KNOXVILLE, TN (May 11, 2022) – Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC) officially cut the ribbon on May 11 on the first phase of the mixed-income housing at First Creek at Austin. First Creek at Austin (formerly KCDC Austin Homes subsidized housing) is the city’s first mixed-income, affordable housing community. Business, community leaders, stakeholders and residents attended the ceremony.
“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.”
The City of Knoxville has invested a total of $14.1 million in site infrastructure support, including utilities, sidewalks and new roads.
The first phase of First Creek at Austin has 105 total units – 57 in one multifamily building and 48 spread across eight smaller townhome-style buildings. Amenities include upscale finishes, a 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 residential gardens. A greenway is also planned to promote connectivity among residents.
“First Creek at Austin is a remarkable affordable housing development, creating a diverse neighborhood close to downtown jobs and amenities,” said Ben Bentley, KCDC Executive Director and CEO. “It also offers a unique opportunity to develop a vibrant, urban community connected to its surroundings through improved streets and sidewalks.”
First Creek at Austin replaced the Austin Homes projects, established in 1941 on nearly 23 acres of a small portion of what was formerly the Black community of The Bottoms.
The redevelopment plan was made after months of dialogue with Austin Homes 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.
The occupants of the Austin Homes projects were given relocation choices to other KCDC properties, which included the revitalized Five Points community and the renovated The Vista at Summit Hill which are nearby and in the same school district. Former residents were also given the right to return to the site upon the opening of First Creek at Austin, if they choose to do so. Some have returned and have already moved into the new First Creek at Austin units.
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 the 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 allowed 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 the federal income tax liability 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 the general contractor; Partners Development is the owner representative; and Pinnacle Financial Partners is the equity partner and mortgage lender.
Phase 3 is expected to open in 2024 and 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. Partners Development is the owner representative and the funder is yet to be determined. For property and leasing information about First Creek at Austin, visit firstcreekliving.com.
About Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation
Since 1936, KCDC has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Knoxville. KCDC’s mission is to improve and transform neighborhoods and communities by providing high-quality affordable housing, advancing development initiatives and fostering self-sufficiency. For more information, call 865-403-1100 or visit kcdc.org.
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