Connor Group ex­pands with River Oaks buy

Mo­bile de­vel­oper tour­ing tech cir­cuit to talk in­no­va­tion at events, on tele­vi­sion.

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Bgaar@states­ Visit

Three months af­ter en­ter­ing the Austin mar­ket, the Connor Group has ex­panded its lo­cal pres­ence with the pur­chase of River Oaks, a 290-unit apart­ment com­mu­nity in South­west Austin.

The Ohio-based real es­tate in­vest­ment firm bought the com­plex from River Oaks Sun­set Val­ley Inc. for $34.6 mil­lion. The firm pur­chased its first Austin prop­erty, Ci­tyview at SoCo, in Au­gust, and is look­ing at fu­ture ac­qui­si­tions. It has op­er­ated in the Dal­lasFort Worth Metro­plex since 2008.

Built in 1997, River Oaks is a 40-acre gated com­mu­nity with ameni­ties in­clud­ing a pool, spa, fit­ness cen­ter, dog park and vol­ley­ball and bas­ket­ball courts. With more than $1.4 bil­lion in as­sets, the Connor Group spe­cial­izes in lux­ury apart­ment com­mu­ni­ties, op­er­at­ing 16,000 units in At­lanta, Austin, Char­lotte, Cincin­nati, Colum­bus, Dal­las, Day­ton and Raleigh-Durham.

By Brian Gaar

This week, Austin­based tech­nol­o­gist Wil­liam “Whur­ley” Hur­ley is in Amsterdam, spread­ing the gospel of tech in­no­va­tion.

Hur­ley, co-founder of app­maker Chaotic Moon Stu­dios, re­ceived an “In­ter­na­tional Ge­nius” travel grant from the city of Amsterdam and its tech-pro­mot­ing App­s­ter­dam Foun­da­tion. The grant is a yearly in­vi­ta­tion given to “the world’s smartest and most in­ter­est­ing peo­ple,” ac­cord­ing to the foun­da­tion.

As part of the grant, Hur­ley is dis­cussing in­no­va­tion with var­i­ous aca­demic, government and tech gath­er­ings. He will also ap­pear on Dutch tele­vi­sion shows and meet with lo­cal busi­nesses.

Hur­ley, who is an evan­ge­list of Austin’s mo­bile devel­op­ment scene, said he hopes to use the op­por­tu­nity to spread the word about the lo­cal tech com­mu­nity.

“(Austin has) yet, in my opin­ion, to get the kind of recog­ni­tion we should in the startup world and es­pe­cially in the in­no­va­tion space in gen­eral,” he said. “Peo­ple know we’re a pro­gres­sive cul­ture, but they don’t know enough about us and all the in­no­va­tion that hap­pens here.”

Chaotic Moon, while small, punches above its weight class in terms of in­flu­ence. It has built apps for clients rang­ing from Pizza Hut to CBS Sports to Betty Crocker. And ear­lier this year, em­ploy­ees launched a re­search and devel­op­ment di­vi­sion that set the tech world abuzz, churn­ing out pro­to­types like a “smart” shop­ping cart that can fol­low you around a store and rec­og­nize your pur­chases.

Hur­ley, whose re­sume also in­cludes stints at Ap­ple and IBM, where he was a master in­ven­tor, was cho­sen be­cause of that back­ground, said Tara Ross, chief com­mu­nity of­fi­cer for App­s­ter­dam.

“We just thought it was a

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