Development in the East Riverside Corridor hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, to say the least. An affordable housing development team has taken notice, and placed a bet on the neighborhood between Montopolis Drive and Grove Boulevard.
Megan Lasch, manager of O-SDA Industries LLC is backing Cambrian East Riverside, a 65-unit multifamily mid-rise to be located at 1806 Clubview Avenue with a planned 55 units rated as affordable, or available to tenants earning less than 80 percent of the area’s median family income.
Lasch was an investor last year in Saigebrook Development LLC’s Aria Grand, a 9 percent Housing Tax Credit project planned in Travis Heights. This year, her firm is working with Neo East Riverside LLC, which recently purchased the Clubview Avenue property for $1,035,000.
Neo East Riverside describes the Cambrian project as a four-story residential wood frame structure above a one-story parking garage with common areas at ground floor such as a community room, computer lounge, fitness center and office. Dallas firm Wernerfeld Architects is the project architect.
Total building costs have been estimated at $7.05 million, according to state records. Only 15 units are one-bedrooms, with the rest a mix of two, three, and four-bedrooms. The living spaces have a total area of 57,268 square feet, and the indoor common areas total 2,444 square feet.
To meet their affordable rent goals, Neo East Riverside is asking the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for just over $1 million in 9 percent housing tax credits (HTC). That amounts to a quarter of the year’s estimated total allotment of 9 percent housing credits for the Austin area.
Competitive HTC projects are scored by the state according to a matrix of community amenities in the project area, to discourage developers packing low-income families into depressed neighborhoods. Cambrian East Riverside is not a lock to get the state assist. Their number of applicants, six in total, are asking for double the amount the state will likely allocate. To get an edge, affordable housing developers look for neighborhoods that provide practical access to good schools, shopping centers, health clinics and other necessities of civilization.
This team found their sweet spot where Clubview Avenue meets Kasper Street. It’s a one-block walk from the Ruiz Branch Public Library and six blocks south of where the city is about to construct the new 33,000-square-foot Montopolis Recreation and Community Center. That $11 million project was projected to break ground last year, but the contractor bids were reissued after the New Year and that date has been pushed to spring 2018.
David Potter, the city’s Neighborhood Development Program manager, gave Cambrian East Riverside a ringing endorsement.
“The City of Austin considers … Cambrian East Riverside as contributing more than any other development to the concerted revitalization efforts in the East Riverside Corridor Master Plan,” Potter wrote on the developers’ behalf to the TDHCA. “Cambrian East Riverside will be a welcome provider of affordable housing in an area where the rapid development of market rate housing is outpacing Austin’s need for housing affordability.”