No West Anderson urban paradise, but we have to start somewhere – TOWERS

Image: Davies Collaboration

What is interesting in the 27 eleven project by a development team based in California Paydar Properties is not so much the building, but rather its location – which now amounts to 2711 Anderson Lane West, this 320-unit apartment community will soon become the only multi-family residential building directly fronting the stretch of West Anderson Lane between Mopac and Burnet Road, as far as we can tell. Its surroundings are a predominantly commercial district characterized by mall-style retail and oceans of surface parking lots, a corridor that could one day accommodate transformational mixed-use vertical growth along lines of similar increased density on Burnet Road or South Lamar Boulevard – at the moment we only have one project, but it’s a start.

A view of the construction site of the 27 Eleven apartment project from West Anderson Lane. Photo by James Rambin

Rising five stories on the site of a former Chase Bank office building, the apartment structure sits on two levels of underground parking, rather than wrapping its units around a surface garage in the standard “Texas Donut” style. It’s certainly a win for the aesthetic, since its design by the local architectural firm Davies Collaborative doesn’t have to waste time or space trying to hide a parking structure. The building also contains two office spaces on the ground floor facing the street.

Besides its location, perhaps the most curious feature of the 27 Eleven project is its $69.5 million in funding it secured from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last year, under the 221 loan program ( HUD’s D) 4, which the department describes as “often used to create housing for low-income families, seniors, and residents with disabilities who have been excluded from the rental apartment market. However, the program does not require any income limit for projects built under its funding, making it unclear whether all apartments here will be offered at market price – further complicating the waters, the Davies Collaborative architects online portfolio lists its project affordable housing type.

Parking lot, Alamo Drafthouse sign, construction site, Ross peeking in the background… yeah, that’s pretty much what’s happening here on West Anderson Lane these days. Photo by James Rambin

Lifelong Austinites may recall NIMBY’s protracted mid-2000s feud between nearby neighborhood residents, the City of Austin, and developers Lincoln Property Company over Lincoln’s plan to build a Walmart Supercenter. at the dying Northcross Mall near the current 27 Eleven site, a proposal that sparked controversy over its two-story design, garage and 24-hour operations meant to bring unsustainable traffic and stifle small retail stores in the region. A frivolous lawsuit against the city failed to stop the project, as it was fully permitted to be built within the property’s zoning whether anyone liked Walmart or not, but the 2008 recession quickly put the brakes on Lincoln’s big plans anyway, which resulted in the smaller store. with an ordinary surface parking lot that we see here today.

Far be it from us to uphold the honor of a fairly anti-urban operation like Walmart, but a talking point we remember from neighborhood residents opposing the plan 15 years ago still rings true for West Anderson Lane , whether or not these people know it – people protesting the store have often claimed that they want a more mixed-use project built here, with residential, commercial and office uses thoughtfully put together in something more like the Triangle or another large planned development. Of course, what they ended up getting was parking, but the 27 Eleven project points to that possible future for the corridor, with many overcrowded malls and big-box stores ready to be assembled and redeveloped when the time comes. . Speaking of which, does anyone want to buy this three-story furniture store?

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