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Four hundred apartments planned for South Lamar PUD

Thursday, June 16, 2022 by Jo Clifton

The property owners of 517 S. Lamar, currently home to Trek Bicycle Lamar and CareNow emergency medical services, are proposing a planned unit development with about 400 multifamily residential units, about 10,000 square feet of retail and/or restaurant space, and underground parking. Jerry Rusthoven, assistant director of the Housing and Planning Department, presented a development assessment report to City Council Tuesday as the first step toward putting the PUD in the pipeline. He estimated it could take a year for it to get back to Council.

The applicant is asking for a relaxation of design standards and offering to bury the utility lines on the property along South Lamar. They are also offering to provide three-star Green Building standards, rainwater irrigation and green water quality controls. The site currently has no grass or vegetation whatsoever and the applicants are promising an improvement. As far as compatibility standards go, Rusthoven said, the closest residential-zoned property is the old Elks Lodge on the other side of the railroad tracks. There are also homes on the other side of Lamar, but they sit on a cliff above a car wash and they will still be taller than the proposed PUD buildings.

Rusthoven told Council that the applicants, Adelaide Murphey and Jack Gray, planned to offer 10 percent of their multifamily units to families earning less than 60 percent of the median family income. That will certainly be a point of contention for Council members Ann Kitchen and Kathie Tovo, who will likely push for more. Kitchen claims the property, which is close to the intersection of South Lamar with Barton Springs Road, is in her District 5, while Tovo said she believes under the new district map the property is in her District 9.

Attorney Richard Suttle represents the applicants, who are seeking to build the PUD. Suttle told the Austin Monitor that while the property is currently zoned for commercial services with the V for Vertical Mixed Use and could be rezoned to the new VMU2, those classifications would still be insufficient to get the 102-foot height his clients are seeking.

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