Along with the incredible explosion of density cooking in the region directly around the Domain, there’s a few notable projects headed to other parts of North Austin looking to try something different from the region’s largely sprawled-out style of development. Multistory residential buildings really stick out in this part of town at the moment, but it’s a great start — and a rezoning case unanimously recommended by the Planning Commission at its meeting earlier this week is bringing a new direction to a region of Shoal Creek Boulevard currently occupied by an almost comical number of parking lots. Seriously, get a load of this aerial:
The site, a roughly 3.1-acre assembly of two adjacent warehouse properties at 8640 and 8700 Shoal Creek Boulevard owned by local firm Karnak Holdings, successfully added a Planned Development Agreement (PDA) overlay to the properties’ current Light Industrial zoning status, allowing their redevelopment as an apartment project by major Texan multifamily builder OHT Partners. (Please don’t ask why it’s necessary to add a new overlay and keep the old industrial zoning to build housing here. Austin’s practically middle-aged land development code is so stupid it almost beggars belief.)
Despite a few compatibility setbacks imposed by the presence of single-family homes within the limit of 540 feet — hey, there’s that absurd code again — the planned apartment building at this site will be able to rise to a maximum height of 75 feet thanks to this zoning tweak, with current city documents indicating approximately 330 new residences are expected here. The project has also secured the support of the North Shoal Creek Neighborhood Association by designating 10 percent of the apartments as affordable at 80 percent of the region’s Median Family Income, along with providing sidewalk improvements along the site’s frontage. Considering what this area looks like now, we’re not surprised to see the neighbors getting on board.
Even though we’ve already had a good laugh about the sheer number of parking lots surrounding this site, if you hop on street view you’ll see perhaps the most notable thing about the location is its pretty decent tree cover, so we’re also glad to hear from the developers that the project will make efforts to preserve heritage trees at the property. While this and other finer details of the new building are currently unknown, the staff report on the rezoning case prepared for the Planning Commission contains a pretty good line about where this district could (and should) be heading:
Shoal Creek Boulevard is in the process of transitioning to a mixed use area that permits a variety of commercial and multifamily uses.
— Planning Commission Staff Report
Like we’ve said before, you gotta start somewhere!
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