700 student apartments: A historic compromise

The main reason that UT bus ridership has declined so dramatically in recent years has been the big increase in residential development in the campus area. More students now live within walking distance of class.

A proposed development that I profiled in the Austin Monitor is a fitting display of the trend.

A developer seeking to build a 700-unit, 17-story apartment building targeting students on West 22nd Street can’t proceed with the project unless City Council agrees to remove historic zoning from part of an adjacent property, known as the Kenney House.

It sounds like the developer has a pretty cool concept to build a shitload of apartments into a glass tower that will wrap around the historic home, which will also become a coffee shop.

“The tower is all glass wrapping around the historic building … so people on all sides will be able to see it,” explained Little.

I can’t even imagine what that means, but I look forward to seeing what it looks like. And my guess is that it will become a reality. City staff has recommended the zoning change and the Planning Commission overwhelmingly approved it, with only the ultraconservative Karen McGraw in dissent. It still needs Council’s approval. The only three

I wonder what would have happened with this project if it had had to go before the Zoning and Platting Commission, which is dominated by anti-density ideologues. I would bet good money that ZAP would have recommended against the project.

 

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