Proposed new development to include affordable housing for some AISD teachers

We all know it's expensive to live in Austin. In fact, many teachers live outside of the city, and commute, just to be able to afford housing. But, that may soon change for some teachers in the Austin Independent School District.

A new development called “The Grove at Shoal Creek” has been proposed near the 4300 block of Bull Creek Road in Central Austin.

The new community would include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, apartments, businesses, senior living, and 18-acres for a public park. Wednesday, they announced there will be affordable housing options for teachers in AISD.

The developer of the project Garrett Martin said affordability in Austin is a major problem and he and his business partners recognized that and want to help. So they decided to include affordable housing in their proposed development “It will provide 180 affordable housing units that will include homes for sale and homes for rent.” They specifically are helping teachers within the AISD.  “Teachers are especially challenged when they want to buy a home in parts of the city where land values are very high,” Martin said,

In a press release released by the project, it said the average salary for an AISD teacher is about $46,000 a year. At this salary, a teacher’s family could afford a home priced at about $200,000. The neighborhood around this Shoal Creek development, homes average around $544,000.

“This will be a great start if we can assist our teachers living closer in, instead of having to move out to Williamson and Hayes Counties, which a lot of our teachers have to do,” said Julie Cowan, AISD School Board Trustee for District 4. While this doesn't solve all the housing needs, school board members said it is a step in the right direction. “I am proud that Austin ISD and The Grove are willing to work through the challenges of this idea to benefit as many as possible,” Cowan said.

Council Member Sheri Gallo is over the district in the area, she said she supports the new development. Gallo said the median income in Austin over the last 25 years has doubled, but the housing prices have quadrupled, which is a big problem. “The affordability for particularly our work force employees and workers is really critical,” she said.

Martin said he and his partners chose teachers for a specific reason. “My mom was a teacher for 25 years, so teachers are near and dear to my heart and my partners as well are very passionate about education and education in the city of Austin.

It hasn't been decided how they will choose who gets the affordable housing in the development if it's approved. They said they may do a lottery type system.

City Council is still reviewing the plans and the zoning application still needs to be approved. They said they believe the zoning applications will be approved within the next few months and they are hoping to break ground by early 2017.


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