Austin: Developer Proposing Razing Student Apartment Complex for a 317-Unit Development
Feature Photo: A view of the Tempo at Riverside Apartments pool and buildings. Image: Google Streets.
by Art Benavidez
Austin (Travis County) — Travis County Commissioners Court postponed a Tuesday action item to have its housing finance corporation consider becoming general partner on a 317-unit apartment project, in order to work toward getting a larger share of affordable units.
The commissioners once before postponed a decision on the corporation’s involvement at their June 24 meeting.
The Dallas-based private developer, Presidium, is proposing to use conventional debt and equity financing to construct the multifamily complex on what is roughly the southern third of a 37-acre lot located at 4700 East Riverside Drive in Southeast Austin.
Aerial view of site.
Should commissioners allow the Travis County Housing Finance Corporation (TCHFC) to participate, the development would be eligible for a property tax exemption, assuming the TCHFC takes ownership of the land. In exchange for TCHFC’s participation, Presidium offered below market rent controls to about 42% of the units.
An apartment complex constructed in 1995 currently stands on the proposed site; Tempo at Riverside Apartments is marketed as student housing and encompasses 15 buildings. Its 684 units are a mix of one, two, three and four-bedroom units.
The apartment complex is to be vacated by year’s end so that it can be razed and the property will be divided into four quadrants.
One of the quadrants will be redeveloped as a 317-unit, single building project — River Park/Block 15 Apartments.
The remaining three quadrants will be redeveloped for commercial and retail space.
Presidium has proposed thatthe units will be available to individuals making 30% and 120% of the area median income (AMI), however, this was the affordable dynamic that gave commissioners concern.
Presidium’s offer was to set aside half of the units for below market in four income brackets–six units (2%) to households with incomes at or below 30% of the AMI; 26-units (8%) to households earning at or below 50% of AMI; 47-units (15%) to households earning at or below 60% of AMI; and 53-units (17%) to households earning at or below 80% of AMI.
The other half would be rented at two market rate bracket levels–53-units (17%) to households earning at or below 100% of AMI and 106-units (33%) to households earning at or below 120% of AMI. The remaining 26-units would have been unrestricted.
The proposal presented to Commissioners Court is the latest iteration of a concept that Presidium has been refining since the company began planning the redevelopment in 2019. VBX first reported on this project in this Oct. 20, 2019 article.
Presidiumis continuing to work on the project design and unit amenities, along with property amenities have yet to be finalized.
Some of the unit amenities that are being considered include plank flooring, walk-in closets, granite counters, patios and balconies.
Property amenities being considered include a leasing office, lounge, fitness center, pool and green space.
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.