The Perfect Balance

Article excerpt

Famous Properties

Austin's One Congress Plaza is a bustling city center emitting Southern charm by Diana Mirel

In a city known for its down-home, yet cosmopolitan personality, it is no surprise one of Austin, Texas' most famous buildings is both a bustling corporate center and a laid-back community gathering spot.

One Congress Plaza, located in the heart of downtown Austin and sitting on an entire city block, captures the essence of the city with its unique stair-step design and bold neon blue lights around its perimeter. Its dramatic views of Hill Country, downtown, the capitol building and Town Lake expose Austin's different terrains, and bring the city's high-tech, but low-key vibe to the surface.

Built in 1987, One Congress Plaza has strong roots in Austin's history. It is a cast-in-place concrete building, skinned in sunset red granite-the same granite used to construct the state capitol 100 years ago.

The building's height also pays homage to the state capitol. Standing 30 stories high, views of the capitol building are spectacular. A government code restricting how tall buildings can be in certain areas of downtown protects views of the capitol in several corridors of the city. One Congress Plaza was built with these restrictions, and its views are thereby protected, said Andrew Smith, managing partner of Equity Office in Austin, which manages the building.

A fixture in the skyline itself, One Congress Plaza attracts many national firms like Wells Fargo Bank, Merrill Lynch, Oracle and KPMG. Currently, the building is 88 percent occupied-four to six points higher than the market-and has 36 tenants. Prospective tenants are drawn to the building's views, prime location and its wide variety of floor plans-thanks to its unique hexagon design. …