More Than an Apartment: How LV Collective’s Moontower Dominated Competitive Student Housing Market  

Near the University of Texas at Austin lies West Campus, one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the state of Texas. With over 17,000 residents, most of which are students, you might assume finding even the most undesirable of apartments is a brutal hunt. 

However, with tens of thousands of beds available throughout West Campus in off-campus dorms, Greek houses, co-ops, traditional houses, and dozens of apartment complexes, the burden is on landlords and developers who must compete to fill their units from the same pool of students. Especially with multiple brand-new student apartments popping up each year with bigger and better offerings, it can be difficult for an apartment with hundreds of beds to lease each space.

Fully aware of this challenge, LV Collective had its eye on the parcel of land at 2204 San Antonio Street, a highly coveted site at a prime location in West Campus. In 2018, LV acquired the site in a swift off-market transaction because of its local knowledge, long-standing relationships, and credibility based on its other successful projects at UT.

moontower atx pool

A Uniquely Austin Approach to Student Housing

LV seized this opportunity as a chance to take a fresh approach to student housing. The location in West Campus was already as good as it gets; when gazing up from the West Mall, a highly-trafficked intersection where students cross Guadalupe Street from campus to West Campus, the property is front and center. Plus, because of height limitations on surrounding parcels, its prime visibility from campus and killer views would never be obstructed.


Exterior rendering of Moontower ATX near Guadalupe Street and the Co-Op in Austin, TX

An Enthusiastically Local Brand

LV decided that a site so iconically Austin deserved an authentically Austin brand. 

Moontowers, used in the late 1700s to light neighborhoods before robust street lighting was available, are almost extinct; Austin remains the only city in the world with functioning moontowers. Add UT icon Matthew McConaughey’s Dazed and Confused reference, “Party at the moontower,” and the name fit the project perfectly. 

And it wasn’t just the Moontower name that had an Austin emphasis. The logo, interiors, and website were designed with a local focus. Floorplans were named “The Kendra,” “The Durant,” and “The Wilson” after notable former students, athletes, and other well-known Austinites.

A Step Above the Rest

Along with its intentional branding, Moontower introduced an elevated level of design more akin to boutique hotels than student housing projects. Unlike most institutional-grade residences whose common areas and hallways are designed to limit wear and tear, and feel more like a hospital than a hotel, Moontower utilized highly curated, layered spaces with cozy fabrics, vintage rugs, and commissioned art.

“No two spaces alike” was the design mantra of the project’s interior designer, Chelsea Kloss. Each of the seven private study rooms features a distinct design. The spin room and yoga studio feel like one-off boutique concepts operating within the building and have identities all their own. The yoga room is flooded with natural light, stellar views, and earthy elements that conjure major zen. And the first-of-its-kind, dedicated spin studio is dark and moody like today’s popular spin concepts. Design elements sourced from local Austin tile suppliers, artists and boutiques give an Austin-cool, eclectic feel throughout the property.

It takes touring Moontower to truly understand the difference in its amenity spaces. At other projects, amenities such as pool decks, study rooms, and gyms are empty, but at Moontower, these spaces are active and alive. The study space is packed like a thriving WeWork, treadmills are taken, a student is hosting an impromptu spin class, and the pool deck is abuzz with energy even in the winter.

Moontower redesigned and re-imagined these “check the box” amenities. LV worked with student interns to help design the amenities and gave them the power to program them. The spaces are smaller and more intimate, but thoughtful layering with curated design elements gives them more energy per square foot™. They simply feel good.

Living room at Moontower Austin
Kitchen close up at Moontower Austin
Study conference room at Moontower Austin
Open lounge and study space at Moontower Austin

Intentional Input, Worthwhile Output

Moontower’s stellar location, elevated design, and re-imagined amenity spaces give it cache and help it stand out amongst its competitors. But those who live in Moontower know that it’s more than a building; it’s a lifestyle.

Moontower challenged the status quo in student housing, and students noticed. More importantly, it gave students something to own, spaces to activate, and a place to live their best lives. LV gave them the space, and the students gave it life. As a result, Moontower saw unprecedented success.

Moontower led the charge in off-campus leasing at UT, hitting 97% leasing velocity by November 2019 and claiming the title of first property to hit 100% occupancy in the 2020-2021 leasing season. Moontower achieved the highest rents in the market, performing above proforma. Moontower sold in October 2020 and was one of the largest single-asset sales during the pandemic. 

Now that’s an outcome that’s alright, alright, alright.