Small business sues City of Austin over purchase of Candlewood Suites for homeless housing

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A northwest Austin small business located near the Candlewood Suites on Pecan Park Boulevard is suing the City of Austin to stop its purchase of the hotel to house the homeless.

Chaudhari Partnership wants to prevent the city’s plan to convert the hotel into “permanent supportive housing” for those experiencing homelessness — a strategy the City of Austin has already put into motion at other hotels.

The business is seeking compensation for the potential loss in value of its properties and easement, according to the lawsuit. It also alleges the City of Austin is in violation of deed restrictions on an easement jointly held with Chaudhari Partnership.

KXAN reached out to the City of Austin about the lawsuit, and a spokesperson said, “The City has not been served with the lawsuit yet. We are in the process of performing our due diligence in order to purchase the hotel. The plan is to convert the hotel into apartments, which will provide permanent supportive housing for individuals who were formerly unhoused. It will not be a shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness – it will be a permanent home for our neighbors.”

The hotel purchase has previously received pushback from close by neighborhoods and the Williamson County judge, both saying the city did not give ample notification it was looking into the hotel nor has opened the floor to discussion among people in the area.

Those against the hotel said even further, there’s not much access to social and health services, transportation or supportive programs for the unhoused in that area. They believe it could have impacts to safety.

Supporters of the purchase said the City of Austin has seen success using the hotel-to-supportive housing strategy to combat homelessness. Those sites include Spring Terrace, Arbor Terrace and Terrace at Oak Springs.

“Go drive by and look and see what these properties look like, and I think you will be very, very pleased at the high quality value they offer to the community,” said Caritas of Austin CEO Jo Kathryn Quinn to KXAN in February.

Chaudhari Partnership and its lawyers said the City of Austin has not turned over documents about the purchase they requested through open records. Additionally, the small business has launched the PecanParkFight and Stop Candlewood movement and has collected about 3,500 signatures and $5,000 in a week.

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