Apartments with moderate rents planned for East Austin

Aug 28, 2014
Austin American Statesman

East Austin is in line for a $37.6 million apartment project that will have 250 units available at below-market rents to income-qualified tenants


Louisville-based LDG Development, in partnership with the Housing Authority of the city of Austin, plans to break ground soon on the project, which will be at 7000 Ben White Boulevard near Montopolis Drive. Called The Point at Ben White, the first units are expected to open in late 2015 with rents that are within reach of residents making up to 60 percent of the area median income, or $51,000 a year


Rents will range from $669 a month for a one-bedroom unit with 850 square feet; $802 for a two-bedroom with 1,072 square feet and $897 for a three-bedroom unit with 1,185 square feet


By comparison, comparable units at market rates would rent for a minimum of $900, $1,100 and $1,350, respectively


The complex will have 24 one-bedroom units; 130 two bedroom apartments and 96 three-bedroom units in 12 buildings of three stories each. Units will have energy-efficient fixtures and appliances, and amenities in the complex will include a community room, exercise facilities, a computer room, swimming pool, playground and theatre room


The announcement comes as city leaders and affordable housing advocates say the Austin area faces an increasing need for more moderately-priced housing options. A 2014 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that the gap between what average workers make and what they can afford in Austin is one of the fastest growing in the nation


“The Point at Ben White is among a few developments in Austin financed recently by Enterprise that are providing high quality affordable homes to families. We look forward to continuing our work with local partners to help alleviate a growing affordable housing shortage Austin and Travis County,” said Aron Weisner, vice president of syndication at Enterprise Community Investment Inc


Enterprise Community Investment is a national affordable housing investment firm that raised and placed $13.4 million in equity from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Other financing is from an FHA permanent mortgage through Lancaster Pollard of $21.9 million, and the developer funded $2.4 million


Enterprise brings private capital into projects through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, which is the primary way affordable housing is financed in the United States


Enterprise also was an investor in three completed affordable housing projects in Austin: Skyline Terrace, Park Palace at Loyola and Santora Villas


Enterprise also has invested in another project currently under construction, the 135-unit Capital Studios in downtown Austin that is being developed by Foundation Communities


“The addition of the Point at Ben White is welcome news for Austin,” said Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities,a nonprofit affordable housing developer with projects in Austin and North Texas. “In our 25-year history we’ve never had waiting lists for our apartments as long as they are today, especially for our supportive housing for the lowest-income families. Over 15 families with children in crisis situations apply for an apartment each week.”


Moreau said the first residents are expected to move into Capital Studios at Trinity and 11th streets in early December. Monthly rents will range from about $390 to $650, with the average being $500, all bills paid


More than 300 people remain on the wait list for that community alone, Moreau said



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