Real Estate / Neighborhoods

$2 Million-Plus High-Tech Holodeck Brings a Rare Lake Austin Retreat’s Wonders to Life — Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin Creates a Time Machine

New-Age Virtual Reality Puts You Inside $300 Million Worth of Amenities

BY

When you’re walking across the full basketball court, 32-foot-high ceilings overhead and the 146 inch Samsung TV dubbed The Wall nearby, you finally start to grasp the sheer scale of the Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin. This is what being in the midst of $300 million in amenities feels like. You’re almost swallowed up by the size of this space and all the fun it can provide. And you can’t even see the 32-foot slide that’s hidden behind a wall.

 Of course, none of this stuff is actually here yet. You’re not in this cavernous land where every diversion you could seemingly want — including the first indoor clay tennis court in the entire state of Texas — will be at your beck and call. Instead, you’re in the Holodeck.

 You’re experiencing Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin in virtual reality. Though, this is a whole different type of virtual reality than anyone who’s only delved into it in an Oculus headset or an overpriced hulking video game at Dave & Buster’s has ever known. To do it, you wear a high-tech headset that didn’t exist before October — and step into another world.

This is a photo realistic walking tour that virtually puts you in the spaces that will be part of the first resort Four Seasons has done like this in 62 years — one not connected to a hotel or luxury high-rise tower. It cost more than $2 million to put his Holodeck experience together, money that the visionary serial entrepreneur behind this audacious project — Jonathan Coon of 1-800-CONTACTS fame — is certain is more than worth it.

“It’s a time machine,” Coon says simply.

One that fast forwards its users into sometime in 2025 when Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin is built and wowing in person. One that takes 5,300 square feet of enclosed space — you need room to actually walk around in this Holodeck — and three different futuristic sounding firms (DBOX, Pureblink and Agile Lens) to pull off.

Hey, no one said creating a time machine would be easy. 

“It lets people see what the project is going to look like when it’s built,” Coon tells PaperCity. “And it’s hard to imagine the scale of things. The indoor sports club has 32-foot-high ceilings with a slide in it. I don’t have a 32-foot-high ceiling in my house. I don’t have a frame of reference for that. And I don’t have a a 146 inch TV in my house.

“You can do some amazing things when you’re sharing with 187 other homeowners.”

That is the core idea behind Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin. To create the type of special environment on a rare cliffside perch in Austin that even the most robust hundred millionaire — and even some billionaires — would have trouble pulling off on their own. After all, building a $30 million funicular elevator — completely glass enclosed and air conditioned — on a cliff that will whisk homeowners down to the lake is no minor proposition.

It’s also something that few people — even the people who travel in these kinds of circles — have ever seen before.

A $15 million funicular elevator will whisk homeowners at Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin down to the lake in air conditioned comfort.
A $30 million funicular elevator will whisk homeowners at Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin down to the lake in air conditioned comfort. (Images by DBOX for Austin Capital Partners)

Of course, stepping into that funicular in VR helps crystalize that vision. There is nothing cartoony or flat about this Holodeck virtual reality. It deploys the same software, called Unreal Engine, used to create TV shows like The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones. When you’re walking around the lake clubhouse, you want to walk up to the floor-to-ceiling windows so you can get an even better view of sparkling Lake Austin. When you’re in the private restaurant space, you’re tempted to try and sink into one of the big booths (that come complete with their own lamps, making for an intimate retreat within a larger space) overlooking a picture window modeled after the Billionaire’s Row 432 Park Avenue high-rise in New York City.

“It’s a time machine,” Jonathan Coon says of the $2 million-plus Holodeck.

Some of the early Holodeck visitors have tried to reach out and touch a counter or a piece of fruit. Of course, they’re not really there. You’ll be left grabbing at air. But you do actually get to sit down in The Theater, a 96 seat luxury viewing land with a 60 foot wide Micro LED screen. The chair is actually there and Coon guides you to it in the Holodeck world.

Once seated, you watch one one of the more memorable sci-fi superhero movie scenes. In a completely immersive theater experience.

Of course, the elaborate theater and super detailed screen isn’t really there. But you suddenly have a real sense of what it will feel like to be in this space. One where the back wall can be rolled away to allow another 200 people in on the nights when Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin hosts a private concert.

A lot of superstar musicians love to visit Austin, of course. And Coon happens to casually name drop Sting and Springsteen as the type of folks who could play here one day.

It might sound sales-y. If you weren’t convinced that the future homeowners here definitely could possess both the connections and the wealth to make that kind of private concert happen. This is a dream land of possibilities after all — for people who don’t usually stand for having their dreams restricted.

A Public Park Bonus

By now, you may be thinking, all right this sounds cool. But why should I care about a luxury land of private residences that will start at $4 million (they will range in size from 1,900 to 7,000 square feet)?

Even if you’re not in the tax bracket that can afford to call such a place like this home (and few of us are), this Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin project is also creating the first new public park on Lake Austin since Mount Bonnell in 1935. It will be built around the already unofficial Pennybacker Bridge overlook, one of the spots to snap a selfie or film a quick TikTok video in the entire Austin region. Coon and his partners at Austin Capital Partners (Jason Subotky, and Eduardo Margain co-founded the company with him) are donating what he terms as “$50 million of real estate” to make this new park happen and ensure that their project can too.

“I like the idea of living well and doing good,” Coon tells PaperCity. “It’s doing something good for the city. Obviously, there’s a small amount of people that are going to benefit from living here. But the whole city benefits from having the new park.”

It is certainly more interesting than just another downtown tower stretching high into the sky.

Which is why Coon needed to build a $2 million-plus Holodeck of a virtual reality time machine so potential homeowners can truly get an idea of what it’s all going to be like.

“It’s tough to build a showroom for 300 million dollars of amenities,” Coon says. “What are we going to show you? A stove, an appliance set and a kitchen? That’s what you’d normally have. We have that stuff, but I don’t think that’s going to have the same impact that this does.”

Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin's Lake Clubhouse comes to life in the Holodeck. (Photo courtesy of DBOX for Austin Capital Partners)
Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin’s Lake Clubhouse comes to life in the Holodeck. (Images by DBOX for Austin Capital Partners)

This is the Holodeck, named after the space-aged simulation rooms in Star Trek. After all, you’re not going to find a luxury high-rise tower in Austin — no matter how tall it soars — with its own The Orangerie, a 12,000 square-foot indoor citrus and herb garden that comes complete with its own 82-foot indoor pool. Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin’s Orangerie is inspired by the winter gardens of Versailles.

Because, of course it is.

Jonathan Coon and The Power of Details

This yet-built Lake Austin paradise for the 21st century already does have a lot of other stuff besides the VR walking tour in a Holodeck that took three different firms to bring to life. That includes a fleet of state-of-the-art electric boats are already available for future homeowners at Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin to use. The first $300,000 Arc One boat sold in Texas with a battery pack three times the size of a Tesla’s heads that fleet. Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin is a beyond early adopter of the Arc One because Jonathan Coon has been studying electric boats for years, researching what was coming and who would do it best.

Coon’s obsessive attention to detail is at the heartbeat of so much of this one-of-a-kind Lake Austin luxury land. It’s like having Billy Beane on your team in the early days of baseball sabermetrics.

Coon is equally fixated on security. “We currently have more security than any other neighborhood in Austin,” he says, not really joking.

There are already two security guards on site at all times, one at the bottom of the hill and one at the top where Coon had a four-story tower built to show off the views to future homeowners. This is the security before the build of the residences and the 100,000 square feet of amenities has even begun.

“It’s tough to build a showroom for 300 million dollars of amenities. What are we going to show you? A stove, an appliance set and a kitchen? That’s what you’d normally have.” — Jonathan Coon

Yes, Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin is going to be a very different place, one built on the vision of Coon — whose interest in making this all a reality stems from he and his wife Kirsten’s desire to live here themselves with their kids.

Still, the man who started 1-800-CONTACTS out of his college dorm room and later sold it for $900 million, has no interest in being the face of this Lake Austin luxury wonderland.

“I’m not the product,” Coon insists. “The experience and what it is, kind of speaks for itself.”

Especially if you can actually almost experience it in the Holodeck. The mixed reality headsets themselves for this lifelike experience are still a little bulky, but everything has been taken into consideration. The headsets are even adjusted to your pupil distance. Once you’re immersed in the reality of Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin’s future amenities world, it’s easy to pick out several places where you’d want to hang out.

After all, this will be a land where every detail is taken into consideration. Take the 300-foot pool. It has 11 private cabanas and 64 chairs around it, more than you’d find at a high-end resort.

But there is nothing like walking across that basketball court in the cavernous sports club — the one with a 32-foot-high climbing wall too — and getting a real feel for the overwhelming scope of it all. You’re in virtual reality, walking around a tented structure with a headset on. Still, it sure feels like you’re almost there.

In another luxury world.

It took more than $2 million, technology pushing against the very cutting edge of its current capabilities and those three high-powered firms to pull this Holodeck off. As usual, Jonathan Coon is several bounds ahead.

“It’s annoyingly hard to do right now, but it will be easy to do in five years,” Coon says, shrugging.

Four Seasons Private Residences Lake Austin couldn’t wait though. When you’re intent on building something this special, you need to show it off today. Enter the Holodeck.

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