Feature Photo (above): Southside Storage Inc., an auto impound lot, will be converted into a 300-unit apartment complex. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Austin (Travis County) — The Austin Zoning and Platting Commission gave its consent to a zoning change that would convert an old junkyard into a multifamily residential community in South Austin.
At the Nov. 20 session, the commission recommended approval of a zoning change from commercial use to multifamily for a 13.4-acre tract that is currently used to store impounded towed vehicles, but was previously used as an auto salvage yard.
The landowner, Southside Storage Inc., was represented on the application by land use attorney Leah M. Bojo of Drenner Group. The property has a street address of 8200 S. Congress Avenue and it is across the street from the Thirsty Planet Brewing Company, 8201 S. Congress Ave.
Patrons of Thirsty Planet Brewing Company enjoy a sunny day outside the brewery. Image: Google Streets.
Drenner Group processed the application on behalf of Richman Southwest Development LLC (The Richman Group), a Greenwich, Connecticut-based, an investor and developer of luxury rental and affordable housing.
According to the planning department records, the applicant requested moderate high-density multifamily zoning, “and proposes to develop the property with approximately 300 apartments. Land uses along this segment of South Congress Avenue are in transition from undeveloped tracts and heavy commercial/industrial uses to those that include multifamily residences.”
For example, two tracts directly across South Congress were recently rezoned to multifamily and are currently under construction or planned for apartments.
Also, the owner of a 6.7-acre abutting tract to the north has applied for a commercial/mixed use zoning for a proposed 276-unit multifamily residential project; this project, located at 8100-8104 S. Congress was pending approval by City Council on Nov. 29. The developer, NRP Group of Cleveland, Ohio, named its project SOCO II and assigned the address as 8100 S. Congress Ave. NRP plans to build one- to three-bedroom units that will range in area from 600 to 1,360 square feet each.
“Additionally,” the staff report continued, “a supermarket and additional commercial/retail services have been approved for properties south of the Congress/Ralph Ablanedo Drive intersection.” Ablanedo Drive is less than a block south of the 8200 S. Congress Ave. property.
City staff conditioned it recommendation for the project on the implementation of a 50-foot-wide building setback.
An educational impact statement submitted by Austin ISD also recommended that sidewalks be constructed along South Congress, Cloudview Drive and Ablanedo Drive for students that will live in the apartment complex. An assumption was made that a 300-unit development would include at least 40 students across all K-12 grade levels.
Richman Group plans to convert the area in yellow into an apartment complex. NRP Group, another multifamily developer, will do the same to the tract that borders it to the north. Image: Google Earth. Combined, the two projects will create 576 rental units on more than 20 acres.