West campus currently harbors seventeen construction projects

Meara Isenberg

For West Campus commuter Charlotte Doughty, a typical trip to class consists of walking, listening to an audiobook and avoiding the seemingly endless construction. There’s just one thing that does not usually cross her mind.

“I don’t know what’s (being built) in that area,” said Doughty, a journalism sophomore.

Doughty was referring to a construction lot at 2200 Nueces St., one of the 17 construction projects currently underway in West Campus. The projects include several student residential housing complexes, building improvements and even a hotel.

Jen Samp, the senior public information specialist, provided a map of properties to The Daily Texan, and said via email that the city did not initiate any of the projects currently underway, and all construction is due to outside developers.

The lot Doughty saw will become 22 West, one of the many new towering apartment complexes in the area. Although construction just started on the building, others such as Aspen Heights West Campus on Rio Grande St., are in the final stages of construction and will open next fall.

“We should be done with construction in July,” said Amanda Massey, Aspen Heights West Campus marketing associate. “There’s so many students and West Campus is really a (growing) market. That’s where everyone wants to live. It’s exciting that so many new properties are popping up.”

One block over, at 603 W. 22nd St., the Church of Scientology of Texas is renovating its parking lot. Cathy Norman, director of special affairs for the Church, said the Church is also modifying its main building by adding two floors, which should be complete at some point in the next two years. Norman said the Church will be located at a temporary location until construction finishes up.

“Developing in West Campus is an interesting proposition because space is so tight,” Norman said. “There are a lot of properties under renovation right now, just right there at 22nd and Nueces.”

Norman said these improvements are part of the University Neighborhood Overlay Plan , which allows buildings in West Campus to build taller and right to the street, and requires adjoining sidewalks to be improved and well lit.

“All these neighborhoods got together and made a plan, and they agreed it was a good idea to concentrate the density of West Campus,” Norman said. 

Kathleen Sebastian, director of communications at White Lodgings, said via email the company is building a Marriott hotel at 1901 San Antonio St., the first of its kind in Austin. Sebastian said workers recently broke ground on construction for the luxury hotel, and it is scheduled to open in fall 2019. 

Although the current construction does not inhibit her walk to class, Doughty said she still hopes some projects close to her apartment at 21 Pearl will wrap up soon.

“I get it. They are trying to build more apartment buildings and construction is necessary for that to happen, but it is rather annoying to be hearing it when I wake up in morning, or when I need to cross the street constantly,” Doughty said.