Unnamed developer may build strip mall

Published 9:58 am Saturday, November 17, 2012

A developer may be interested in this empty lot which used to be the home of ComForcare Senior Services to build a strip mall. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Council to discuss rezoning

Plans for a strip mall may come into focus at an Austin City Council meeting Monday night.

An unnamed developer is interested in turning an empty lot west of Walgreens into a strip mall with the potential for four tenants, according to the Nov. 19 City Council agenda.

It appears the developer — who initially expressed interest in two lots — is now focused on an empty, 65,000-square-foot lot at 205 14th St. NW, which is the former home of ComForcare Senior Services.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society — which owns the property and ComForcare — petitioned the City Council on behalf of the developer to rezone the lot from low-density residential to commercial.

Craig Hoium, the city’s community development director, said at a Nov. 13 Planning Commission meeting the two storefronts on the south end of the strip mall would most likely be office space. While he declined to say what would be in the two north storefronts, he didn’t rule out retail businesses.

Hoium told the Planning Commission the developer wants to build an 11,500-square foot strip mall facing east with a parking lot in front, additional off-street parking, and a private road on the west, back side of the mall for loading and unloading. Hoium said there would also be a retaining wall on one end, and a line of trees to act as a buffer from the residential areas to the west and north. He added the mall would most likely be a brick and stucco building.

Employees of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, directly west of the lot, and residents at nearby condominiums said they heard there was going to be a meeting about potential zoning changes but weren’t told what the development plans were.

Charles Kloster, one nearby resident, said he wouldn’t be concerned if a new commercial property was built.

However, Hoium told the Planning Commission that some neighbors objected to the mall, and that he had met with two or three of them.

“Some have expressed concerns about it,” he said. “Others have looked at the site development plans and have supported it.”

Hoium said the developer has not yet submitted any permit applications. He declined to identify the developer, but said the name may be released Monday.

Good Samaritan Society did not return calls for comment.

The public hearing will be during the City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers.

—Matt Peterson and Kevin Coss contributed to this report.