Affordable housing complex in Lake Travis area considered essential, will move forward

Kent Conine, one of the developers for The Villas at Lakeway, said that at this time, he is expecting construction to begin around the end of April. (Rendering illustration courtesy Kent and Meg Conine/Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kent Conine, one of the developers for The Villas at Lakeway, said that at this time, he is expecting construction to begin around the end of April. (Rendering illustration courtesy Kent and Meg Conine/Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)

Kent Conine, one of the developers for The Villas at Lakeway, said that at this time, he is expecting construction to begin around the end of April. (Rendering illustration courtesy Kent and Meg Conine/Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Villas at Lakeway, a 180-unit affordable housing complex scheduled to begin construction this spring, is sallying forth despite project delays.

Kent Conine, one of the developers for the project, which is set to be located at 2309 N. RM 620, Austin, said that at this time, he is expecting construction to begin around the end of April.



"That is regardless [of what happens with the coronavirus]," Conine said. He added that construction was originally anticipated to begin in March, but there have been delays on the project. Some are related to COVID-19, and others are not, including those having to do with Travis County and applicable utility districts.

"Pretty much everybody is working from home right now, which makes it a little bit tougher," Conine said. "But we're still getting responses from everybody. We are pretty much protected as an essential business in the construction world."


Travis County and the city of Austin announced shelter-in-place orders at a March 24 press conference. While not identical, both orders dictate that individuals should remain in their places of residence except to conduct essential activities and that nonessential businesses should have employees work from home. Those restrictions do not apply to The Villas at Lakeway nor to any other ongoing Travis County affordable housing projects.

"If I had all of my approvals today, I could have 150 guys out there tomorrow working. ... We're constructing shelter, which is much-needed," he said.

The Villas at Lakeway will be open to those making 60% of the Greater Austin area's median household income, which in 2019 was $95,900. Depending on qualification requirements, tenants could earn anywhere from 30%-80% of the median annual household income.

Projected rent for the complex right now stands at $830 a month for a studio apartment and ranges up to $1,249 for a three-bedroom apartment. Once construction begins, The Villas at Lakeway could see its first tenants moving in 12 months later, and the entire complex could be fully occupied by the first or second quarter of 2022, according to Conine.

With regard to physical distancing considerations for when construction does begin, Conine said he routinely deals with subcontractors, so they will be instructed to adhere to all of the mandates the county has, including distancing requirements, to the best of their ability.

Regarding the delays getting approvals from Travis County and other entities, Conine said he understands it is difficult for everyone trying to move forward with projects right now.

"We're just one of many projects that want to get started in Travis County, I'm sure," Conine said. "But now, with the virus and all of its implications layered on top of that, it just doesn't make their life any easier."
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


MOST RECENT

The new partnership will provide on-site, same-day testing and results for assisted-living facility staff and their residents. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State announces partnership for increased COVID-19 testing for patients, staff at assisted-living facilities, nursing homes

These test sites will help the state work toward the goal of processing up to 100,000 tests in the first month.

West Lake Hills' annual National Night Out event has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Phyllis Campos/Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19 concerns force cancellation of National Night Out in West Lake Hills

The annual event focused on building relationships between local law-enforcement agencies and the communities they serve sees about 1,000 attendees a year, according to Scott Gerdes, West Lake Hills police chief.

Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox updated the community during a July 9 broadcast. (Courtesy City of Lakeway)
Lake Travis region saw largest-yet weekly spike in COVID-19 cases, per Lakeway mayor

Cox said the region saw an increase of 75 confirmed coronavirus cases since the previous broadcast July 2, which brought the cumulative total past 200.

The city of Austin has sent three samples of algae from Lady Bird Lake to The University of Texas to test them for toxins. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of Texas researchers will test Lady Bird Lake algae for harmful toxins

Last summer, five dogs died in Lady Bird Lake after coming into contact with the toxic blue-green algae.

The Texas Comptroller’s Office released sales tax data generally pertaining to the month of May on July 8. (Courtesy Pexels)
Lake Travis-Westlake cities see slight uptick in sales tax revenue in May

Western Travis County cities could be approaching a rebound in sales tax revenue amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

West Lake Hills officials began preliminary budget discussions during a July 8 City Council meeting. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
West Lake Hills officials overview 'very lean' 2020-21 budget

Conservatism is the main theme of initial budget discussions in West Lake Hills for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

A photo of Del Valle ISD's Cardinal stadium
Del Valle ISD approves Tesla incentives, paving way for possible Travis County agreement

The school district's July 9 vote could yield Tesla around $46.4 million in tax abatements if the company chooses Travis County as its next factory site.

Travis County has had 13,864 total confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic as of July 9. (Community Impact staff)
Travis County tops 700 new COVID-19 cases for second straight day July 9

Travis County has had 13,864 total confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

Effective July 9, hospitals in more than 100 counties across the state must now postpone elective surgeries unrelated to COVID-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAP: Governor expands restrictions on elective surgeries to more than 100 Texas counties

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott expanded the restrictions that initially required only hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties to postpone all non-medically necessary surgeries and procedures that are unrelated to COVID-19.

An employee at Terry Black's Barbecue in Austin works in a mask May 1. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin’s new law: Follow health authority rules or face $2,000 penalty

Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott is set to publish new orders mandating masks and social distancing this week.

(Courtesy Fotolia)
Leander ISD sets July 31 deadline for parents to choose between online or in-person learning

The deadline for Leander ISD parents to determine the method of their child’s learning is July 31—two weeks before the first day of school Aug. 13.

Eanes ISD spoke out against newly issued guidelines from the Texas Education Agency in a June 9 statement. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Eanes ISD officials say Texas Education Agency guidelines would eliminate any efforts to control social distancing

The guidance from the TEA in several ways contradicts EISD’s tentative reopening plan, referred to as "Ready to Re-Engage," which was released June 24.