Council takes one more step toward possible new apartments

Published 6:56 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2022

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If approved, project would boast 40 units next to Post Office


Editor’s note: In an earlier posting of this story and in the print edition, the estimated cost of the apartment complex was inadvertently listed wrong. It has since been changed to the correct estimate of $16 million in this story.

The Austin City council on Monday night got a little clearer picture of what the 1st and 3rd Apartments might  look like should the project be approved.

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The apartment complex would be built on the block directly east of the Post Office and will feature 40 units, which will include one, two, three and four bedroom apartments. That number is up by one from the update the council heard a month ago when it had been set at 39 units.

According to Susan Strandberg, Community Development Officer for Three Rivers Community Action, who is developing the property, parking will largely be underground with some plots for guests above ground. There will be an ample green space area, playground, and a patio that will be adjacent from a community room.

Rent will range from $775 for a one bedroom up to $1,250 for a four-bedroom apartment. Five units would  be set aside for people with disabilities.

Since last month’s meetings there have been some adjustments to the plan as well including arranging the parking spots above ground to ensure that headlights will not shine onto neighboring property.

The Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority owns a majority of the properties on that block, except for the property owned by the Culbert family. Jason Culbert was on hand Monday night to voice concerns over the proposal while expressing his family understood the need for workforce housing.

“I’m not here to stand in the way of this,” Culbert said in an address to the council, indicating they were open to possibly selling their home for a fair price. “My wife and I have many concerns. We just want to make sure we will be offered something for our home in this market.”

Nothing definitive was decided Monday night in terms of project approval so it remains to be seen if the project will go ahead as it stands now. Instead, what the council did approve was the tax credit application as well as approving support for additional funding and showing approval from the city’s standpoint for the project.

However, should the project get approved down the line, the current estimate stands at around $16 million for the apartments and construction could tentatively start late summer or early fall of 2023, with apartments being leased sometime in 2024.

City gets update on bridge projects

Officials working on design and construction of the five bridges slated for replacement along Interstate 90 were on hand Monday night to give an update on the projects.

The four bridges spanning Interstate 90 that are scheduled for replacement include Oakland Avenue Avenue West, 14th Street NW, Fourth Street NW and 21st Street NE.

The lengthy process will also include replacing the two bridges spanning the Cedar River just east of the Fourth Street NW bridge.

The first of the projects will be the Fourth Street NW/river-spanning bridges in 2024 along with Oakland Avenue West, which could also start in 2024, though assessments of that bridge are still being looked at.

The 14th Street NW bridge, which will include two roundabouts and that will also cut tje two bridges to one bridge, will begin in 2025 or early 2026 followed by the 21st Street NE project in 2025 as well.

The entire project of four bridges is currently estimated to come to between $45-$50 million.