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Regarding fire twirlers, body paint, and Atlanta’s possible rental bubble

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The “ribbon cutting” of swanky Sixty11th reveals the plight of one building's quest for renters in crowded market

Body paint, flaming batons, and a man in a zorb ball in a pool — is that what it takes to rent topflight apartments en masse these days in Atlanta?

Those who've been speculating about a bubble swelling in the city's rental market need look no further than the "ribbon cutting" of high-end Midtown residences Sixty11th for anecdotal evidence they might be on to something. Or maybe it's an anomaly? Was it just a slow summer for high-rise renting?

Last night, the grand opening for the building brought out real estate agents, developers, and journalists for a nighttime spectacular. Problem is, the building opened in May.

As performers gyrated around the pool deck in full body paint for 20 minutes, climbing poles, throwing and swallowing fire, and inexplicably rolling around in a huge ball in one kick-ass pool, an observer couldn't help wonder if the plight of high-end rentals in a saturated market wasn't being laid bare.

Sixty11th, the sister building to 77 12th — all part of the massive 12th&Midtown development — is a very nice building with very nice amenities. But the numbers tell a story that could be disconcerting.

Open for roughly four months, the building is only 30 percent leased, according to one official in charge of attracting tenants. The 100 or so residents in the 75 occupied units have access to a pool with lounging decks and a waterfall, a club complete with dart boards, shuffleboard, and pool tables, and a spacious rooftop deck. But with 222 units still available on Apartments.com, it's clear the posh "opening" party had recruitment in mind, too.

The building is great, the units spacious, and the finishes slick. And with floorplans ranging from studios to three-bedroom, three-bathroom layouts — a rarity in the city — it’s hard to believe it's still so empty, especially when Atlanta renters the past few years have been eager to pay seemingly any price if the amenities are right. (More on floorplans and pricing over here.)

But with dozens of similar properties open, under construction, or planned, it seems that even crazy amenities may not cut it in every single case. At least not at the outset.

Condos, anyone?

Sixty 11th

, Atlanta, GA