Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect Pecan Gardens is a permanent supportive housing property.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council is expected to sign off next week on emergency construction contracts for the Pecan Gardens permanent supportive housing property — formerly the Candlewood Suites hotel — and the Northbridge shelter, with a price tag of half a million dollars.
According to council documents, Belfor USA Group, Inc. responded to both of the locations for water damage.
They’re owed $510,312, nearly $80,000 of which will come from the Capital Improvement Program budget and the remaining funding from Austin Public Health’s capital budget.
Shelters provide temporary, emergency assistance to those experiencing homelessness until they’re able to find a place to live, including through permanent supportive housing facilities in the city, according to the City of Austin website.
Pecan Gardens permanent supportive housing property
According to documents, staff found the Pecan Gardens property had been vandalized on May 9, 2022.
The vandalization resulted in pipes being cut or broken which led to “extensive water damage in multiple rooms and hallways.”
“Approximately $78,000 was spent on water extraction and removal of damaged building materials at Pecan Gardens (renovations are included in another contract),” said a spokesperson for the City of Austin Homeless Strategy Division.
The company was asked to clear the water and debris out of the former hotel and then “used air mover/carpet blowers, dehumidifiers, air filtration units, and moisture meters to ensure the building was restored to normal moisture levels for safe and health operations,” according to documents.
The former hotel was purchased by the City of Austin using 2018 affordable housing bond dollars in 2021. In June 2022, Austin City Council approved a contract with Family Eldercare to operate the property, which has not yet opened.
Pecan Gardens expects construction to begin on the project after its pending permit applications are approved. The city didn’t give us a timeline for that. After that, the building will be complete roughly six months after “initial renovations,” the city said.
According to documents, the Northbridge shelter had its fire suppression system go off on both Dec. 1, 2021 and Feb. 15, 2022. Then, on Nov. 12, 2022, a pipe broke in the ceiling of the third floor of the building.
The first incident was due to a small fire in one room, the city said. The second was caused by a sprinkler head breaking.
All three of those incidents required emergency repairs, according to the documents.
“Approximately $432,000 was spent on water extraction, removal of damaged materials, and rebuilding of walls, floors, ceilings for flooded areas at Northbridge, in response to three separate incidents,” the division spokesperson said.
Unlike the Pecan Gardens property, the Northbridge shelter is already in operation, being used by the City of Austin to temporarily house people as a part of its Housing-Focused Encampment Assistance Link (HEAL) initiative.
The City of Austin bought the building, which used to be a Country Inn & Suites, in January 2021.
“Additional building restoration services were required to rebuild walls, ceilings, and flooring in order to restore all rooms at the property for ongoing use as a bridge shelter for persons experiencing homelessness,” documents said.