Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) officially cut the ribbon May 11 on the first phase of First Creek at Austin, the city’s first mixed-income, affordable housing community. Business and community leaders, stakeholders and residents attended the ceremony.
Located just east of downtown, the first phase of First Creek at Austin offers 105 total units – 57 in one multifamily building and 48 spread across eight smaller townhome-style buildings. Amenities include upscale finishes, fitness center, resident lounge, pet spa, playground and Wi-Fi in common areas, among others. Additional plans for the site include a park, early childhood center, community space and resident gardens.
“First Creek at Austin is a remarkable affordable housing development, creating a diverse neighborhood close to downtown jobs and amenities,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “It also offers a unique opportunity to develop a vibrant, urban community connected to its surroundings through improved streets and sidewalks.”
The City of Knoxville has invested a total of $14.1 million in sitewide infrastructure support, including utilities, sidewalks and new roads.
“It has been incredible to watch this 23-acre site get new life,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “This mixed-income housing community exemplifies the city’s commitment to provide affordable housing to all Knoxvillians and will soon be home to hundreds of families. This is an exciting day in our city.”
First Creek at Austin is built on the site of the former Austin Homes, which was established in 1941 on nearly 23 acres just east of downtown. The redevelopment followed months of dialogue with residents, stakeholders and community members in interviews and public meetings and included options for overall site use, street layouts, residential building types and open spaces. A greenway also is planned to enhance connectivity.
At the point of redevelopment, former Austin Homes residents living at the site received relocation choices to other KCDC properties, including the revitalized Five Points community and the renovated The Vista at Summit Hill, which are both located nearby and in the same school district. These former residents also have the right to return to the site with the opening of First Creek at Austin, if they choose to do so.
For Phase 1, KCDC worked with Knoxville-based Johnson Architecture and general contractor J.A. Fielden; Partners Development serves as KCDC’s owner representative; and Pinnacle Financial Partners is equity partner and mortgage lender.
Construction funds came primarily through $13 million of low-income housing tax credits from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA), which allow KCDC to raise tax credit equity to fund development. Awarded through a competitive process, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is a credit against federal income tax liability each year for 10 years for owners and investors in low-income rental housing.
Phase 2, which is expected to open in stages beginning this summer, will provide 180 units. Architecture is provided by Johnson Architecture and Southeast Venture; Hardaway Construction is general contractor; Partners Development is owner representative; and Pinnacle Financial Partners is equity partner and mortgage lender.
Phase 3, which is expected to open in 2024, will include approximately 161 new housing units, including 50 supportive housing units for low-income seniors, age 62 and older, in an independent living setting and with access to supportive care such as housekeeping, meals, health-related services and transportation. Architecture is provided by Southeast Venture and Johnson Architecture; Jenkins & Stiles is general contractor; Partners Development is owner representative; and the funder will be determined.
For property and leasing information about First Creek at Austin, visit firstcreekliving.com.