Bouldin Village, a 375-unit apartment development planned on South Lamar Boulevard near the southern edge of the Zilker neighborhood, is about to become a case study for Austin’s recently updated vertical mixed-use development regulations allowing extra height in exchange for income-restricted affordable homes.
Proposed by local real estate firm Narrow Road Group under the guidelines of the so-called VMU2 ordinance passed last year by City Council incentivizing denser development on major streets, the mixed-use building bound for a roughly 3.8-acre tract at 2001 South Lamar Boulevard will rise to a height of approximately 87 feet, rather than the usual 60-foot limit, by providing approximately 12 percent of its residences at rental rates affordable to individuals or families earning 60 percent or less of the region’s median family income — as of 2022, that’s up to $46,380 for an individual or $66,180 for a family of four. The building’s 45 affordable homes will remain income-restricted for a period of 40 years upon the project’s completion.
The project site is an assembly of adjacent properties at 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2019 South Lamar Boulevard, currently occupied by an auto body shop, warehouse, and a few other commercial buildings. (The pickleball-themed bar Bouldin Acres is located next door to the site, but appears unaffected by these plans.) The unit mix of the community includes 30 studios, 213 one-bedroom, and 127 two-bedroom residences.
Designed by Austin studio Urban Foundry Architecture, which we know from the developing One Oak and Congress Lofts at St. Elmo condo projects, the Bouldin Village building also contains nearly 12,000 square feet of office space at ground level. The structure rises seven floors, only three feet short of the 90-foot limit imposed by the guidelines of the VMU2 program — to us, that extra height is a sight for sore eyes in a development class overwhelmingly defined by five-story buildings. It’s hopefully evidence that the new guidelines of these latest modifications to the vertical mixed-use program are properly calibrated to incentivize the participation of local builders, since the proper percentages of affordable units required under the ordinance was a matter of debate for council last year.