Renters paradise: New apartment units flooding Northwest Austin market

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Several new apartment complexes are coming to Northwest Austin, ranging from luxury developments near The Domain to affordable housing near Capital Metro’s Lakeline Station.

Industry data project the area will continue adding apartments in the next year. In the second quarter of 2016,  the Northwest Austin area saw 824 new units, according to the most recent figures from ApartmentTrends.com, a site  run by Austin Investor Interests.

Northwest Austin is expected to see 3,091 new units start construction and 3,381 units finish construction through the second quarter of 2017, according to the data.

Although the additions are in line with the building activity in Austin over the past several years, new trends are developing, said Renee Zahn, secretary treasurer of the Austin Apartment Association. She said renters are focusing less on an apartment’s total size and more on the floor plan design, and apartment builders are responding, she said.

“Developers are really taking their time and looking at their floor plans,” Zahn said. “They really want the space to be smart and well-laid-out.”

Amenities are also moving beyond pools and fitness centers, which are now fairly common, with some developers adding expansive barbecue areas and other entertainment options to make outdoor spaces useable year-round, Zahn said.

Developers cater to many income levels with new apartment choices

What’s new?

Several new developments are underway or already available to lease in Northwest Austin, including The Michael at Presidio at 13535 Lyndhurst St., near Lakeline Mall. The 415-unit apartment and townhome complex was developed by StreetLights Residential of Dallas along with Tricon Capitol Group Inc.

A leasing office opened in August, and units are now available for renters, spokesperson Katherine Donnino said.

The Michael at Presidio has studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as three-bedroom townhomes. Amenities include a pool, barbecue areas, a community lounge, a game lounge, a private conference room, a coffee bar and a fitness center.

StreetLights Residential is also developing the Austin Flatiron project at 10727 Domain Drive, near IBM Corp.’s building off Braker Lane, but Donnino said the company was not ready to release information on the project.

Farther north, IMT Residential, based in Sherman Oaks, California, is building IMT Residences at Riata at 5705 Diehl Trail, adjacent to Apple Inc.’s Austin campus, with the project’s first phase anticipated to be complete in November. Phase 1 will feature 271 one- and two-bedroom apartments, and a 36-unit townhome phase will open in early 2017, said Kathleen Wolf, IMT’s national marketing director.

Nearby, Epoch Residential of Winterpark, Florida, is building a 290-unit development called Republic Place at 5708 W. Parmer Lane, across the street from Apple.

Justin Sand, the company’s president, said Republic Place is the third project Epoch has built on the property, although the company has sold the other two complexes. He said Republic Place should be completed by July and will have one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments along with amenities.

Sand said proximity to major Austin thoroughfares, such as MoPac and US 183, were key components in deciding the development’s location.

Apple’s decision to open offices nearby has also been beneficial to the development’s appeal, although Sand said Epoch had selected the property before Apple decided to move into Northwest Austin in 2012.

“It was a case of being lucky,” he said.

nwa-2016-10-2-2Affordable housing in the mix

The Northwest Austin area is also expected to see new affordable housing units by early 2017.

Nonprofit Foundation Communities expects its Lakeline Station Apartments at 13635 Rutledge Spur will be ready by January. The development will have one-, two- and three-bedroom, income-restricted apartments. It will also include a learning center offering free after-school care and programs for children as well as educational programs for residents.

Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities, said a big aspect of the site is its proximity to Lakeline Station, a Park & Ride that offers Capital Metro bus and train service. He said the high number of retail and service-sector jobs near Lakeline Station also make the site attractive.

“It’s just a great location in terms of being connected to everything,” Moreau said.

The learning center is a central component of the development and will allow Foundation Communities to conveniently offer educational and health programs as well as financial stability to residents, he said.

“We find people are much more likely to participate if they don’t have to drive anywhere,” he said. “We think of the learning center as the heart of the community. It’s the place where we will have education programs for all ages.”

Moreau said the Northwest Austin area is a new part of the city for Foundation Communities to locate developments, and he sees a need for more affordable housing in the area, particularly around Lakeline Station.

“We are excited to be able to build affordable housing in that area where there’s really nothing affordable right now,” he said.

Foundation Communities is working on another development called Cardinal Point, located at the intersection of River Place Boulevard and Four Points Drive. Moreau said Cardinal Point could be ready for move-in by fall 2017.

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Evan is Community Impact Newspaper’s Georgetown editor. He joined Community Impact in August 2016 as a reporter for the Northwest Austin edition after spending five years working for newspapers in the Pacific Northwest. He is originally from Washington state.

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