Apartment_sketchA new apartment complex with retail on the ground floor is being proposed along Burnet Road. At last month’s ANA Executive Committee meeting, Brett Denton, partner with Ardent Residentail Properties made a presentation to the EC on his proposed plans to build an apartment complex where the Antique Mall is currently, at 5350 Burnet Road.

Ardent Residential Properties has this property under contract from
Ken
Carr.  Ken presented to the ANA EC approximately two year’s ago a
proposal for condominiums. Brett does not believe the area will support
such a development at this time. The cost of the condos at
approximatley $300 p/sq ft., is higher than what the market will
support.

Condos_vs_apartments_2
Ardent’s plan for this 2.4 acre lot, presently zoned CSU MU, is to replace Ken Carr’s design of 88 condos –  see ANA’s EC minutes from meeting where Ken presented
– (already
approved by city) with approximately 160 (one and two bedroom)
apartments over
retail, in 4 stories and 60’ height. The
apartment complex will consist of  approximately 70% one bedrooms and
30% two
bedroom units, renting for approximately $950 – $1400 per month.
Apartments will wrap around a 4 story parking garage. This development
at present will have Burnet Rd. access
only.

Satellite_view_2Brett Denton and Ardent Properties  is
seeking neighborhood input and support. What follows are some points
Brett provided regarding the development. Please review and submit your
comments below.

1.  Upon
entering into a contract to purchase the property, we contacted the Neighborhood to discuss our plans and solicit
input. We just completed a similar
process with the nearby Oakmont Heights Neighborhood Association (OHNA),
generally bounded by 38th Street,
MOPAC, 44th Street
and Bull Creek Road. ANA neighbors whom contacted the current and
past Presidents of OHNA received very positive feedback about our willingness
to listen and to include their feedback throughout the City approval and design
process. Furthermore, we documented our
agreement with OHNA through a letter agreement and incorporated key terms into
the zoning ordinance for the property. We propose to do the same with ANA.

2.  We are
proposing to build 160 apartments with a unit mix of approximately 70% one bedroom units and 30% two bedroom
units. The existing plan consists of 88
units, all two bedrooms. The true
comparison of occupancy should be based on bedrooms, i.e. 208 bedrooms proposed
vs. 176 bedrooms under the existing approvals.

3.  Although
the existing site plan contemplates the 88 units being developed as condominiums, nothing prohibits the 88
units from being rental. Additionally,
the site plan could be amended to all one bedroom units which would result in
approximately 131 units.

4.  The
proposed building size is similar to that approved for the 88 units. Under
either the existing site plan or our proposed plan, the building would be four
(4) stories and would not exceed 60 feet in height.

5.  The
existing plan includes a curb-cut/driveway at Lawnmont; our proposed site plan eliminates access to Lawnmont. All access will be from Burnet Road.

6.  The
existing site plan can be designed and built with no input from the Neighborhood. We propose to have the Neighborhood involved in the design of our
project

7.  88 units
plus retail generates approximately 1,428 cars/day. 160 units plus retail generates an additional +/-300 trips
per day or approximately 12.5 additional trips per hour over a 24 hour period
(one additional trip every 5 minutes).

8.  With
Neighborhood input in design, we believe a better landscape/streetscape plan can be developed

9.  Rainwater
run-off will be captured and contained in a collection tank under the building.

 10. The
existing plan does not provide for Affordable Housing. Our proposal provides for 10% of the units to be leased at
80% Median Family Income. Based on
Neighborhood feedback, we would target senior citizens for the affordable
units.

11. By
including the Allandale Neighborhood in the planning and design process, we believe we can create a development that
will be a model for future development along this portion of Burnet Road.

I also responded to an e-mail from Mr. Joe Reynolds last
week and provided some responses to more detailed questions. That e-mail is attached below.

We look forward to working with you. Thanks.

Sincerely,Brett Denton
Ardent Residential
(w) 512-472-6446

Subject: RE: Burnet & Lawnmont

Mr. Reynolds:

Thank you for your comments and questions below.  I apologize for not responding sooner, but as I mentioned in my previous e-mail, I’ve been traveling and am now back in Austin.

We appreciate the conversations and feedback with various neighbors to date.  As we discussed at the ANA Board Meeting, the first call we made after placing the property under contract was to neighborhood contacts that we were given.

We are proud of the fact that we recently completed a similar process with the Oakmont Heights Neighborhood Association on a development we are undertaking on Bull Creek Road, just south of 45th Street.  Some ANA residents contacted the current and past Presidents of the Oakmont Heights Neighborhood Association and received very positive feedback about our willingness to listen to and include feedback from that Neighborhood throughout the City approval and design process.

Our goal with this project is to collaborate with the Allandale Neighborhood to create a development that will be a model for future development along this portion of Burnet Road.

My thoughts to your comments and questions follow:

1.    We understand and want to have a positive impact on the area.

2.    Steven and I met on Friday, July 20th to visit about his vision
for the Pedestrian Mall from Lawnmont to the Library.  As I mentioned to Steven, we are interested in our property providing access to the Pedestrian Mall.  In a follow-up e-mail with Steven, he indicated that approximately 35 feet of access would be desirable.  We think it is likely we could provide up to 17.5 feet of access.  Steven mentioned talking with Kensington Apartments behind us.  We envision the balance of the 35 feet (17.5 feet) being on their side of the property line.  As mentioned at the ANA Board Meeting, we would be happy to participate in discussions with other area land owners about the plan.

3.    Please see responses to specific project issues below.

4.a.  Electric.  Since the project has not been designed, we have not determined the location for transformers and other electric equipment.
Our research indicates that there are no issues with the property being served by Austin Energy.  We share your concerns about the visual impact of electrical equipment and will do our best to minimize or screen where necessary.

4.b. and 4.c.    Water and Wastewater.  Our Engineer has had preliminary
discussions with the City of Austin regarding water and wastewater.  We are in the process of verifying capacity of both systems to serve the proposed project.  Should the City determine that modifications to these utilities are necessary, we will be required to do so as part of the permit and approval process.

5.    Loading & Move-Ins.  Our preliminary plan contemplates a loading
zone at the southeast corner of the building adjacent to the entry to the parking garage.  This location keeps moving vans and delivery vehicles off both Burnet Road and Lawnmont.  The retail would share this loading area.

Construction on infill sites like this is always a challenge.  We will work closely with the Neighborhood and City to minimize the impact of construction.

6.    Security/Parking Garage.  The parking garage would have
controlled access past the retail parking and would be well lit.  Having designed and built a number of multifamily projects both with and without garages, we understand the importance of this issue and strive to create safe environments.  We would likely have cameras at select locations but they would not be monitored.

7.    Policies on Occupancy.  We understand the desire to have a mixed
income property and would be pleased to offer 10% of the units at 80% MFI per the Vertical Mixed Use Opt-In/Opt-out Application submitted by the Allandale Neighborhood Association.  Furthermore, we would create a program whereby we would target senior citizens for the affordable units.  Should not all affordable units lease to seniors in a certain time frame, we would then offer the remaining affordable units to other qualified residents.

We don’t anticipate many families living in the property as families rarely  reside in urban apartments.

Architecture is very important to us and we will work with the Neighborhood to create a living environment that promotes community interaction and compliments the Allandale area.

8.    On-site storm water retention is included in the currently
approved site plan and includes rainwater collection in a tank under the building.  We would utilize a similar system to capture our water run-off.

Other issues discussed with Neighbors:

9.    Traffic flow and turning movements.  Various issues related to
traffic have been raised in many discussions.  I will try to briefly address each.

Access to Lawnmont.  While the existing site plan for the property includes access to Lawnmont, we have deleted this access on our site plan.  All access to the property would be from Burnet Road.

Right-turn deceleration lane.  While we understand the desire to get right-turning cars off the southbound lane(s) of Burnet Road quickly and safely, we think that a dedicated right turn decel lane would push the building back  on the site resulting in lost density and detract from the pedestrian walking and seating environment that we hope to create with street front retail.  We propose to provide a more gradual, gentle right turn that would allow cars to turn off Burnet Road quickly.

Left-turn lane.  We propose to work with the Neighborhood and the City of Austin to modify the median in Burnet Road that starts south of the property.  It appears that this median could be modified to allow stacking for north bound cars on Burnet Road that would be turning left into the property.

10.    Retail.  It is our hope that the street front retail would consist of local businesses and we would focus our leasing efforts to achieve this goal.

Thank you again for your interest and feedback.  We look forward to working with the Allandale Neighbors to create a truly unique development.

Sincerely,

Brett Denton
Ardent Residential