Austin: City Approves Affordable Apartment Complex in East Austin
Feature Photo: A lot adjacent to the Blair Woods Nature Preserve, and with frontage (highlighted above) with East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, has been marked for development as a medium density affordable apartment complex.
by Art Benavidez
Austin (Travis County) — The Austin City Council has approved the rezoning of a property in East Austin from single family residential to multifamily residential medium density.
The rezoning of the property is for a proposed affordable apartment complex located on 2.65 acres of land at 5201 East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Its west property line abuts the Blair Woods Nature Preserve.
There is a dilapidated single family residence on the property that will be removed.
The developer of the project is Ryan Walker who created the special entity 5201 E MLK LP to own the land.
Per Austin’s Neighbor Housing and Conservation Department – whose mission is to create affordable housing opportunities and mitigating community member displacement in the city — 5201 E MLK LP proposed a higher density with 200 units and half of them being available at 50% median family income for a minimum term of five years.
However, as per city documents the rezoning of the property to a multifamily residence medium density district has a maximum density of up to 36 units per acre, depending on unit size. Development is also capped at 50 units.
The multifamily project will utilize SMART Housing incentives. SMART Housing is a program that was started by the Austin City Council to provide housing for low-to moderate-income residents.
The Planning Commission initially approved the rezoning in June, but then reconsidered their vote and did not grant final approval until July 14.
Walker originally applied for multifamily highest density zoning. However, multifamily highest density zoning is typically located along highways and major arterials, near transit oriented development areas, or near the University of Texas campus.
Ron Thrower of Thrower Design, is the project architect and acted as Walker’s agent in negotiations with the neighbors and the city.
The Planning Commission supported a multifamily development of the site, but proposed a multifamily medium density neighborhood plan as an alternative to the original high density request.
The property is located on the south side of East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, roughly halfway between Springdale Road and Tannehill Lane.
Public sidewalks are located along both sides of East Martin Luther King Boulevard. Two Cap Metro transit stops are located within 750 feet of the subject property.
The Austin Strategic Mobility Plan calls for 120 feet of right of way for East MLK Boulevard. They are recommending that 60 feet of right-of-way from the existing centerline should be dedicated for E. MLK at the time of site plan.
Art Benavidez (Construction News Reporter, Central Texas) is a seasoned journalist with over 15-years of experience in writing breaking news and in-depth features at the local level. He honed his research and reporting skills in newspapers and magazines throughout South and West Texas along with expertise in crafting digital content as Managing Editor of New Image Marketing Research Corporation. Benevidez is a Texas native and graduate of UT-RGV.