Vertical Living
living the good life in san antonio
If you are relocating to San Antonio, why not move “up” when you get there? San Antonio’s skyline is glistening with new vertical living developments offering world-class amenities. Beginning in 2008, many new developments including high-rise condominiums, lofts, mid-rises and condo-hotels broke ground in the city. These vertical living developments provide San Antonio residents with a new breed of urban lifestyle available in a variety of luxury finishes and affordable prices.

There are three main locales where vertical living is concentrated. While most of the new developments are springing up in the downtown area, both Alamo Heights and the area surrounding the South Texas Medical Center offer numerous options. Most of the new developments range in height from 20 to 34 stories, while others are erected atop established hotel buildings. Prices range from $100,000 to $1 million depending on the property’s dimensions, location and amenities.

Among those attracted to this urban lifestyle are working professionals, bohemian artists, empty nesters, singles and people looking to purchase a second home or investment property. With such an eclectic demographic interested in vertical living, it is fair to assume that there is a multifaceted appeal to this lifestyle. Indeed, vertical living is appealing for a number of reasons, chiefly its low maintenance, “lock and leave” potential.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Vertical Living
Before purchasing a high-rise, loft, mid-rise or condo-hotel, there are several things to consider. While the urban lifestyle of vertical living may be right for some, others find they prefer living in a single-family residence. Below is an overview of a few things you should consider when contemplating vertical living.

Marital Status: Many single professionals are attracted to vertical living because of the lifestyle it supports. Often vertical living developments are built in close proximity to entertainment venues, offering hassle-free access to restaurants, clubs and bars. Young couples who do not have children and are not expecting to expand their families anytime soon are also attracted to this exuberant lifestyle. Additionally, many married empty nesters have gravitated toward vertical living because it offers a convenient lifestyle they are free to enjoy once their children have left home.

Commute Time: Working professionals realize time is precious. After a long day in the office, the last thing they want to do is commute for an hour back to the suburbs. This is why vertical living is appealing to them. Vertical living provides housing options in locations close to many major companies, which the majority of suburbs do not supply. By choosing vertical living, working professionals save time, money and gas.

Property Maintenance: Imagine having a professional repair man always at your service. When a pipe breaks, you make a phone call and someone comes to fix it. You no longer need to head to the hardware store, buy the supplies and fix it yourself. Vertical living supports this lifestyle, as many of the buildings have onsite property managers to assist you with all aspects of home maintenance. Many of the higher-end properties even have a full-service concierge to tend to residents’ every need, including show tickets and dinner reservations. Furthermore, while some loft properties now feature amenities including rooftop gardens, most vertical residences afford a lifestyle free from yard maintenance.

Safety: Many people are drawn to vertical living because of its outstanding safety features. On a structural level, high-rise residential towers are commercial-grade products that require industrial strength concrete and steel. All of the building plans and materials must meet required wind and seismic ratings, assuring the safety of all tenants. These developments also require life-safety and sprinkler systems. Aside from structural safety, many vertical living developments feature guard-gated entries, security monitoring systems and onsite security guards. For people who travel frequently, the abundant safety features are especially appealing, providing them with the ability to “lock and leave,” knowing everything will be secure when they return.

Diversity: Vertical living developments offer a chance to live next to an diverse group of people. First-time tenants of vertical living compounds often find that their fellow residents come from every walk-of-life imaginable. As buildings can often be considered micro-communities, vertical living provides a chance to become acquainted with a host of interesting people.

Amenities: The amenities vertical living developments offer are truly unmatched. Some of the onsite services include concierge, room service, fitness centers, full-service spas, restaurants, valet, movie and game rooms and conference facilities. While some developments allow you to customize the interior of your residence to suit your specifications, many other properties feature turnkey-style living. Turnkey residences offer every imaginable upgrade, from appliances to furniture, in the pre-determined rent cost.

The View: For many people a scenic view may not be something that immediately comes to mind when thinking about vertical living. These people would be pleasantly surprised to gaze out of a panoramic window on the 25th floor of one of San Antonio’s high-rise developments. Many of the projects offer spectacular views, including some of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable. From your vantage point high in the clouds, you can enjoy unmatched views of the hustle and bustle of city life.

Investment: Many people decide to purchase a vertical living residence for the sole purpose of having an investment property. With the prime location of many developments, investors often find that these properties rent more easily and at a higher price than single-family homes. Popular among investors are the condo-hotel properties, as they are placed into the hotel’s rental pool for a large portion of the year, thus becoming a supplemental source of income for its owner. Others choose to make an investment in a second home, offering an urban retreat close to shopping and entertainment destinations.

Rules and Regulations: There are many more rules and regulations in vertical living than in single-family residential properties. Buildings often have strict policies concerning visitors, pet allowance and noise levels. In certain cases, the building policies will dictate how you can decorate and/or alter your residence. While some people may find this restrictive, many people find comfort in knowing that all residents have certain standards by which they must abide. It is always advantageous to familiarize yourself with building rules and regulations, prior to purchasing a residence to determine if they comply with your lifestyle.

Fees: In addition to mortgage payments, residents in vertical living developments are subject to a variety of fee assessments. For instance, building maintenance fees may be charged on a regular basis. Special improvement fees may be assessed as needed. You may also be charged for certain amenities such as parking or concierge service. Many developments have homeowner associations (HOA) that require monthly dues to cover property upkeep, staff payroll, insurance and repairs to the building. HOA dues and any other potential fees must be disclosed before purchasing a residence, so be sure you are fully versed prior to making your decision.

Understanding the Difference
Once you have considered every aspect of vertical living, it is time to determine what type of vertical dwelling is right for you. As previously mentioned, San Antonio offers a variety of developments including high-rise and mid-rise condominiums, lofts and condo-hotels. Below is an a summary of each variety of vertical living to better help you make the best decision for your personal needs.

— High-rise Condominiums
High-rise condominiums provide a type of home ownership in which the owner owns the individual residence and jointly owns common parts of the property. Because of this shared ownership, owners are subject to maintenance fees assessed by a property management company or HOA. Also, as a result of the high costs associated with building high-rises, this category frequently consists of high-priced, luxury residences. The amenities will often correspond to the prices, reflecting an unmatched level of decadence and quality services. It is commonplace for high-rise condominiums to feature fitness facilities, swimming pools, valet and concierge services and top-notch security.

— Mid-rise Condominiums
Mid-rise condominiums are typically five to ten stories high and usually do not feature the amenities of high-rise developments. While a mid-rise may have a pool or a fitness center, they generally do not have any onsite management personnel. This results in lower fees for mid-rise owners. Mid-rises also have mid-level prices, often at a much lower cost than a comparable residence in a high-rise. Mid-rise owners also enjoy the relatively small size of their building community. In addition, these developments often have a lower rate of owner-occupied residences than high-rises. One advantage usually found in mid-rise developments is the roof-top garden or common roof deck. These features offer outside space with minimal cost to maintain.

— Lofts
Loft living is renown for its open-floor plan style that allows for maximum space. Usually found in industrial areas, many lofts were originally commercial buildings that were then transformed into contemporary living spaces. Frequently, loft developments highlight the original architecture of the building, complete with high ceilings, exposed duct work, original wooden floors and expansive windows. In other cases, the owners may customize their residence to fit their specifications. Lofts are very popular among people who work from home because of their open spaces and well-lit rooms. They are also wonderful venues for small parties due to their flexible floor plans. Like condominiums, lofts offer many amenities including fitness centers, salons and housekeeping services.

— Condo-hotels
Condo-hotels, also known as condotels, are high-rise luxury properties similar to high-rise condominiums. The one major difference is that condo-hotel developments are owned and operated by well-known hospitality companies such as Hyatt, Hilton, Trump and Starwood. The amenities offered by condo-hotels are typically unsurpassed and include world-class dining, high-end spas, full-service concierge and numerous pools. Owners of hotel-condos enjoy use of their residence at certain times during the year. When they are not using it they can place the condo into the hotel’s rental program and receive a portion of the revenue it generates. The hotel takes care of renting and cleaning the condo as well as all other management functions. The revenue received from the rental helps to offset the high fees associated with this type of ownership.

San Antonio’s area Selection
As mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, there are three areas in San Antonio where vertical living developments are concentrated. While the downtown area is home to the majority of new, high-profile vertical developments, both Alamo Heights and the area near the South Texas Medical Center offer a variety of vertical dwellings. The following section provides a sample of select properties available in each area.

— Downtown
La Casada is a 12-story, 46-residence, high-rise development located on San Antonio’s Riverwalk. Prices range from $500,000 to $1,050,000 and the amenities include spacious floor plans, designer finishes, a fitness center, business center, balconies, a rooftop dipping pool and spa, gated parking and a 24-hour lobby staff. For more information on La Casada visit www.lacascadaluxury.com.

When finished, Vidorra will consist of two 20-story, luxury high-rise properties in downtown San Antonio. Phase I, which was completed in 2009, features 155 condominiums, town homes and penthouses. Each residence has a private balcony and features every imaginable amenity. There is a four-story parking facility adjacent to the property. Vidorra also offers special incentive programs for military buyers relocating to the San Antonio area. For more information on Vidorra visit www.vidorraliving.com.

New in 2009, the Piazza San Lorenzo is a one-of-a-kind cosmopolitan community on the west bank of the San Antonio River. Palatial residences, specialty boutique shops, four upscale restaurants and several usable offices are among the highlights of this development. The condominiums, La Residenza, comprise four residential buildings in Piazza San Lorenzo: Villa Regina, Villa Bernini, Villa Símona and Villa Palladio. For more information visit www.piazzasanlorenzo.com.

Alteza is surrounded by endless dramatic views from every turn, Alteza residences offer a truly elegant and unparalleled way of living. Alteza’s luxury downtown San Antonio condos on the Riverwalk begin on the 25th floor directly above the Grand Hyatt Hotel, combining secure, luxury living with the exceptional service of a world-class hotel. All of the Grand Hyatt Amenities are available to residents and their guests, including 24 Hour concierge service and room service, the fitness center, discounted rooms for guests, restaurant, bars, and café. Plus, Alteza residents have a private 24-hour concierge available to walk the dog, get those last minute groceries, or theater tickets, and exclusive use of the owners’ only rooftop pool on the 32nd floor, which includes an owners’ kitchen and club room. This is living at its finest. From the private and secure entrances to Alteza, to the expert modern design of each luxury condo, to the stunning views from your private balcony, to the state-of-the-art technology and appliances, and our energy efficient design, we’ve thought of everything. Alteza has 147 incredible residences up to 6000 square feet to choose from offering a floor plan and design to fit any lifestyle. Plus, whether you are looking for intimate, bright, traditional or modern, we offer a number of interiors and flooring options as well as finishes and fixtures to help you create the perfect living environment. 1, 2, and 3 bedroom plans and 2-story penthouses are available starting from the $320,000s. Alteza Luxury Condominium Residences are located on Top of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Downtown San Antonio on the Riverwalk. For more information visit www.thealteza.com/relo or call 877-780-5566.

Judson’s Candy Factory Lofts have given new life to the historic Judson Candy Factory Building. The building, which has been converted to 84 urban-style lofts, features high ceilings and expansive windows. Located within walking distance from the Riverwalk, the King William Historic District and the Blue Star Arts Complex, Judson’s Candy Factory Lofts offer urban residences priced in the mid-$150,000 range. For more information visit www.sweetcityliving.com.

— Alamo Heights
The Broadway San Antonio is a 20 story high-rise that features 92 condominiums with 11 floor plans. Each residence includes expansive windows with breathtaking views, superior quality appliances and designer appointments. Amenities include a fitness center, underground parking and pool with cabanas. The Broadway has a “no tipping policy” that sets it apart from many other high-rise properties where residents feel compelled to tip the staff. For more information visit www.thebroadwaysanantonio.com.

Olmos Tower was one of the first high-rise developments built in San Antonio. The development has 15 stories of condominiums featuring amenities including security, a covered parking garage, pool and fitness center. It is located in close proximity to downtown and the airport. For more information contact (210) 824-6661.

— Medical Center
The Pinnacle at Oak Hills is an affordable mid-rise development located near the South Texas Medical Center. This privately gated condominium community overlooks the third fairway to the Oak Hills Country Club. There are 116 private residences priced in the $200,000 range. For More information visit www.pinnacleatoakhills.com.

La Normandie Condominiums is a Mediterranean-style development priced in the $100,000 range. The development is located in the Medical Center and offers amenities including covered parking, security, tennis and basketball courts and a swimming pool. This affordable development is pet friendly.

The Wurzbach Tower is a high-rise development featuring amenities including a pool, whirlpool, fitness center, parking garage with reserved tenant parking spaces, tennis courts and a party room. Some residences in the Wurzbach are priced to sell below $100,000. For more information contact (210) 614-9888.

Ready to Reach New Heights
Hopefully this chapter of Relocating to San Antonio helped you determine if vertical living is right for you. If you choose to move “up” in San Antonio, remember that it pays to conduct your own research. Contact the property you are interested in and ask to schedule a walk-thru. Local area realtors are a wonderful resource and can provide you with additional information on San Antonio’s developments. Be sure to inquire about included amenities and additional fees associated with any property you are considering. Finally, sit back, relax and enjoy the view from your new home high in the San Antonio sky.
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