Ogling the 360 Condo Crowd
Up close and personal with Downtown's newest high-rise residents
Cleavage, cocktail dresses, and heels: That's what an amplitude of thirtysomething lovelies wore on a hot night last week to the grand opening of the 44-story 360 Condominiums Downtown. Many were condo buyers and their friends, happily sucking up free drinks and food at a swank poolside cocktail party on the "amenity deck," as they chatted with future neighbors about square feet and whether they'd really use the concierge service. Some fascinating demographic facts: About 77% of 360 buyers are ages 25-44, about 75% already live in Austin, and some 18% reported purchasing a unit as an investment.
Guests later strolled across the street to the Austin Music Hall for a private concert – Ruthie Foster followed by Alejandro Escovedo. Developers AndrewsUrban/Novare Group were in a mood to throw a big-dollar celebratory party, now that all 430 condos are under contract (with a long waiting list of backups). Their next challenge: filling Ovation, a 38-story architectural clone by the same developers slated to rise just a few blocks away. (Note to Design Commission: Is this really what we want for Downtown, copycat skyscrapers?)
Curious to understand who's thronging to high-rise living, we chatted with future residents and UrbanSpace Realtor Brad Mellema, who's sold seven units. The obvious attraction: Downtown is where the action is. Some also liked buying into an energy-efficient "green" building, with public art and a Great Streets streetscape. When we saw Hill Country Conservancy Executive Director George Cofer, we congratulated him and a friend on being the only party guests wearing shorts; even blue jeans were relatively rare. Now we know who's shopping at all those pricey 2nd Street District boutiques – the same people shopping for the condos on top of them.