Austin: 100-Unit Affordable Housing Development Eyed in West Campus
West elevation of the planned Espero Austin at W. 24th community, which will replace two small commercial buildings and a handful of apartments in the West Campus neighborhood. Image: Vecino Group
By Edmond Ortiz
Austin (Travis County)–The city is backing a developer’s application for state housing tax credits to build a 100-unit affordable apartment community in West Campus.
Springfield, Missouri-based Vecino Group is working with local nonprofit Caritas of Austin to develop Espero Austin at W. 24th.
Located at 911/915 W. 24th St., the five-story, stick-framed, elevator-serviced building will contain furnished efficiencies ranging 392-475 square feet. The
property is .381 acres.
Project documents describe the proposed community’s design as one emphasizing safety and healing for individuals who have experienced homelessness. There will be large common spaces and openings, and cabinets and closets with no doors in each unit.
Community amenities will include supportive service staff offices, a fitness room and lounge area, secured entry, security cameras, laundry rooms, bicycle parking, recycling service and storage, a community dining room, and a courtyard.
“The goal of Espero Austin at W. 24th is to design a non-intimidating, healthy, inclusive, therapeutic space that will foster stability and wellness,” a project
The project requires demolition of two small detached retail buildings and eight apartments. The developers are offering the current retail and residential tenants with relocation assistance.
There is no information yet on an estimated construction delivery method or schedule for the project, which has an estimated hard construction cost of $8.1 million. VBX members may track this project using ID number: 2020-2655.
Site plan for Espero Austin at W. 24th. While this denotes 87 units, the housing tax credit application calls for a 100-unit complex. Image: Vecino Group
City Council in February approved a resolution supporting the developer’s application for competitive 9% housing tax credits.
Twenty of the apartments will be reserved for tenants earning up to 30% of median family income (MFI); the remaining units will be reserved for tenants earning 31%- 50% of MFI.
Rents will range $497-$828, and 25% of the units will be subsidized through vouchers. Ten percent of the units will meet ADA standards.
The project site lies in a census tract that has a poverty rate above 40%.
Vecino Group specializes in supportive/affordable housing and student housing in more than one dozen states. Espero Austin at W. 24th and a similar project, Espero Austin at Rutland, would be Vecino’s first Texas developments.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.