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From Community Impact

Affordable Housing Round Rock

TAAHP member Dan Rigney, president of RGC Multifamily, is seeking approval from Round Rock’s City Council to construct a 224-unit affordable housing apartment complex on a 2.75-acre site at 150 Mays Crossing Drive. Plans call for income-restricted, multi-family housing in which residents must earn an overall average of 60 percent of the area median income.

“The spirit and intent behind this—there’s a delta of workforce housing across the country,” said Brad Wiseman, the city’s director of planning and development. “It’s something the market’s not providing. So, to make workforce housing a reality, there’s got to be a give somewhere. Otherwise, the market would be supplying it, and there wouldn’t be all these programs and discussions about affordable housing.”

Of the units, 64 are proposed to be 600-square-foot studio apartments. For a studio apartment at 60 percent of the median income, rent would be $994 a month, Wiseman said. Plans show 110 units as 835-square-foot, one-bedroom apartments, where income-restrict rent would be about $1,065 a month. The remaining 50 units would be 1,035-square-foot, two-bedroom apartments.

In order to make the project work from a financial standpoint, the developers have said they need property tax exemptions, Wiseman said.

“Without the property tax exemptions, they’ve stated that the project is not financially feasible,” he said.

To offset the requested exemptions, Rigney is offering an annual fee to the city in lieu of property taxes. If approved, the city would initially receive $200 per dwelling unit constructed. The fee would increase 3.5 percent per year. After 17 years, the fee would increase to an amount equal to the then-current tax rate.

The land at 150 Mays Crossing Drive is currently a parking lot. Council members and staff on Jan. 21 stated a desire to redevelop that site into a project similar to the one proposed.

“It’s a site that we haven’t had any development on since I’ve been here,” Mayor Craig Morgan said. “This is an area of town that we’re really trying to redevelop.”

By seeking a property tax exemption, the proposal is different from all other income-restricted projects that Round Rock City Council has recently approved.

“The current council direction has been to require developers to sign a development agreement stating they will not seek any property tax exemptions,” said Weisman.

Round Rock City Council did not take action on the proposal January 23, instead waiting until February 13 at the request of Rigney.

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