As out-of-state transplants continue to flock to Southwest Austin, apartment complex developers are considering the area a lucrative proposition for luxury living.

Luxury apartment complexes, including AMLI Covered Bridge, Ocotillo and The Santal, opened within the past year or plan to open soon.

Representatives from several of the complexes have cited the developments’ proximity to downtown, the area’s major employers, the influx of out-of-state transplants moving to Austin and growing development in the surrounding area as reasons why luxury apartments are a good fit for Southwest Austin.

“We’ve been doing outreach marketing with everyone in the area: Dripping Springs, Hill County Galleria, NXP [Semiconductors NV], ARM [Holdings], and others off of Southwest Parkway,” Ocotillo Community Manager Kim Caracciolo said. “We have a lot of people nearby.”

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Why Southwest Austin?

AMLI, at 8715 W. Hwy. 71, opened its first phase for pre-leasing in September, with the first residential move-ins occurring in late October, AMLI Community Manager Brandon Venema said.

AMLI Residential originally sold an apartment complex in the area about three years ago, so AMLI Covered Bridge is the company’s reintroduction into the Southwest Austin submarket, Venema said.

“We’ve seen a surge of local restaurants and businesses enter the Southwest Austin area in the past few years, such as Via 313, and we’re 5 miles from Hill Country Galleria,” Venema said. “We’re also close to major employers, including Austin-based YETI Coolers. They have a complex under construction on Southwest Parkway.”

In front of AMLI Covered Bridge on Hwy. 71 is future space for restaurants, retail and veterinarian Southwest Vet, Venema said. The new retail space will be beneficial for AMLI residents because they will have the experience of a mixed-use environment in the Hill Country, he said.

For Ocotillo, Caracciolo said there is a segment of homeowners who are wanting to move out of houses and into apartments for convenience, but they still want the luxuries that they had in their houses. Future residents interested in Ocotillo have also been out-of-state transplants who are seeking a luxury apartment, she added.

Ocotillo, scheduled to open late this year at 8000 W. Hwy. 290, is being built in an “untouched gem” of an area, Caracciolo said.

Luxury apartments grow in Southwest Austin Luxury apartments grow in Southwest Austin[/caption]

“There are other communities here that have been here since 2010, and I feel like there wasn’t much new building going on, so everyone has been taking advantage of that after downtown development was getting dense,” Caracciolo said.

Construction for The Santal, located at 7624 Tecoma Circle near the William Cannon Drive and Southwest Parkway intersection, began in spring 2015. Residents moved into the first phase of the complex Jan. 15, The Santal Community Manager Jennifer Krienke said. The complex has a 30 percent occupancy rate as of July 14, Krienke said.

The Santal owner Stratus Properties plans to build an
$80 million mixed-use development at the southwest corner of Southwest and William Cannon named Lantana Place. The mixed-use center is planned to include a Moviehouse & Eatery, 140,000 square feet of office space, hotels, restaurants and retail.

Addressing the demand for luxury apartments in Southwest Austin, The Santal District Manager Melissa Zanoni said there are many workers in the tech industry moving to Austin from the West and East coasts who were used to paying high prices for apartments compared with Austin prices.

“Southwest Austin is becoming a really strong destination for people wanting to enjoy the features of the Hill Country and the convenience of being close to downtown Austin,” Krienke said.

Zanoni added that residents will be able to be close to downtown without having to pay downtown Austin living prices.

What ‘luxury’ means

Robin Davis of Austin Investor Interests LLC, which tracks apartment data in the Austin and San Antonio areas, said classifying an apartment complex as “luxury” is relative depending on what the complex is being compared with. Some complexes will say they have a media room, which can mean a TV in the clubhouse for one complex or a mini-theater in another, Davis said. Similar comparisons can be made with luxury swimming pools, Davis added.

“In some areas, simply having an A/C [unit] is a luxury, versus others it is a doorman and valet parking along with the finest of amenities and services [that] is a comparable luxury,” Davis said. “However in Austin, a luxury asset would have granite or premium countertops, stainless steel and premium appliances, upper-end flooring, a resort-style pool, a state-of-the-art fitness room, garage parking, a game room, media room and social lounge.”[totalpoll id="166972"]

Local luxury amenities

AMLI’s second phase of pre-leasing began in June with the final building completion set for the end of July. Monthly rental rates for the 330 units at AMLI range from $1,230-$2,870.

AMLI’s amenities include swimming pools with lounge areas, a fitness center, granite countertops, plank flooring, USB outlets for charging electronics, open green space, a hike and bike trail, and views of the Hill Country.

Ocotillo, managed by Greystar, is planned to have 308 units and 11 residential buildings when it opens in late 2016. Monthly rental rates will range from $1,065-$2,195.

Amenities at the property include a clubhouse, fitness center, swimming pool, dog park, covered parking, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and Hill Country views.

The Santal, managed by Capstone Management, has 236 units in its first phase and 200 units in the second. The first phase is now open, and the second phase is scheduled to open in 2017.

Amenities at The Santal include a dog park, gated access, a swimming pool with grill and lounge areas, a fitness center, Nest thermostats, hickory hardwood floors, quartz countertops, 17-foot vaulted ceilings and sound-insulation features. Monthly rental rates at The Santal range from $1,399-$2,599.