San Jose welcomes luxury high-rise living

September 19, 2008 7:25:09 PM PDT
Downtown San Jose is growing up, and for the first time, offering luxury high-rise living.

Joseph Rosenfeld bought one of those condos three weeks ago. He is now enjoying easy access to shops, restaurants, entertainment, public transit and more.

"We can just take a walk around Guadalupe Park and there's so much to see and do in downtown and we really think it is the future," Rosenfeld said.

Developers see a future too. There are towering projects in downtown. Together, Axis, 360 Residences, City Heights and The 88 are putting 600 new high-rise units on the market.

But those units are entering a depressed housing market. Condo sales are down more than 25 percent from one year ago, and the median sales price has dropped more than 26 percent to $385,000.

Prices for these new luxury units generally start in the mid $400,000 range. At Axis, a studio goes for $330,000, and a penthouse suite goes for more than $2 million.

"Our pricing strategy was on spot from the beginning because we anticipated there was a slowdown in the housing market," Axis developer Mark Tersini said.

While the massive influx of condo units makes for a competitive market, developers are actually working together to showcase what urban living is all about.

The city is also aggressively helping market the projects with an open house this weekend.

"It's a tough housing market right now so the rising tide is going to lift all ships," Scott Knies, executive director of the Downtown Association said. "We want everyone to come down and kick the tires on all four condominium projects this weekend during the open house."

For Rosenfeld, it was an easy sell.

"It's wonderful to be able to lift up the shades and be able to see what's happening outside," he said.

As the San Jose skyline changes, the city hopes urban living will rise above the housing crisis.


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