City, HRA and Vision 2020 partner to buy, demolish dilapidated property

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Austin City Council is making a small investment toward what could be a big gain for city housing.

The council decided Monday to partner with the Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Vision 2020 to buy and demolish property at 409 Second St. SW.

“I’m very familiar with this property,” said Community Development Director Craig Hoium. “It’s been a very difficult situation for adjacent property owners.”

Email newsletter signup

Hoium told the council the property in question had 16 letters from the city over the years asking the homeowner to fix deficient or dilapidated structures.

Under the new agreement, the city and the HRA would split the $16,000 price to buy the land, while Vision 2020 pays to demolish the dilapidated structure on it, which Hoium estimated to be about $15,000 to $20,000. Hoium said the property could then be sold to adjacent neighbors, to another person to build on, donated to Mower County Habitat for Humanity, or get an HRA home built there.

In other news, the city:

—Set a public hearing on the annexation of 28 homes northwest of Austin in the Turtle Creek 1 neighborhood for Dec. 2. Neighborhood residents approached the council asking to be annexed earlier this year to get access to the city’s sewer and water systems.

—Heard the results of the latest loss avoidance study for the city of Austin’s floodplain home acquisitions. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Austin saved about $38 million over the years by buying the 163 homes included in the study at about $14 million.

Public Works Director Steven Lang said the study takes into account the city not being financially hit by the 2001, 2004 2008 and 2010 floods for these homes. The city has acquired about 275 homes in total to remove from area floodplains.