sidewalk cafes, and coffee shops that have
popped up along the street in the last year
or two. The Second Street District is also
home to restaurants, retail stores, home
furnishings stores, sandwich shops, and
more. KLRU Studios (home of the long-run-ning “Austin City Limits” television show)
and its new performing arts venue – ACL
Live at the Moody Theater – opened adjacent
to the new W Hotel. The Mexican-American
Cultural Center is closeby, adding to Austin’s
cultural base and downtown appeal.
WHERE TO LIVE?
There has always been some residential
development in downtown Austin – like
the historic Brazos Lofts, the Railyard Condominiums, and Gables West Avenue, all of which
opened in 1999 – but it wasn’t until 2002
when the residential market really exploded.
In that year, the Plaza Lofts at Republic Square
and West 5th, the Brown Building lofts on
West 8th, and the luxury Nokonah residences
on West 9th all opened within months of
each other. Since then, countless residential
projects have opened or have been renovated,
including the Austin City Lofts; Avenue Lofts;
Austonian; 404 Rio Grande; AMLI Downtown;
The 5 Fifty Five (atop the downtown Hilton
hotel); The Monarch; The Milago; The Shore;
Posada del Rey; The Sabine on 5th; La Vista on
Lavaca; The W Condominiums; and others.
While there are some affordable housing
options in downtown Austin, it’s not often
the norm. Price per square foot for most
downtown condos runs about $220-$255.
However, there are some residential developments in the works that are addressing the
affordability factor – and many of them are in
the hot area of East Austin.
Residential projects in East Austin – such as
the Saltillo Lofts and Twenty One 24, among
others – are still relatively affordable, and
that’s good for those who want to be in the
thick of things, but who are also on a budget.
Downtown projects include Westgate Tower
at 11th and Colorado; Cambridge Tower at
1801 Lavaca; Penthouse Condos at 1212
Guadalupe; the Towers of Town Lake at 40
N. I- 35; and the Spring Lofts.
KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY
Are you ready for the downtown lifestyle?
Downtown living is not a perfect fit for
everyone. Many downtown residential sales
are in high-rise developments, and living in
them requires some adjustment from a traditional single-family home.
Those thinking of making the switch to a
downtown high-rise should do a bit of self-examination. Do you like to walk? Do you need
a yard? Do you need your car every day?
Have you lived in an urban setting before?
Those are all important questions to consider
before making the move to an urban lifestyle.
Buyers should also consider some of the extra
expenses that go with condominium or loft
living. Homeowner’s association fees are just
one example. Some amenities and services
are included in your fees – but not all. If the
property you are interested in offers a 24-hour
concierge service, for example, think about
whether that’s a service you would use and
want to pay for.
Always ask about a property’s parking policy,
too. Many properties allow for only one
parking space per bedroom, so if you own a
one-bedroom condo and have two cars, you
will likely need to make special arrangements
to park the second car. Ask about visitor
parking spaces, too – are they available,
or is the only option street parking? Given
Austin’s busy downtown weekend activity,
that could be a challenge.
There’s no doubt that the idea of working and
playing within easy walking distance of home
is extremely appealing to many. According
to the Downtown Austin Alliance, more
than 123, 178 work in the downtown area;
about 10,000 residents call downtown home;
and more than 363,000 people live within a
10-minute drive of downtown.
There is no particular profile of those who
choose to make downtown their home, and
the population includes many families and
young professionals, not just college students.
It’s a mixture of all age groups – and all are
attracted to the diversity that downtown has
Source: Downtown Austin Alliance DowntownAustin.com
There’s no doubt that the idea of
working and playing within easy
walking distance of home is extremely
appealing to many.