The City Council approves loans and land purchases to create hundreds of affordable housing throughout Austin.

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One project loan, approved on August 26, supports Foundation Communities’ plan to transform Parker Lane property, owned by the Parker United Methodist Church, into an affordable 135-unit housing project. (Ben Thompson / Public Influence Newspaper)

Austin City Council on Aug. 26 voted to promote funding for several affordable housing projects, including townhouses, homelessness projects, and land acquisition for future construction. The points were approved at a regular meeting of the Austin Housing Finance Corp. Board, which includes board members. The five council-backed housing loans are to be secured through a combination of city aid programs and state and federal dollars. A total of three properties were acquired in East and Southeast Austin, which eventually turned into residential buildings. Loan items stem from the City’s rental and homeowners initiatives and are the final approved statements of these programs for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

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Parker Apartments and Balcones Terrace

Parker Apartments by Foundation Communities, located on Parker Lane north of Oltorf Street, will feature 135 units with 30%, 50% and 60% Median Family Income or MFIs. The city will provide a loan of up to $ 4.1 million for development. Foundation Communities executive director Walter Moreau said the project will move forward with support from Parker United Methodist Church. Parker Apartments include childcare and meal centers, as well as immigration and health offices that will connect the complex to the surrounding area.

“In all of our communities, when we build, we really become part of the neighborhood and the neighborhood association. Our training centers and services are free of charge and open to residents of the area. It won’t last a couple of years, but we really look forward to having an immigration office, our health programs, our training center and fitness classes there, and being a true public domain, ”said Moreau.

The Community Foundation also plans to convert the 120-room TownePlace Suites hotel near MoPac in northwest Austin into a permanent residential complex called Balcones Terrace. Moreau said the nonprofit has worked “for a long time” to expand its homeless housing support programs. Balconies will open efficiency blocks at 30%, 40% and 50% MFI limits in the hotel. The city will provide a loan of up to $ 16.13 million for development. In recent months, the city has expanded its strategy of refurbishing hotels and motels to provide bridge shelter and shelter for the homeless.

Mayor Steve Adler hailed the Community Foundation project proposal as a “unique” and “really interesting” response to the ongoing local efforts to address homelessness during the AHFC session.

“I want to make sure that as we move forward, other operators will consider following this direction and this example of the Foundation’s communities,” Adler said.

Jamie May, acting Housing and Community Development Specialist for the Austin Housing and Planning Department, also said the loan agreement with Foundation Communities represents the first agreement to provide for such a site to be managed by a third party.

“We’re trying to do some kind of multi-stage dance here to make sure the property is acquired in a timely manner and then it can be operated at a low cost to the operator,” May said. “It’s nice to see this property being commissioned because it is so necessary. Not only does it serve extremely hard-to-reach populations, but it has partnered with one of our strongest partners in the affordable housing community. ”

June West and Season North

June West by developer Saigebrook Development, a planned 80-unit apartment complex on West Koenig Lane, designed with blocks at 30%, 50%, 60% and 80% MFIs with up to $ 1.4 million loan from the city.

Saison North from developer partner O-SDA Industries, a planned 116-unit development near the North Capital on the Texas Highway, will include units available at 30%, 50% and 60% MFI, as well as market rate caps. The city will provide a loan of up to $ 3.2 million for development.

May said the component of the Saigebrook and O-SDA projects that city staff supported were their locations west of I-35, where affordable housing has historically been less.

“This is a huge step forward in expanding our affordable housing. One of the things we are trying to promote is that housing should be affordable and accessible throughout the city. How much you earn in your salary should not determine where you should live, ”May said.

O-SDA President Megan Lash said the location of both projects was also “the most exciting” factor in development. She hoped that, in addition to expanding affordable housing, these projects can serve as examples of successful redevelopment of buildings with a higher building density, which also reduces traffic in their areas.

“I think we are starting to take steps in the right direction and get affordable housing in other parts of the city that could have a significant impact on the lives of residents and their daily lives, because they can live. Closer to where they work.” , – said Lash.

SoMa Industry

In addition to these leases, the AHFC Agenda for the Sole Projects will provide 23 townhouses available with 80% MFI in South Central Austin off Menchaka Road. The city will provide a loan of up to $ 1.84 million for this project from developer Industry Affordable on Keilbar Lane. This project represents Industry Affordable’s first step in affordable housing.

Members of the development team said their turnaround came during COVID-19 given their desire to provide cheaper housing options in Austin, driven in part by the available support from the city and the city. passage the Project Connect Public Transportation Expansion Pack last fall.

“We are all working. We are committed to this vision and are very excited about it, ”said Michael Winningham of Industry Affordable. “It was all worth it to get to this point – to open a 100% affordable housing project in Austin and provide the Austin missing link where you really need it.”

May also highlighted the new company’s involvement in the city’s affordable housing program, as the company’s employees continue to strive to achieve this goal in the face of the city’s commitment to affordable housing.

“They’ve partnered with some of the seasoned developers and experienced engineers we’ve worked with in the past, but we’re always happy to see more players sit down at the tables,” he said. “This is victory. So we really hope that it can be built quickly and then the houses will be sold because we know we need them. “

Buying land

In addition to the projects listed above, council members also voted to buy three properties near Manor Road and South Pleasant Valley Road for up to $ 2.85 million. A pair of 5.3 acres of Pleasant Valley properties, 5900 S. Pleasant Valley Road and 5901 Drowsy Willow Trail were acquired together for $ 2.05 million. To the north, a 2.59-acre site at 3511 Manor Road was acquired for $ 800,000. During the AHFC meeting, District 4 Councilor Greg Kasar set aside time to highlight land purchases as an item that could lead to neighborhood-focused redevelopment projects in the future. These processes may follow the same principles as those recently insisted on by him and District 7 Councilor Leslie Poole, Kasar said.

“This is a really serious agenda,” Ghazar said. “We’re going to provide shelter for hundreds of low-income people and many homeless people, along with buying land that holds the future. Saint john development or future Ryan Drive developments that used to take so long. But now that we have this strong land acquisition strategy, I think we can do many more on a scale in all parts of the city. ”

The reconstruction schedule for all three facilities has not yet been determined by the city authorities and may take several years. May said that each property will go through its own RFP process, based on the desires of the surrounding communities, assembled as a result of the “vast” outreach, before requests for proposals are opened and future negotiations begin.

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