With 20-plus years in the real estate industry—15 developing and marketing condominium projects in downtown Austin, Texas—Alan Holt has seen his share of ups and downs in the marketplace. To date, he has managed the sale of over $250 million in Austin properties, with approximately $200 million in downtown Austin condominium projects. These include, most recently, Four Seasons Residences Austin, which followed 5FiftyFive Condominiums at Hilton Austin downtown, Plaza Lofts, and pioneer projects, Brazos Lofts and The Avenue.
Holt’s real estate career began in Austin in 1993, shortly after earning his BA from Texas State University. A native west Texan, Holt says he was drawn to central Texas, “for the trees, mostly,” adding, “I was captivated by the energy of urban life and public spaces. Growing up in rural Texas deepened my appreciation for living in the city.”
In 1997, in his late 20s and going into his fourth year in real estate, Holt joined an Austin development company that was still in the planning stages on a project called Brazos Lofts, a 1925 warehouse conversion, and at the time the first residential project in downtown Austin in fifteen years. “I was fortunate to have an opportunity like that early on. They taught me how to get a building built. And sold. I learned development marketing from the inside,” says Holt. In addition to sales and marketing, Holt was given project management responsibilities and was involved at every step in the development process. In 2000, with two completed and sold-out projects under his belt, Holt was promoted to vice president on Plaza Lofts, and also served as HOA president during the declarant control period.
Plaza Lofts was launched during the dot-com boom of 1999-2000—a time when many projects were on the pre-marketing bandwagon inspired by new-found interest in downtown living in Austin—when the market went bust. Holt and the rest of the Plaza development group rolled up their sleeves and, after redesigning parts of the project during construction, including adding a rooftop pool, they were able to sell out the project by 2004, yielding a positive return for investors despite the market downturn.
From 2004 to 2007, Holt served as director of sales and marketing at the 5FiftyFive Condominiums at the then recently-completed Hilton Austin Downtown. He assembled a team of six and launched the sales and marketing program concurrently with construction. “The hotel was completed and opened, but the nine condominium floors had been left as a concrete shell. On day one, we were under construction without any sales material or a model to show people. It was a race to see how fast we could get everything launched,” says Holt. Build-out of 98 units on nine floors took just under two years, with residents moving in as soon their units were finished, even with construction ongoing. “Occupying a building while under construction is always stressful,” he says. “The necessary added emphasis on customer service slows everything down.” Despite the challenges, Holt and his team surpassed 90 percent closed and occupied status on the project during the same month build-out was completed. “Sales were coming as fast as we could make them, and we were closing each unit as fast as we could build it.” Holt adds, “The challenge was there were no pre-sales to start the project, yet we still had the majority of units under contract before they were built out. We were boarding people onto a moving train. It was incredibly stressful, exhilarating, and ultimately exhausting.”
From late 2007 through 2010, Holt diversified and took a break from brokering real estate (though he maintained his active license). “The market was down,” says Holt. “But that’s the beauty of real estate—you just have to find the opportunities. Your ability to succeed is limited only by your imagination and your work ethic.”
Holt launched a homebuilding and remodeling venture, remodeling over 30 homes with three crews in a little over a year, at one time juggling six remodeling jobs concurrently. “Of all the facets of real estate, building is the most satisfying,” he says. “I love bringing an idea into reality. It’s always a team approach. Being part of a team inspires me.”
In mid-2009, at the urging of investor clients, Holt reengaged in real estate brokerage, focusing this time on commercial transactions—including managing the leasing on several multi-tenant commercial projects. He also represented residential clients, including downtown condominium buyers and sellers.
Most recently, in 2011, Post Properties tapped Holt as director of sales and marketing at the recently completed Four Seasons Residences Austin, with the project just over 50 percent sold at the time. By May 2013, less than two years after coming on board at Four Seasons, Holt sold out the project, with average sales of $1 million plus per week throughout his tenure.
“Every project has its own personality,” says Holt. “The objective of marketing a project is to find that personality and reveal it in a coherent way to the target market. The objective of selling is to deliver on what you’ve marketed.”
David Ward, Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Post Properties, Inc. comments, “Alan Holt led the sales effort at the Four Seasons Residences Austin on behalf of Post Properties, Inc. (NYSE) for the last two years of our sales effort. Alan’s role included direct sales, managing the sales team, and formulating and implementing our marketing and advertising strategies. I truly believe that Alan’s involvement at the Four Seasons Residences resulted in a material improvement to our financial bottom line on the development. Alan has demonstrated to me that he is a proven leader in the Austin real estate community with unmatched expertise in the local condominium market.”
Over the years, Holt has worked with many architects, contractors, designers, marketers and realtors, as well as literally thousands of prospective downtown buyers and residents.
Alan Holt’s goal is to provide exemplary service to buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords of residential and commercial properties, primarily in the town where he has lived and worked for 20 plus years—Austin, Texas.
Credentials & Memberships:
Licensed Texas Real Estate Broker since 1997
Holt is a member of:
the Austin Board of REALTORS®
the Real Estate Council of Austin
the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association
Holt serves on the Board of Directors of Hyde Park Theatre