The Historic Kenney House is situated facing West 22nd street. It’s now used as a bed and breakfast called The Old Star of Texas Inn. Mike McHone is a project consultant.
"To save a house, I know what it takes. I've been involved with it, financial end of it, for generations-decades now." Mike McHone lived here as a student when he went to the University of Texas
He bought it, restored it, and sold it. Tuesday night the Austin’s planning commission recommended that city council approves removing the parking lot's historic zoning, so a brand new student campus housing development project can move forward in the approval process. If it's approved, it will be a 17-story high rise, about 691 bedrooms, and 287 units proposed for 611 W. 22nd street at the corner of Rio Grande and W. 22nd streets.
It will be tightly built around the Historic Kenney House. "It's very difficult to save these older homes that are in a commercial area. If you have a historic house in Pemberton, well big deal, you'll modify it a little bit. The landlord can go along with it, but you're in a residential neighborhood."
McHone says it's a fair-housing project so anyone can apply to live there. Students will qualify for living in those, based upon their financial need certifications from the University of Texas financial aid office
"The affordable rate currently, under UNO, is the 60% of Austin median and that's $850 per unit. The commission likes what we're doing their goal is, they like the design but they didn't have a way of mechanism with feeling comfortable with us developing what we showed them and what we did was try and show them that we're very serious about it."
McHone says they did this by hiring architects, historic restoration architects, and civil engineers.
He also says on Wednesday his biggest assignment is to bug the City of Austin about expediting the review for the building plan. He says they're working on the site plan on a daily basis. "How much is the project expected to cost? That I don't know but a substantial amount I'd say in the 50 millions."
That project consultant says they're trying to get on the city council agenda for November 1st.
If approved, they plan to start building this 2 year project, by May 2019.
Expected completion date could be around May 2021.