Local realtor Jude Galligan published a very useful count of known residences in downtown Austin. His analysis counted — building by building — all of the downtown residences he could find. Other than a few Congress Avenue residences and the Johnson family apartment in the Littlefield building, the list is very comprehensive.
The list included 35 buildings with a total of 3,954 units. Of these, 2,380 of these units are condos and 1,574 are rental units. All of them are available for occupancy today although many may not yet be occupied (i.e. The Monarch). As would be expected, 75% of available downtown units are in just 15 buildings:
|Gables West Ave|
|AMLI on 2nd|
|Legacy on the Lake|
|Towers on Town Lake|
|404 Rio Grande|
|300 North Lamar|
|Red River Flats|
The other buildings included in the count are– in size order — 555, the Nokonah, Brown Building, Westgage Towers, Austin City Lofts, Penthouse Condos, Sabine on 5th, Brazos Place, Plaza Lofts, Posada del Rey, Villa on Town Lake, Regency, Avenue Lofts, Brazos Lofts, Littlefield Quarters, 904 West, House Park, Hickory Hill Apartments, 706 West, North Cottage, and the Burke Hendricks House.
AustinTowers is currently tracking another 781 condo units which are currently under construction and expected to be delivered over the next 2 years. A number of large rental project are also currently under development.
For a metropolitan area with nearly 1.6 million residents, there is enough capacity downtown today to house a miniscule .5% of Austin residents. With high land and construction costs, however, downtown units remian out of reach of a large portion of Austin area home buyers.
Interestingly enough, the estimated downtown Austin population of approximately 6,000 residents is substantially lower than the number of Austinites who used to live downtown in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. In 1940, when the entire population of Austin was 87,930, approximately 13,000 people representing nearly 15% of the population lived downtown. During this period, residents lived mostly in single family homes and small housing projects. During the later half of the 20th century, Austin’s downtown population steadily declined as commercial, retail, and industrial development displaced downtown housing and as many residents fled for the newly emerging suburbs. The downtown population bottomed out at 3,500 in the 1980s and has been slowly increasing ever since.
While the current downtown building boom is unprecedented, it will not create enough capacity to meet Mayor Wynn’s goal of 25,000 downtown residents.