West Travis County workforce housing complex to open early 2022




Rise Residential has built numerous workforce housing complexes in Texas, including Creekview apartments in East Austin. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rise Residential has built numerous workforce housing complexes in Texas, including Creekview apartments in East Austin. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)

Rise Residential has built numerous workforce housing complexes in Texas, including Creekview apartments in East Austin. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Construction is well underway by Dallas-based developer Rise Residential on a 180-unit workforce apartment complex on about 7.94 acres at RM 620 and Storm Drive. Project planners are now estimating to have the first residents on-site in the first quarter of 2022.

The apartments will likely open under the name Villas at Cardinal Hills, according to documents provided by Rise Residential.

With delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic increasingly less of an issue, the project is scheduled to have the first of its buildings completed by the end of the year, according to Bill Fisher, President, Sonoma Housing Advisors and financial consultant on the project.

The complex, which is less than a mile outside the Lakeway city limits in Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, is being built in partnership with the Strategic Housing Finance Corp. of Travis County, or SHFC.

As such, the project is taking advantage of federal tax credits and property tax exemptions to offer reduced rent to families earning 60% of the area median income or less. Thus, a family of four making less than $58,550 would qualify for an application to live at the Villas of Cardinal Hills, according to the city of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Office.


Among the amenities to be offered at the complex is a 7,000 square-foot clubhouse with a fitness center, business center, pool and other features commonly found at apartment complexes. What will be different about the Villas at Cardinal Hills is that family services, such as credit and homebuyer courses, afternoon child care, and health and nutrition classes, will be offered free of charge, Fisher said.

“Our job in affordable housing is to provide family stability. We are kind of the front line against people getting into a homeless situation; so we provide supportive services,” he said. Workforce housing such as the Villas at Cardinal Hills is also an important economic development tool for west Travis County because it allows people who work at local businesses, schools and government agencies to live close to their jobs, Fisher said.

“The first 15-20 people on our wait list at that development are teachers at Lake Travis ISD,” he said. “They basically say, ‘I can’t work out here much longer if I can’t live closer to school.’”

Workforce housing complexes such as the Villas at Cardinal Hills typically use the same construction materials and components as rental housing that is driven purely by market rates, and it is the local government ownership and participation that makes the affordable rents possible, said Patrick Howard, executive director and CEO of the Housing Authority of Travis County. The county authority is a partner of the nonprofit SHFC.

The reason there are not more workforce housing complexes in Travis County to keep pace with demand is because the cost of development, particularly due to the cost of land, is high, Howard said.

“The need is just overwhelmingly great,” he said. “And that is what you are seeing in West Travis County.”

In fact, a review of the online portfolio of workforce housing complexes on the Housing Authority’s website shows 10 properties. None of these properties are west of MoPac. However, the city of Lakeway is considering a proposal for a workforce apartment development at RM 620 and Nightingale Lane.

The proposal is pending before the city’s zoning and planning commission after an initial public hearing in May generated concerns from nearby residents about the traffic that might be generated by the complex and the appearance of proposed structures on the site.
By Greg Perliski

Editor, Lake Travis/Westlake & Northwest Austin

Greg joined Community Impact as an editor in November 2020. In the communities he covers, Greg reports on local government, transportation, real estate development and business. He has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. Greg earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin.



MOST RECENT

Water retention ponds and flood control features can now be seen on the site of the 80-acre Village of Spanish Oaks development. (Courtesy CCNG Inc.)
Permanent features take shape at Village at Spanish Oaks

The Village at Spanish Oaks will feature a boutique inn as well as retail and office space.

Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents, and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander ISD 'highly recommends' masks; tax-free weekend tips and more Austin-area news

Read the latest business and education news from the Central Texas area.

Sinaloan seafood restaurant El Coco Pirata is now open in Northwest Austin. (Community Impact Newspaper)
New Mexican seafood spot El Coco Pirata now open in Northwest Austin

El Coco Pirata serves classic Sinaloan seafood dishes.

School supplies will be exempt from the 8.25% sales tax Aug. 6-8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
What to know before the statewide tax-free weekend Aug. 6-8

Customers will not have to pay the standard 8.25% sales tax on select clothing, footwear, school supplies and backpacks under $100.

The city of West Lake Hills could move forward with a capital improvements bond for the Nov. 2 election. (Courtesy Pexels)
November bond election supported by West Lake Hills City Council

The bond package could total $25 million and would tackle the city's critical infrastructure needs.

Public schools cannot require students, teachers, parents, and other staff members or visitors to wear masks after June 4, Gov. Greg Abbott declared in an executive order issued May 18. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Leander ISD 'highly recommends' masks for students, staff

Leander ISD updated its COVID-19 protocols this week to include green, yellow and red transmission levels. The district is at its yellow level as of July 28.

Photo of the Sobering Center
Travis County moves forward with plans for mental health diversion program at Sobering Center

The program would divert people experiencing mental health crises away from jail and towards supportive services following low-level offenses.

Baylor Scott & White Pflugerville
Ascension, Baylor Scott & White to require all employees be fully vaccinated against coronavirus by fall

Ascension and Baylor Scott & White have announced all eligible employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 in the coming months. 

Austin City Council will convene for a regular meeting July 29, its first since mid-June. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Council to look at downtown safety, homelessness and budgeting in return from meetings break

The first regular council meeting since mid-June features a packed agenda and opportunity for resident feedback on Austin's proposed budget.

Photo of a hand holding a vaccine vial
As COVID-19 hospitalizations track upward, Austin Public Health renews call for vaccinations

APH also mirrors the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest guidance for vaccinated individuals to wear masks in some circumstances.

The request to table talks regarding designated campsites came one week after city staff detailed two properties that could be used for such an initiative. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ellis, Harper-Madison call for halt to Austin's 'Band-Aid' sanctioned homeless encampment plans

The East and Southwest Austin representatives shared their thoughts on the process one week after city properties in their districts were tapped as workable encampment sites.