Here are seven of Austin's most elite residences.
Four Seasons Condos, listed for $4,995,000
Got a hankering for stellar city views and $5 million burning a hole in your pocket? This three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom condo on 98 San Jacinto Blvd. clocks in at 4,208 spacious square feet and is within walking distance from Lady Bird Lake.
Perch yourself inside any one of this 26-story highrise's high-end rooms: a formal living room, kitchen, dining room and bedrooms all complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathroom and living areas with ornate wallpapers and light fixtures. Of course, no downtown condo is complete without a terrace… or two; one for your guests and one for yourself. Speaking of guests, the condo has two spacious bedrooms with bathrooms en suite in addition to the master suite. If you run out of room to house your guests, you could always make room in the expansive walk-in closet!
The Austonian, listed for $4,990,000
Coming in just $5,000 below that of the Four Seasons, this Austonian condo is two years newer and just a touch bigger at 4,306 square feet. Well-suited to those with plush taste, 200 Congress Avenue gives you panoramic views of the Texas Capitol building from its enormous balcony. With three-bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms and a designated office for work from home, this condo comes with clean lines, custom cabinetry and an open floor plan for those who love to entertain.
W Austin Residences, listed for $4,500,000
Famously home to Austin Mayor Steve Adler, this 3,147 square foot residence is a modern architecture lover's dream. This penthouse condo, complete with another set of three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, will have you feeling luxurious as you relax in the glass steam shower or watch your favorite show from a hidden flat-screen TV. The condo comes with a private three-car garage with a Tesla charger, automated window shades and a gourmet kitchen with a custom glass breakfast nook to start your mornings off right. The handcrafted lit-up floating shelves will show off all your trinkets like you live in a museum but the floor-to-ceiling windows won't make you feel like you're living in a fishbowl from 36 stories up. With concrete pillars to match the sky-high ceilings, white oak floorboards and an in-house laundry room, this 210 Lavaca Street dwelling will make you feel like royalty.
The Loren, listed for $4,005,000
If you're looking to get out of the city but not too far away, The Loren's condominiums will offer extensive views of Zilker Park and East Austin all in one. A short trek to Downtown, these condos aren't scheduled to be completed until spring of 2022, so they will be brand new and ready to be broken in.
This 3,511 square-foot modern mansion on 1211 W. Riverside Drive will be softly lit with plenty of natural light, the four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms provide ample room to spread out and the high floor placement is breathtaking.
Seventy Rainey, listed for $3,680,000
This rare 3,684 square foot penthouse spans three floors with a private balcony on each dreamy level. If that wasn't enough, the private rooftop terrace overlooks scenic East Austin views.
With three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two half bathrooms and a sprawling floor plan, the penthouse condo is perfect for remote work and quarantine living. This condo is characterized by its clean lines, industrial-yet-modern touches. Best of all, this space will put you right in the heart of Rainey Street, so you'll never be too far away from the party.
Saint Cecilia Residences, listed for $3,300,000
Shrouded in greenery, this is the place to go if you're looking for a unique dwelling. With only seven other homes in the development, this condo offers both privacy and proximity to vibrant South Congress. In collaboration with Bunkhouse Group, the property management group founded by Austin's Liz Lambert, this home is packed full of quirky and colorful accents, finishes, hardware and adds an element of interest before you even walk in. Featuring three bedrooms, three bathrooms and coming in at 2,440 square feet, this condo is one of the smaller locations on the list, but the amenities and treetop views are unparalleled. You'll be just walking distance from the Saint Cecilia Hotel, the new Music Lane development and just minutes from Downtown at this brick veneer palace.
44 East Avenue, listed for $2,800,000
Another brand new property, estimated to be completed in 2022, is conveniently located on both the shore of Lady Bird Lake, for those who love to get out and enjoy Austin's exquisite flora, and on Rainey Street, so you're in the heart of Downtown living and you'll get the best of both worlds. With four bedrooms and four full baths, this condo spreads 2,858 vast square feet. With retro architecture, wood flooring and high ceilings, this home is airy and waiting to be enjoyed. If you have the cash to make $17,000 per month payments, this home could be calling your name.
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A $500 million mixed-use development spanning 1,400 acres is coming to Southeast Austin, near Tesla’s headquarters at Giga Texas.
Plans for the development by Houston-based real estate firm Hines include 2,500 houses along with multi-family and townhomes, and commercial land. Hines is partnering with Trez Capital, Sumitomo Forestry and Texas-based Caravel Ventures.
The development, which is known as Mirador, will be located off the 130 Toll and Highway 71, which the developers say provides easy access to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 racetrack and other Austin attractions like restaurants, parks and live music venues.
Hines also boasts amenities like a 60-acre lake, over 600 acres of greenbelt, community parks, trails and a swimming pool.
“As Austin continues to grow into the tech epicenter of Texas, coupled with a supply-constrained market, the demand for new housing is at its highest,” Dustin Davidson, managing director at Hines, said. “Mirador will be critical in providing more options for Austin’s growing population and we are excited to work alongside our partners given they each provide a unique and valued perspective in single-family development.”
The local housing market has been hot in recent years, with home sales accelerating earlier in the pandemic. In July 2021, the Austin metro area hit its pricing peak at $478,000. As Austonia previously reported, the area has been expected to see the Tesla effect, with the new workforce driving up demand for housing and other services.
The single-family houses are expected to be developed over the course of six years, in phases. Construction on the homes is expected to start this year and home sales will begin in 2023.
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Editor's note: This story summarizes Sports Illustrated's story detailing Michael Center's involvement in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, based on interviews with SI's Jon Wertheim. Additionally, Austonia received comments from Michael Center, included in this story.
Confined to his couch, former Longhorns tennis coach Michael Center praised his players via FaceTime after the program he built produced the Longhorns’ first national championship in 2019—a bittersweet moment as Center faced federal charges as part of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.
His name dragged through the mud, Center was fired, arrested by the FBI and sentenced to six months in a Central Texas federal prison after pleading guilty to two charges related to mail fraud. And over a year after his release, Center told Sports Illustrated he doubts he was the only one in burnt orange involved.
When the Varsity Blues scandal broke out to the public in 2019, the investigation was a perfect storm for nationwide attention: Hollywood glamour, blue blood conspiracy and faith in the tried-and-true American education system came to a head as 33 movie stars and other elites were found guilty of paying more than $25 million to pave their children’s way into eight colleges, including the University of Texas.
UT was one of eight schools caught in the college admissions scandal. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The figure behind Varsity Blues, “college consultant” Rick Singer, would plead guilty to four felony counts for faking SAT scores and bribing coaches at prominent universities for his elite clients—but not before throwing Center under the bus.
Singer's client, private equity executive Chris Schaepe, was looking for a way to bend UT's tight admissions policies for his son, who was seeking a position oddly as a manager on UT’s basketball team. Through a middleman, Singer contacted Center, who eventually agreed.
Schaepe's son hadn't played tennis since his freshman year of high school. It was a detail that Center says passed through plenty of hands before he was admitted, including "academic support staff, the compliance office, the sports supervisor and, ultimately, the athletic director," SI's Jon Wertheim writes.
No one in the entire athletic department, including seven "risk management and compliant services department" employees, was named, implicated or punished. After an internal investigation, Center was the only one named in the Varsity Blues "subterfuge" in a September 2019 UT news release signed by the university president.
He told Austonia he was never contacted by the university during the investigation, and when the NCAA interviewed him for its investigation, he says it cleared him of any violations.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” Center said. “I literally couldn’t breathe. There’s no college coach in America—much less at a state school, much less a coach of a nonrevenue sport—who can admit an athlete without consulting other people in the athletic department. What they were asking people to believe, it’s just impossible.” SI said Center's assertion was backed by multiple UT coaches and administrators at other schools.But why would the Forty Acres be complicit?
Center said UT’s then newly named athletic director Steve Patterson made clear that Center suddenly was responsible for more than building a successful tennis program. He was to be a "fundraiser first and coach second" and he would need to find donors to fund a new tennis facility. Patterson admitted to SI that he wanted his coaches to find donors and said the department was "$15 million in the red" when he started in 2013, though he denies any knowledge of the false tennis recruitment.
Center said he knew he would be "considered a team player" if he let in the son of a Silicon Valley magnate. And sure enough, Schaepe immediately began pulling out his wallet, donating $100,000 to UT tennis and a six-figure check to the school's communication program.
"I never entered this as a way to profit. This was a fundraising mission where I made a terrible mistake at the end,"
Months after Schaepe's son was admitted, Center agreed to meet Singer at the Austin airport and found himself accepting a backpack filled with $60,000 in cash meant for him, personally. He said he immediately knew he had made a mistake. He told SI “I put the money in my basement and gave most of it away.”
“Why did I do it?” Center told Sports Illustrated. "I go to bed and wake up each day asking myself the same question. I had to convince myself that I somehow deserved the money."
Once in court, Center showed texts with UT's compliance official and mentioned Chris Plonsky, a department executive involved in "overseeing men’s tennis, compliance, academic support (which generates letters of intent) and the Longhorn Foundation," according to SI.
“I knew I had to answer for my guilt,” Center said. “But I was like, 'Man, schools are going to get hammered.'"'
INMATE 77806-112 but out on Sunday: Actor Felicity Huffman in prison uniform outside low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin to visit actor husband William H. Macy & their daughter. Huffman admitted to paying $15K to have fixer boost daughter’s SAT score. 📸: @TMZ pic.twitter.com/9jALmqnA0U
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) October 21, 2019
But Center was the only Longhorn to go down for the crimes. “I was no rogue actor,” Center said. “And this wasn’t my word against their word. There were signatures that went along with it. That’s the system... There wasn’t one point in the process where I thought people wanted to learn the whole truth.”
Back at home in Austin, Center watched as actress Felicity Huffman served just eleven days for her part in the scandal. Some served up to five months; others simply paid a fine, and others, like Singer, await sentencing.
And because the prosecution chose to blame individual coaches, framing schools as victims in the case, universities like UT have received less than a slap on the wrist for their possible involvement.
“I was always taught that actions have consequences,” Center said. “What I’ve come to realize is that, yes, for some people actions absolutely do have consequences. Serious, heavy ones. For others, actions can have no consequences at all.”
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