Build It And They Will Come (Cupcakes, That Is)

One of the best things about my apartment is its proximity to the things that mean the most to me in life—namely, a grocery store within running distance where I can stop by for some free samples of cheese and pie after a strenuous jog and a Redbox where I can rent “Think Like a Man” for $1.27 (which turns into $5 when I forget to return it for four days). And let’s not forget McDonald’s, where I can try to (unsuccessfully) explain that my roommate wants a sundae with both hot fudge and caramel sauce.

But this isn’t to say I don’t have my complaints, either. I would, for example, prefer to live within walking distance of Washington, D.C.’s public transportation system. Instead, I have to drive four miles and park my car at the nearby train station in a lot strictly reserved for Amtrak passengers. Each time I pretend to walk in the direction of the train station before running toward the metro, as if this will throw off any authorities who might be watching.

I’d also like an apartment with more lenient parking guidelines, instead of requiring that any visitor staying over 24 hours purchase a $5 parking pass. I know I spend a lot of alone time watching old episodes of “Felicity” on Netflix, eating tuna straight out of the can and reading novels for teen girls, but I do have a handful of friends and they do visit on occasion. I’m well-liked but I’m not sure anyone would pay $5 on a regular basis just to see my face.

Hey, no apartment community is perfect. Some, however, do come pretty close.

Such is the case with Gables Park Plaza, NAA’s 2012 NAA PARAGON Community of the Year. Located along Lady Bird Lake hike and bike trail in downtown Austin, Gables Park Plaza is a LEED SILVER-certified community that promotes happy and healthy lifestyles.

Each of the green community’s 290 apartments include a mix of eco-friendly features and modern amenities, such as bamboo flooring and an iPod docking station with surround sound. A rooftop pool deck, private cabanas and outdoor kitchens offer residents a common space to socialize, and 24-hour concierge service ensure that they’ll never need a thing. You want an ice cream sundae with hot fudge and caramel sauce? You got it!

Conceptualized nearly a decade ago and finalized in 2010, the community was designed to embrace, protect and blend in with both its natural and architectural surroundings while maximizing the nearby views—Lady Bird Lake to the south, Texas Hill Country to the west and downtown Austin to the east.

Gables Park Plaza boasts a strong sense of community, with the concierge and leasing team hosting an average of four resident events per month. Past events include yappy hour, Saturday brunch, a “Red, White and Blues” party, movie night, game night, Picnic in the Park, a live art auction for the American Heart Association, and build-your-own-cupcake.

I don’t want to complain, but if my apartment community hosted brunches and build-your-own-dessert nights, I wouldn’t be reaching my sweaty hand into the communal cheese tray at the grocery store.

Just sayin.

For more, check out “Happy, Healthy Living,” in the September issue of units, which mailed Sept. 11.