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Entertainment Value at The Austonian
"One of the amazing things about The Austonian is that our amenity spaces can accommodate just about any type of event," says Brooke Straub, the event coordinator at The Austonian. From the beginning, developers of the luxury condominium were determined to create entertainment-focused amenities within the building that served as and felt like extensions of residents' homes.
The development team recognized that luxury suburban homes often feature deluxe party spaces and grand dining areas - areas that homeowners feared losing if they moved into a high-rise residence. The Austonian entertainment areas needed to outshine what homeowners were used to in their suburban dwellings.
Event-throwers have myriad catering options, and there are two catering kitchens: one on the 10th and 55th floors, both of which feature warming and refrigeration equipment. And it's hard to imagine a local venue superior to The Austonian Club, the 6,000-square-foot entertainment area – the highest in the city – on the 55th floor.
The Austonian began to hold exclusive events prior to welcoming the first residents in mid 2010. To date, the amenity spaces have served as the perfect setting for weddings, dances, birthday parties, movie parties, dinner parties, football parties, and intimate get-togethers, among others. Last year, SXSW hosted a number of parties, where CEOs mingled with musicians, tech geniuses and select festival attendees. "There were so many out-of-towners that came," recalls Brooke. "Because it was a unique opportunity for them to have a bird's eye view of the city, it felt very special to them."
A number of homeowners spent the 4th of July grilling hot dogs on the green roof terrace, also known as The Lawn, the 12,000-square-foot outdoor community area on the 10th floor. Thirty guests attended a wedding ceremony in the same space, which features a 75-foot saltwater pool. One family used the area to host a birthday party for their two-year-old child.
The ways in which children (or, rather, parents on behalf of their children) have used the entertainment amenities is one of Brooke's favorite topics. "One of the most fun events was for a high-school student. She had a sleepover on the 55th floor. There were ten girls who brought sleeping bags, camped out and watched movies all night," says Brooke. One young resident celebrated her sweet 16 at The Austonian. "She and her girlfriends walked next door, had dinner at Second Bar + Kitchen, and then came back over here. We turned up the music on the 55th floor and it was 20 girls dancing the night away at the top of the city. We even had a nice little cupcake bar where they designed their own cupcakes."
Of course, there are more entertainment options for the homeowners themselves. The Austonian Club has served as an ideal venue for a swing-dancing party, private fundraisers, and board meetings. The Grammy award-winning band Asleep at the Wheel played an acoustic performance at a sit down dinner for 40 that was won at the Mack Brown Charity Golf Tournament several months before. And this past year, for SXSW, there was a movie premiere after-party for 225 guests. "The lobby displayed large marquee type posters of the movie," recalls Brooke. "On the 55th floor, we had clips from the movie playing on big screens; there was a photo booth, a DJ, food and drinks, and even a few celebrity sightings. Billy Bob Thornton, Joey Lauren Adams and a few local stars were part of the mix."
Though each of the larger events reflects a particular vision, Brooke admits that she also has a soft spot for intimate 55th-floor happenings. "At the smaller events the personalities of the homeowners really come through in their set up and design," she says. "We did a Hanukah dinner last year for 16 people. The homeowners prepared a traditional Jewish meal, plating everything on their own dishes. They brought their own menorah and, because the hosts also practice Christmas, the lounge area was decorated with a Christmas tree provided by the HOA. The couple has a very young grandson, and the dinner was really centered around him. The hosts wanted to teach him about different holiday traditions, including Kwanza. The event included the hosts, their children and grandchild, and two other couples from the building. It was very much a family affair."