Star Riverside, a high end condo project on the south shore of Ladybird Lake just east of I-35, announced today that construction has “temporarily” stopped as a result of the ongoing economic crisis.
In an emergency change, the project developers are redesigning the project well into the construction process. Apparently, the original plan to offer units starting at $600,000 for the first phase was not viable. The redesigned project will focus on smaller units starting at $375,000.
Star Riverside’s challenge has always been location: it is difficult to sell 201 units — the first 64 of which were priced starting at $600,000 — in the shadow of I-35 on East Riverside drive during an economic crisis. While the architecture is compelling and the views of the lake and downtown should be beautiful, the project is priced to compete with the most expensive downtown high rise projects which are much closer to the downtown action, much taller, and much farther from I-35.
From the beginning, the Star Riverside developers have been betting that direct access to the lake and hike and bike trail and unobstructed views of the lake and downtown will lure buyers to the south side of the lake. The drastic construction freeze and mid-project redesign shows that the developers are still searching for just the right combination of price and unit to attract more buyers. The redesign and repositioning is a smart move in this market: it is probably the only path to viability. Still, the project may face a difficult market for the location even with a lower price point.