KCDC to share updates to Austin Homes master plan at Jan. 27 open house

Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) invites the community to review updates to the master plan for the Austin Homes site at an open house Monday, Jan. 27, from 4:30-7 p.m., at Green Magnet Academy, 801 Lula Powell Drive in East Knoxville.

Attendees can get an overview of the updated master plan and the first phases of development at presentations scheduled for 4:30 and 5:45 p.m.

The Austin Homes master plan is based on months of dialogue with residents, stakeholders and community members in interviews and public meetings. Topics discussed have included options for overall site usage, street layouts, residential building types and use of open spaces, along with research and analyses regarding Knoxville’s housing and retail markets. The Chicago team of Gensler, a global architecture firm based in San Francisco, and Knoxville-based Johnson Architecture are KCDC’s design partners.

“Austin Homes residents, stakeholders and other community members have provided valuable feedback during this master planning process,” KCDC Executive Director and CEO Ben Bentley said. “Due to its proximity to downtown Knoxville, Austin Homes is a unique opportunity for community and residential revitalization.”

Established in 1941, Austin Homes is a nearly 23-acre site located just east of downtown. KCDC will replace the site’s existing affordable housing units and add a mix of housing choices for families and individuals of varied income levels and other appropriate non-residential uses to create a vibrant urban community.

The affordable housing units are estimated to include:

  • 129 subsidized units replacing the units on-site at the time of redevelopment
  • 71 or more Low Income Housing Tax Credit units, available to families earning 50% of Area Median Income (AMI)
  • 110 units available to families earning up to 80% of AMI
  • 110 units available to families earning up to 100% of AMI

Austin Homes residents have been provided relocation choices at other KCDC properties, including the revitalized Five Points community and the recently renovated The Vista at Summit Hill, which are both nearby and in the same school district. These residents will have the right to return to the Austin Homes site when the first phases of revitalization are complete. KCDC anticipates breaking ground on the first phases later this year.

Construction will be funded primarily through low-income housing tax credits valued at $13 million from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. 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. The credits allow KCDC to raise private equity for development.

In December, Knoxville City Council approved $4.25 million in funding for infrastructure improvements supporting the master plan.