According to new city filings, the Security Self Storage facility located at 1515 South Lamar Boulevard might soon be storing selves instead, in the form of a 328-unit apartment project by multifamily mega-firm Fairfield Residential, which owns numerous communities around the country — though none in Austin, until now.
For the most part, this new project, which is simply referred to in these documents as South Lamar Apartments, seems like business as usual for a “Texas donut” apartment development in 78704. It’s a five-story building designed by Memphis architecture firm Looney Ricks Kiss — what a name, am I right — with 65 studios, 190 one-bedrooms, and 73 two-bedroom units wrapped around a garage structure providing 460 parking spaces and room for 46 bikes. But there are a few interesting details related to its location that make it worth taking a look at — plus, more housing is more housing, and that’s always newsworthy!
The shape of the 3.9-acre property is pretty great for a storage facility, but it’s not ideal for a vertical mixed-use building, with only roughly 100 feet of actual frontage along South Lamar Boulevard. In fact, a large portion of the site is hidden from the street behind retail strip centers to the immediate north and south.
The property’s small stretch of frontage will contain the building’s only retail space, with 1,746 square feet facing the street along with a small patio — I’ve got to assume that’s going to end up being a restaurant of some kind, though I guess we can’t rule out some kind of alfresco artisanal vape shop. Despite the lack of retail space that traditionally puts the “mixed” in “mixed-use,” the building’s maxing out its potential as a VMU-zoned project on the South Lamar Boulevard corridor, with an FAR of 2:1 and height of 60 feet.
That VMU zoning, intended to create density along Austin’s major transit corridors, is kind of a point of contention among some of South Austin’s single-family neighborhoods, with Zilker Neighborhood Association president Jeff Jack weighing in on the topic on this very website last year. South Lamar Boulevard alone has seen a fairly consistent boom in mixed-use development along the corridor over the last decade, with nearby projects like Gibson Flats, Lamar Union, and Post South Lamar all opening their doors within the last five years.
There’s still more development to come for the region, with another mixed-use project that appears to be heavily associated with Atlanta real estate firm Wood Partners in the planning stages at the 1300 block of South Lamar Boulevard, a site occupied by Genie Car Wash and a few other businesses just a stone’s throw north of the Fairfield site. Previous reports indicate the project will contain 226 multifamily units along with retail, but for now, the carwash remains — still, I wouldn’t spring for the yearly pass if I were you.