will face out onto 5th. The company premiered a similar project during Miami’s Art Basel in 2013, which is a replica of the mill in the town of Schiedam.

Taco Bell and Hype Machine's mystery meet-up

The fast food giant’s hosting a party on Waller Street during South By, though it’s unclear what exactly it’s got planned. Like “Bates Motel,” the pending city permit from Taco Bell requests permission to assemble a prefabricated building, which will be host of Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel.

Unlike “Bates Motel,” that assembly requires a construction crane and will shut down Waller Street.

All signs point to South By

And, of course, there will be plenty of branding going on in the form of temporary signage. Samsung will install a neon sign on the Michelada's Cafe building, in addition to hosting. Google will be installing a logo on its Google Play-sponsored takeover of Fleming's downtown. And Pandora will rebrand the eastern wall of Gatsby on E. 6th Street for "Discovery Den."

Additionally, Under Armour has applied for signage for their yet-to-be-revealed headquarters at the Seaholm Power Plant development. The company plans to reveal their new offices during South By.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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