North Austin site could become mixed-use development, offer affordable housing

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin could soon begin negotiations with a developer to transform a 5.5 city-owned acre tract in north Austin into a mixed-use development.

The property sits at the corner of Ryan Drive and Justin Lane near Lamar and Airport boulevards. City staff have recommended a proposal from 3423 Holdings LLC for the redevelopment. It’s called Crestview Village because of its proximity to Capital Metro’s Crestview Station.

It would have nearly 350 units, as well as some retail space and parks. Housing is something Austin desperately needs more of and is highlighted in a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The March report, called The Gap, shows the Austin-Round Rock area needs nearly 70,000 affordable units for households making up to 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). A household of four making $49,450 a year falls in that category. Crestview Village could offer anywhere from 45 to 85 units for those who fall under that 50% AMI income level.

Austin City Council Member Leslie Pool of District 7, the area where the mixed-use development would go, is calling for additional city subsidies to help with affordability and mentions allowing “for profit-sharing for the City beyond a certain internal rate of return once costs are recovered; any profits returned to the City shall be used for a city and community priority, such as the creation of vouchers and services for individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The Crestview Village proposal would offer at least 34 units to people exiting homelessness. Developers plan to work with those at Ending Community Homelessness Coalition or ECHO to spread the word. ECHO leaders say this plan is a step in the right direction for Austin.

“It’s quite obvious that we can replicate this, let’s focus on creating opportunities and projects and finding projects that replicate the sort of this kind of community that we need to see,” Matt Mollica, the coalition’s executive director, said.

The proposal also calls for health and child care centers as well as a splash pad and farmer’s market.

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