In April of 2008, developers announced a 4-story, 27 unit development on Barton Springs just east of Lamar adjacent to the train tracks, McDonalds, and Peter Pan Mini Golf. With pricing starting at $1,000,000, our original reaction was that “the project is a very odd combination of location and pricing that suggests a lack of experience in residential development.” At the high end, the units were priced at $900 / SF making this the most expensive development in Austin.
This week, the project, 1155 Barton Springs, filed for bankruptcy. According to the Austin Business Journal, “PPT Development is seeking Chapter 11 protection, filed at the end of May, claiming its assets and debts each range from $1 million to $10 million, according to records that did not include a complete list of creditors. The company’s largest creditor is San Antonio-based Overland Partners, the lead architect on the project, which is owed about $1 million, according to court records. Despite the setback, PPT Development LP principal Steffen Waltz said the $40 million development called 1155 Barton Springs is merely in hibernation, not dead.”
While strong projects are finding success South of the river, they are succeeding by combining prime locations with prices far below those of the large downtown high-rises. 1155 Barton Springs attempted to combine ultra-luxury with a low-rise “B” grade location — a tough sell in any market. While the views are great, top dollar projects need to be perfect, which is not the case with 1155 Barton Springs.
According to the Austin Business Journal, “the 1155 Barton Springs project has been in the works under various names, including The Milan, since at least 2005. In April 2007, developers announced plans to break ground by that year’s end, with tenants moving in by mid-2009. There would be two portions of the project, they said, with one building on the north side of the property on the corner of Barton Springs and Dawson roads and three buildings toward the southern side. The 24 residential units, ranging from 1,600 to 6,200 square feet, would list for $1 million to $6 million each, according to the announcement.”