Developers bring tiny home project to Old Manchaca Road

Developers James Stinson and Lauren Carson have partnered with Austin-based tiny-home designer Kasita to design units for the site. This photo gives an example of a Kasita project, but is not associated with the development slated for Old Manchaca Road.

Developers James Stinson and Lauren Carson have partnered with Austin-based tiny-home designer Kasita to design units for the site. This photo gives an example of a Kasita project, but is not associated with the development slated for Old Manchaca Road.

This spring, a 6.2-acre site on Old Manchaca Road will give way to a tiny home development known as Constellation. Geared toward sustainable living, the dwellings will serve as a catalyst to a more widespread revitalization of the area—at least that is the hope of its developers James Stinson and Lauren Carson.

Located in Austin's extraterritorial jurisdiction, the area is rural in nature but in recent years has seen a boost in activity from nearby businesses such as Moontower Saloon, Indian Roller and The Hive. Once fully occupied, Constellation will bring a slew of residents into the area, and in recognition of the neighborhood's need for better access to nearby amenities, Stinson has galvanized "The Yellow Brick Road" project.

"We see that the area needs walkability," Stinson said. "We are organizing all the bar owners over there to agree to this project, which would provide a big sidewalk to connect all the bars in the neighborhood so people can walk around without having to go on Manchaca Road."


By definition, tiny homes must be 400 square feet in size or less; however, most of the dwellings in Constellation will be around 280 square feet with an upstairs loft space, Stinson said. All units come fully furnished and Stinson and Carson have partnered with a mortgage company to provide 30-year financing plans.

Stinson said he expects two demographics to show interest in the project—young millennials and retirees.

"The demographic is not about people who are absolutely trying to practice austerity, but we are after people who are about the environment and don't want to be wasteful," he said. "These are people who look at a 2,500-square-foot [home's property] tax bill and realize they'd rather use that money to travel."

The developers have partnered with tiny home designers Austin-based Kasita and Colorado-based Sprout Tiny Homes to bring the dwellings to life. Unlike many tiny homes, while Constellation's are portable they will not be on wheels, Stinson said. Units will be connected to utilities and will "look and feel permanent," he said.

For the pool, clubhouse and landscape architecture, Stinson and Carson have employed the expertise of Mark Word Design, the group behind South Congress Avenue's Hotel San Jose and Hotel Saint Cecilia.

Director of Sales Joe Davis will begin taking reservations for interested owners to obtain a lot in three weeks, Stinson said, and on March 1, Constellation will host its grand opening during which potential residents can choose their model and lot as well as execute a full ground lease, sale and financing through Tiny Dwelling Home Co. The total cost of living in the community, Stinson said, will start at $1,100 per month.


In the interest of public safety and easier access to amenities, Stinson has begun a project he calls "The Yellow Brick Road" to create a sidewalk that would connect area residents to nearby businesses.

While the project still needs buy-in from a few landowners, Stinson said nearly all stakeholders in the area are on board with the idea. To create the sidewalk, property owners would need to dedicate some of their land to a public right-of-way easement.

Contingent upon the agreement of those remaining landowners, Stinson said the project will get underway in about six weeks.


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