Affordable housing option proposed near downtown Austin

Published 7:01 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Apartments would be located east of the Post Office

More affordable housing proposed near downtown is taking its first steps.

Detailed by Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Executive Director Taggert Medgaarden during City Council meeting work session Monday night, the apartments would be built directly east of the Post Office and kitty-corner from the new Community Action Building currently under construction.

The land on which the apartments would be built on features four properties owned by the city. A fifth property on the same land is not owned by the city and not part of the project.

The project will be a development of Three Rivers, who built the Fox Pointe development and would feature a possible 39 units with underground parking.

The project would be built using funds from the City’s Building Fund, pledged American Rescue Plan Act money from Mower County, and a pledged $600,000 grant from The Hormel Foundation.

Currently, the project is estimated to come in at around $16 million total with around $925,000 injected from the City’s building fund, with $915,000 coming in the form of a 26-year loan and the extra $10,000 paid for directly by the city.

Based on current property values, the city would be guaranteed to get at least $615,000 back over those 26-years, but should property values and tax rates rise, which is likely, there’s a good chance the city could recover close to if not all of the $925,000 from the building fund.

At this time, there was no specific timetable given for when construction might start or when it would be completed.

Fire Truck

The City Council also agreed to the purchase of a $1.64 million fire truck earlier than planned to get ahead of an expected 7% price increase coming on May 1.

According to Fire Chief Jim McCoy, by signing the contract for the vehicle before May 1 would save the city around $115,000. By also signing the contract now, the City also is avoiding another pair of possible increases later in the year.

Payment for the vehicle won’t actually come until the vehicle is delivered, likely around the middle of 2024, a year ahead of the scheduled 2025 purchase.

In other news

The city agreed to the paving of one of Austin’s last remaining gravel roads in the Turtle Creek II development. The construction includes 5th Avenue NW (40th Street NW to dead end and 40th Street NW (Oakland Avenue West to Fifth Avenue NW).

The road in question was originally annexed into the city in 2015 and in the summer of 2021, residents in the area requested the roads be paved. By the time the project is completed, there will be four inches of new asphalt pavement laid at 20 to 22 feet wide.

Construction is expected to start on June 13 and be completed around July 1. Total price for the job came out to $159,035 with property assessments coming out to $5,679.82 per property unit.