Reducing the rent

$60 million project brings 120 affordable apartments to Central Austin

$60 million project brings 120 affordable apartments to Central Austin

Travis Flats
The mixed-use development will open in either late 2020 or early 2021. Rendering courtesy of Travis County

As of June 3, construction is underway on a mixed-use development at 5325 Airport Blvd. that will include apartments designed to help curb rising housing costs. Known as Travis Flats, the project will include studios and one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units available for rent.

Of the 146 apartments, 122 will be designated for people at or below the area’s median income, which now is $56,760 for a family of four. The 24 other apartments at Travis Flats won’t be income-restricted, meaning rental rates will be on par with those for similar units in Austin. Travis County Housing Finance Corp. has teamed up with Austin-based DMA Development Co. on the multifamily component of the project.

For years, government and business officials in Austin have been pressing for ways to improve access to affordable housing.  In early May, Apartment List reported the median rent in Austin was $1,161 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,433 for a two-bedroom apartment. That represented a 3.5 percent year-over-year increase in rent.

Aside from escalating rents, home prices are also continuing to climb in Central Texas, though there is evidence that they're beginning to somewhat stabilize. In April, the median price of a single-family home within Austin’s city limits stood at $394,450, up 1.1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Travis County has partnered with Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group on the office component of the mixed-use development. The more than 80,000 square feet of offices will feature space for the county’s health services, veterans services, jury services, and passport programs. A small retail shop will be included.

The three-acre, county-owned site is bounded by Airport Boulevard, 53 1/2 Street, and Helen Street. It’s just southwest of the intersection of I-35 and U.S. Highway 290 East. Neighboring the mixed-use development are offices for the Travis County clerk and Travis county tax collector.

“Not only are we bringing affordable housing and jobs to a central location, this mixed-use development will be a game changer for redevelopment along Airport Boulevard,” Diana McIver, president of DMA, says in a release.

Completion of the $60 million project is scheduled for December 2020 or January 2021.