“We think there is significant [rental housing] demand for young professionals out here,” said
Stratus Properties CEO and President Beau Armstrong, who also cited an internal Capstone property-management study citing rising numbers of urban professionals outside Austin. “So as downtown Austin becomes more and more congested … I think you’re going to continue to see more people living out here and wanting to work close by but live in Lakeway. And we think this this product responds to that.”
The vacant acreage of the planned unit development, or PUD, which also includes H-E-B and numerous shops, is currently zoned residential SF2. That allows for projects that meet community needs for attached single-family dwellings, according to international code definitions.
The Stratus plan, which would require rezoning to multifamily, calls for 350 rental apartment units on a 35-acre plot of land. The number of units fits within the PUD’s density allowances, which limit the number of development units to between 8-12 per acre.
The Oaks Phase 2 vision calls for a 60-foot, four-story structure featuring a traditional design theme. That proposed height would likely require a PUD amendment, Mayor Joe Bain said.
Rezoning in exchange for parkland
In exchange for the rezoning, the developer is gifting the remaining 25 acres to the city for parkland, some of which has access to Bee Creek. The developer has also committed to a trail system around the creek.
Acknowledging some opposition in Lakeway to multifamily developments, Armstrong said this project is not a garden home-type project with surface parking as the original PUD plans for the acreage allow. Instead he called this a higher-end product where the four-story apartment complex would wrap around a 500-space secure parking garage in the center and feature an interior courtyard.
Unit sizes could range from 700-square-foot studios to 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom designs, he said.
One member of the public pointed out the Oaks parkland offer is one piece of a larger development puzzle. The Lakeway MUD is planning to sell land that abuts the now-vacant property.
“We have no idea what’s going to happen on the other side of this picture once the MUD sells their property; then you’re going to have to negotiate with the developers there,” said Pat McDermott, board chairman of Lakeway Friends of the Parks.
Mayor weighs in
Bain said the history of Lakeway is not conducive to multifamily projects.
“We have significant traffic issues as it is,” he said. “Also, the density is an issue. For me, anyway. There is value; I like the parkland; but I’m also concerned about a 60-foot height. This is something we need to mull over.”
In response to the mayor, Armstrong said he had no illusions of high fives all around from this council.
“If we can all horse trade and all be happy, great,” he said.
What happens next?
The next step will be for council to consider a formal rezoning and PUD amendment plan. No timeline has been set, according to city staff.