Austin
3:44 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

$400 Rent in Downtown Austin? Nonprofit Says They Can Make it Work

Construction of affordable housing downtown could start in less than a year.

At a meeting tonight, Austin nonprofit Foundation Communities is making a pitch for their Capital Studios development – 135 apartments to be located on what's now a parking lot at 11th street and Trinity.  A Foundation Communities spokesperson tells KUT News Capital Studios will be the first truly affordable downtown development in the last 40 years – and with rents ranging from $400 to $650, all bills paid, it’s hard to argue.

The low rents are designed to attract Austinites that work and play downtown, but can’t afford to live there – primarily young adults making $27,000 annually or less. Ten of the units will be reserved for working musicians and artists. Another 27 units will provide permanent supportive housing for clients transitioning out of homelessness, processed through agencies like Caritas, the Trinity Center, and the ARCH.

A combination of factors makes the project possible, says Foundation Communities: The site is located within a capitol view corridor, which means the building cannot be too tall as to block the view of the Capitol, making it right for medium-density development. The proposed construction plan contains four to five residential floors, and two levels of parking. Foundation Communities is also applying for $1 million in tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The agency is also looking for an infusion of affordable housing bond money from the City of Austin to make the project happen. Should financing fall into place, Capital Studios could break ground in early 2013, and be open for residents a year later. 

Foundation Communities is making a presentation on the project to the Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association tonight at 6 p.m., in the Bishop’s Hall at St. Mary’s Cathedral