South Austin condo in renovated church sells for $1.5 million

In Austin’s highly competitive housing market, it can seem like buyers need divine intervention to find and land the home they want.

When that home is a condo built in an old church building, it may even feel like an answered prayer.

Buyers closed their sale this week on the unusual condo in the former St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church, a 1939 Mission Revival-style structure that was converted into four condominiums in 2018. The property is located at 211 W. Johanna St., just off South Congress and in the popular Bouldin neighborhood.

The condo, with 1,889 square feet of space, was listed for $1.4 million and sold for $1.5 million, Aaron Scruggs said. He and his wife, Julianna Scruggs, are Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty listing agents who represented the sellers.

The residence was a second home for the sellers, who owned the unit in trust, he said. The seller is listed in the Travis Central Appraisal District as Jefferies Living Trust and the property is valued at just under $1.2 million. The unit was also purchased in trust, with the buyers’ names undisclosed and a title deed not yet on file.

Thomas Joseph, a partner of Joseph Design Build, represented the buyers during the purchase.

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The recently sold condo was one of four built in the former St. Ignatius Martyr's Catholic Church, a 1939 Mission Revival-style building. CREDIT: AARON SCRUGGS

“With the young couple buying to work from home remotely, it was essential to have a large, well-lit space,” Joseph said. “The location was the second big draw, and the proximity to (Congress South) makes for the perfect live-work experience that embodies the spirit of Austin’s New South.”

In 2019, another unit of the old church went up for sale at $859,000.

Aaron Scruggs said it was no surprise the condo was purchased after just eight days on the market.

“In a city devoid of historic architecture, this condo is a breath of fresh air,” he said.

The four residences in the old church building are nestled in the center of a condo scheme called the J. Bouldin Residences. Two separate buildings sit on either side; one building has six townhouses and the other has 29 condominiums, Aaron Scruggs said.

The property was once the South Austin home of the non-profit Boys & Girls Clubs of Austin, which sold the property for $2.75 million in 2014.

The unit being sold has Bertazzoni appliances, white oak floors, herringbone marble tiles, 18 foot ceilings and cathedral windows reminiscent of the church’s past.

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The recently sold condo was one of four built in the former St. Ignatius Martyr's Catholic Church, a 1939 Mission Revival-style building. CREDIT: AARON SCRUGGS

“The property is a great example of the revitalization we are experiencing in the infill neighborhoods of Ausitn,” Joseph said.

Joseph said the church was a “protected historical feature” in the redevelopment of the structure. This meant that the exterior design, materials and fenestration (the arrangement of windows, doors and openings in the facade) “had to remain the same, but the interior could be reinvented into something functional and unique. This balance between old and new brings a sense of permanence and character to the community.

The architect for the condo conversion project was Rhode: Partners. The Austin-based architecture firm has designed numerous high-profile projects, including the Independent, a 58-story condo tower in downtown Austin often referred to as the “Jenga Tower” for its stacked design and shifted.

Martha J. Finley