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Austin Condos Changing The Real Estate Market

"Work has begun on the hotly debated Spring condominium community at Third and Bowie in Austin. The planned 42-story 250-unit tower will feature one bedroom condos as well as two-bathroom, two-bedroom units. Smaller condos will begin at 575 ft.�, with a starting price of $237,000. Two-bedroom condominiums will range in price from $430,000 to $530,000. A few larger penthouse units, starting at $700,000, are also part of the plan. Spring is the brainchild of Robert Barnstone, Perry Lorenz, Larry Warshaw and Diana Zuniga. Vancouver-based Rafii Architects is providing design for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2009.

The new condominium tower has not been without its controversy. The project was proposed at 400 feet, and some suggested that the tower height be limited. The Austin city Zoning and Platting Commission allowed the project to go ahead, despite the criticisms. Spring attracted much controversy due to its proposed 400 foot height. The height would have made Spring one of the tallest buildings in the city. Developers for the project claim that the height was necessary, since the condominium tower was designed on the skinny towers that dominate the skyline of Vancouver. The dream team behind the condominium tower also pointed out that Spring is one of only a number of residential high-rise condo plans for the downtown core, and some have proposed heights just as towering as Spring itself. The Vancouver-inspired ""point tower"" style of building, developers claim, is the best way to add more housing to the prestigious Austin area at less cost. Some claim that the new thin towers will allow the historically high cost of real estate downtown to be more reasonably priced for buyers. Real estate experts say that demand for residential properties in the downtown Austin area continues to be very strong, which may be part of the secret behind the big building boom. There are a number of building projects underway, besides Spring. Despite this, the marketing team behind Spring isn't worried -- the marketing department is seeing two reservations a day for the tower.

To add even more to the condominium market in Austin, two different buyers have purchased Windsong Apartments and Parkside Apartments recently. Both buildings are reportedly being converted into condo communities. The sellers in both deals were represented by Transwestern's Central Texas Multifamily Group. The Sutton Co. bought Windsong from from Halisco Ltd. for a reported $4.3 million (approximately $82,700 per unit). The 52-unit complex across from the University will be converted into condos. The Parkside was sold for an undisclosed price. A local investor, who remains unnamed, purchased the 18-unit property at 4209 Burnet Road. The two sales represent the third and fourth sales for condominium conversions in the city this year alone. Experts are saying that the market for condos in downtown is so hot right now that investors hope that conversions will allow them to tap the market fast. While a number of new condo communities are being built in downtown area right now, investors hope that conversions will take less time and will therefore allow them to place their condominiums on the market first."

Submitted by:

Kinan Beck

Kinan Beck is the Broker and co-owner of One Source Realty in Austin Texas. Visit Kinan�s Austin Condos Guide, visit his Austin Condo website.


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