Living the high life in a Houston high-rise

HOUSTON They are quite literally "mansions in the sky" - exclusive high rise buildings, soaring over the Houston skyline.

They've popped up in Houston's most exclusive neighborhoods. And one of the newest, sleekest, boldest offerings is at 2727 Kirby, rising 30 stories above the trees of River Oaks.

"This building is probably one of the most forward buildings that we have ever had in Houston," said Martha Turner of Martha Turner Properties.

Living in the sky, privacy is a plus. With wall-to-wall glass, window coverings are optional. Interiors range from tastefully traditional, to uber-modern. Shopping and dining is in walking distance.

"A spa for working out, a Pilates room. There is an area for the golfer. If you want to be out in the sun here it is. We have a full catering kitchen," said Turner.

Throw in chic party rooms, an immaculate dog park, ultra-modern appliances with espresso machines built into your kitchen, and a full time concierge standing at attention.

"It's like living in a 5 star hotel without the hotel guests," said Sylvia Lopez, Sales Director.

But for all these perks, the going rate is sky-high. You won't get into to 2727 Kirby for much less than $1 million. This 5,000 square foot unit on the 29th floor is on the market for $3 million; the 12,000 square foot penthouse is $10 million.

"In a building like this, the higher the floor, the more you pay, and that makes sense," Turner said.

Over the past five years, demand for high rises in Houston has risen. So who lives here and at the Huntingdon, Bayou Bend, and other high rise havens?

"I was driving down Kirby in the process of getting divorced, so I thought, well, a girl has to live somewhere. And I picked this place and never looked back and love it," said Margo Geddie.

They are divorcees, empty-nesters, young professionals. All types of people, drawn by the views and the lock and leave lifestyle. But if they're so desirable, why do you find pages of listings, and plenty of empty space?

"Well, it is hard for a Texan not to own dirt. I mean, that is just something that is ingrained into us as Texans," said Tim Surratt of Greenwood King Properties.

But more and more Texans are opting to live the high life. In the past year, Surrat says, "the average sales price is up about 22 percent and the median price is up 13 percent on high rises."

And if you ask these believers, it's easy to understand why.

"It's safe, it's beautiful, you have a view, you have all the amenities in the building you don't have to leave the building," said Ivan del Puerto.

"Most of the homeowners here want to be pampered a hundred percent of the time. And that's what we do," said Lopez.

That's truly living the "high life."

According to Surratt with Greenwood King, in terms of an investment, single family homes retain their value the best. After that are town homes, then high rises.

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