AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin uses a density bonus program in the Rainey subdistrict to provide developers more space in exchange for on site affordable housing.

“We have a little bit over 40 units of rental units that are affordably priced that are income restricted and then we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 46 ownership units,” said Councilmember Kathie Tovo about the Rainey Street area.

Tovo says, while that’s not a lot, she hopes to see more affordable housing in the future and as Rainey continues to grow and add more high rises there are already plans for more affordable units.

“Unlike most of our other density bonus programs, those units have to be there in the same building,” said Tovo.

Kevin Burns and his development, “The Modern“, will begin construction in April.

“My project is going to have 21 affordable housing residences,” said Burns. “Because of the downtown density bonus program Rainey Street is going to have more new affordable housing units than we have ever seen before in condos and apartments downtown.”

Burns says its a win-win situation.

Affordability requirements only apply to projects with a residential component.

A development is capped at 40-feet high in Rainey, but can exceed that up to 8:1 floor-to-area ratio, but it must provide 5% onsite affordability.

Fifty percent of the bonus area must be achieved through affordable housing benefits which can be done through a fee-in-lieu or on-site affordable units.

“They get the certainty of building more density there on site to maximize their profit on that particular tract and in the end the community gets some benefit as well,” said Tovo.