Official: Buda mixed-use development should promote commercial growth

Official: Buda mixed-use development should promote commercial growth Construction crews have been working at the site of future apartment complex Carrington Oaks since July. Project developer Kurt Goll, with JCI Residential, said he expects the first tenants to begin leases in April.[/caption]

A Main Street development under construction in Buda should prime the area for future retail and commercial growth, the city's planning director said.

An apartment complex is expected to be the first project completed in the development area at the intersection of Main Street and Cabela's Drive. A permit application for a Fairfield Inn and Suites has also been submitted. The hotel and retail stores will surround the apartment building, Buda Planning Director Chance Sparks said.

"With [the apartment complex] coming and an apartment complex right down the street, that is going to be more enticing for commercial developers," Sparks said. "Seeing a lot of rooftops in close proximity makes it appealing for commercial and retail developers."

The 302-unit apartment complex sits on nearly 16 acres and will be known as Carrington Oaks, said Kurt Goll, president of JCI Residential, the apartments developer.

Construction on the apartment complex, which will have three floors, began in July. Goll said residents will be able to move in by April.

Floor plans range in square footage from 625 to 1,275 and in bedrooms from one to three. Goll said pricing will be at market rate, meaning rent will be in line with similar apartment complexes in South Austin and Kyle. The only other multifamily residential property in Buda to offer apartments at market rate is Silverado Crossing, which is down the street on Cabela's Drive, he said.

Each unit will include amenities, such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and walk-in closets.

Sparks said the multifamily housing demand in Buda is parallel to the demand in the region. He said occupancy rates at apartment complexes in the region range from 90 to 95 percent.

"I don't think Buda has any particularly higher demand than anywhere else in the region," he said.

Goll said Buda is an attractive city in which to live, so it made sense to bring another multifamily option to town.

"We felt like we needed to bring more choice to Buda," he said. "People flock to Buda for the schools, the small-town charm and just the living experience of being close to Austin but not in traffic."

The area will be the first private development in Buda to use nonpotable water for outdoor irrigation, Sparks said. The city of Buda treats and cleans wastewater at its wastewater treatment facility and pipes it back to the city for reuse. Stagecoach and City parks are on the same irrigation system, he said.

The development area has been zoned using a designation known as a planned unit development, or PUD, a method of fostering more creative development than the original code would have allowed, Sparks said.

Although a PUD is not the most common method of development, it was best-suited for the requests city staff received from the developers, he said.

Sparks said north Hays County in general was expected to be developed faster than it has been, but with stricter commercial lending after the recession tying developers hands, the pace of development slowed.

With the economy recovering, Sparks said it was only a matter of time before the city started to see development pick up again.
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