Aug 17, 2013

Residents Begin Moving into The Legacy Apartments

By Mary Lee Foundation

The Legacy is a new 40 apartment S.M.A.R.T. Housing development located just west of South Lamar Boulevard developed by Mary Lee Community and the Mary Lee Foundation. The Legacy would have never happened without the organizations and individuals that provided funding.

  1. The Austin Housing Finance Corporation provided a total of $2,001,710. All of these funds were HOME funds with significant requirements for Environmental Release, Davis Bacon reporting on prevailing wage compliance on a weekly basis, and other reports linked to federal funding.
  2. The Federal Home Bank of Dallas and our sponsor Frost Bank provided a grant of $360,000 so that Mary Lee Community could serve some individuals and families who might be homeless or are at risk of homelessness. Since more than half of the apartments at The Legacy serve people who at 30% Median Family rents for Austin, and some people have less than $700 a month in income, the Federal Home Loan Bank grant was critical to achieving the goal of serving very low income people for at least 99 years at a site that is not only west of IH 35, but west of Lamar Boulevard.
  3. Frost Bank did not just sponsor the Federal Home Loan Bank application, but also loaned an additional $698,000 so The Legacy could be built. Speaking on behalf of Frost Bank is.
  4. Constructive Ventures and the Zilker Neighborhood Association negotiated a potential affordable housing funding agreement as part of the BartonPlace zoning case on Barton Springs Road a few years ago. Larry Warshaw, Perry Lorenz and their partners allowed Mary Lee Community to apply for a $500,000 grant for affordable housing within a 5 mile radius of BartonPlace. With support of the Zilker Neighborhood Association, Constructive Ventures awarded the grant and made funds available sooner than their agreement with the Zilker Neighborhood Association required. Thanks to Larry, Perry, their partners and our neighbors in the Zilker Neighborhood Association for their support for The Legacy grant.
  5. Mezzanine Fund and People Fund made it possible for us to acquire the property when it was available at a price Mary Lee Foundation could afford in 2010.
  6. Contributions from private donors allowed Mary Lee Community to fill the final gap at The Legacy; this budget gap totaled $164,500.

The design team and contractors had significant challenges besides changing construction costs. The Legacy involved the relocation of existing metal warehouses that were 40 years old, and Habitat for Humanity in Caldwell County made this possible without one load of construction waste going to the landfill.

Haddon and Cowan Architects Collaborative created the design team that enabled The Legacy to proceed through the 6 months of site plan approval, 6 months and 2 weeks of building plan approval, the Green Building process for 4 stars, and 37 change orders.

The Legacy is only the second apartment development in Texas (The Willows was the first) to have all apartments meet the new Type A accessibility standards of the International Building Code. Every fire alarm is designed to be used by people with hearing disabilities. All the doors have signage in raised letters and Braille. All of the first floor bathrooms have roll-in showers when none are required by code, and blocking is installed for grab bar installation in the combination tub showers on the upper stories.

EBCO General Contractor, Ltd. was the general contractor for The Legacy as they were for The Willows. Their management of construction activity and costs amidst lots of limestone, lots of change orders, and high winds meant that the people who wanted to live at The Legacy were able to move in 8 months and 2 weeks after the bulldozers started to excavate for the foundation.

The team from Texas Solar Power Company who designed and installed solar photovoltaic panels on the roof to reduce demand from Austin Energy and reduce operating expenses just as they did at The Willows.

Tenants at The Legacy have panoramic views of downtown and the UT Tower.

Finally, and unexpectedly, the incredible team at the City of Austin Public Works Department who filled in the sidewalk gaps in the last few weeks so anyone who needs to travel to the bus stops on South Lamar or the leasing office here in The Square have an accessible route to do so without walking or travelling in the street.

Rents at The Legacy are range from $350/month for efficiencies to $750/month for two bedroom apartments.

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