New housing complex to hit West Campus by 2013

Jillian Bliss

A privately owned student-housing firm is working on a plan to bring another high-rise dormitory to West Campus.

The housing firm, American Campus Communities, has scheduled completion of the Callaway House at Austin for fall 2013. The 15-story building will be located on the site of two parking lots between 22nd and 21st streets currently owned by University Baptist Church. During a University Area Partners neighborhood association meeting on Aug. 23, representatives of American Campus Communities requested support from the West Campus community for plans to turn an alley way into a tunnel, allowing vehicles to continue through a 14-foot underpass bridged by living space.

Members of the West Campus neighborhood association voted to support the design after hearing from planners, developers and property managers involved in the proposed project.

Austin real estate lawyer Steve Drenner said developers have filed an application with the city that would give University Baptist entitlement to the alley and allow it to remain open to drivers. The application is currently under review by city staff, and city council members must approve the final proposal before construction can begin. Drenner and others involved in the project believe the proposal will reach city council by the end of the fall semester.

The residence hall is designed mainly for freshmen, and the plans provide for traditional student-housing amenities including a dining hall and a parking garage said Jack Tisdale, a senior partner at STG Design — an Austin firm hired to work on the building. The first two floors of the parking garage will be maintained by University Baptist Church for use as public parking spaces, and higher levels will be reserved for student vehicles.

“We’re really treating this space more like an arrival area at a nice hotel,” Tisdale said. “It is really our front door.”

Printed on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 as: University church offers land for college housing