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Aspen Heights Becomes First To Navigate New Density Program

Aspen Heights topped out Rise – 8th and Nueces, its first non-student housing project and the first development to navigate Austin’s Downtown Density Budget Program. The tower was initially proposed as a 12-story, 72-unit condominium complex, but the developer agreed to pay $868,400, or $10 for each additional SF, to the City of Austin’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund to expand by 86k SF and eight floors.

Aspen Heights CEO Greg Henry believes the extra expense was worth it, stating the fund “is an important tool to supply Austin with the kind of density it needs to increase the city’s housing options, as well as give the city funding to provide affordable housing.” Jim Robertson, manager of the Urban Design Division in the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, says the process took some feeling out, but he believes the changes Aspen Heights made to Rise made it a better project.

Aspen Heights will complete the transaction this fall, making the payment and receiving its certificate of occupancy. In addition to the enhancements, including sidewalk amenities and new ground-level design with live/work spaces, the project will feature 198 apartments, a rooftop edge pool deck and lounge, a rooftop dog park and a top-floor fitness center. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.