Developers Fret as Austin Considers Density Bonus Program

Seeking to standardize what is considered an ad hoc and inconsistent approach to allowing extra density in downtown developments, Austin's city council will consider a new bonus program later this month.

As Sarah Coppola reports, "The new rules would force developers of downtown high-rises to include some affordable housing, or pay into a fund the city uses to build affordable housing elsewhere. They would then have to choose from a menu of other benefits to provide for the extra square footage they’ve received, such as sustainable features or space for a day care center."

"It is called a bonus program — do some public good, earn 'bonus' space for your project — but some downtown developers and advocacy groups worry it could function as a penalty that deters downtown’s growth."

"Developer Perry Lorenz said building tall towers comes with far greater costs and risks than building smaller buildings, including more expensive materials, complex designs and bigger insurance premiums," says Coppola. "So adding fees and rules on top of that could discourage the tall, densely packed projects that city leaders have said they want downtown, he said."

Full Story: Austin might seek more from developers of downtown high-rises

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