New Renderings Of Capital Studios

New Renderings Of Capital Studios

Foundation Communities’ proposed downtown Austin affordable housing development will no longer be referred to as Capitol Terrace, but rather Capital Studios.  Yes, the spelling is correct.

DAB has obtained draft drawings of the development at 11th & Trinity.  These are intended to show massing and different uses within the building.  There might be small changes to the final design – the colors are for clarity and do not represent how the skin of the building will look.

About Jude Galligan

Jude Galligan, REALTOR, Principal of TOWERS Realty and publisher of Downtown Austin Blog (aka. "DAB"), spends his time matching remarkable people with remarkable properties in Austin’s urban core. A resident owner in downtown Austin, Jude has served on the Board of the Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) and the City of Austin Downtown Commission. Contact Jude.


  1. Notinmybackyard says

    Putting a bunch of poor people in one place is never a good idea. I used to live in NYC. Project apartments intended for the working class eventually turned into drug infested slums and destroyed neighborhoods. Although downtown Austin may not have always been luxurious, that’s the situation now and projects like this will ruin what downtown is becoming. I’m sorry but this is a capitalist country and poor people don’t DESERVE to live next to people paying 4 to 5 times their rent. I’ve worked hard to get what I have in life and if I didn’t make much money (which I have in the course of my life) I wouldn’t expect to live downtown. I hope this trend won’t continue. If it does, Austin will just become another Dallas or Houston.

  2. downtownliving, you’re an idiot. This building is helping keeping Austin diverse ! It’s giving people an equal opportunity to share downtown. THIS is true Austin living. Go away, you gnat.

  3. WOW !!!!! There are several posters on here who personify the very reason Austin is losing “Austin”. If you were in Austin in the 70’s or 80’s, you would have FLED in fear of the dynamically diverse culture what made Austin. 10 years ago, with the exception of 6th street, you didn’t run around downtown without a police escort and you certainly NEVER went to the east side of 35 unless you were looking to get into trouble. People DID NOT clammer to live downtown 10 years ago. The downtown culture was planned and NEVER in the planning was there a mention of creating a cluture for the “well-to-do” only. Those of you who disparage the diversification of downtown would do well and selling your investment and try moving to Manhattan, but then again, you’d be in “government housing” there. You are NOT doing Austin any favors by staying here.

  4. East Austin is only a couple blocks away. This is PRIME real estate. Why does it have to be right there? A day pass on the Metro Rail costs $2.00 (reduced to $1.00 for some people). Put it somewhere next to that. Lets make use of the metro rail!!! This idea is absolutely illogical.

    • Lance Hunter says

      If you want the real estate to stay prime two, three, or more decades from now, it’s a much smarter move to put this building downtown rather than another building aiming at the exact same market as every other condo and apartment currently in 78701.

      Also, it should be noted that the real estate a couple of blocks over in East Austin is also pretty prime, and will only continue to become more prime as the development there continues. (Oh yea, and as people drop the old attitudes about East Austin being the scary place where we keep our poor people.)

      • A bit perplexed on why you would think I have ” the old attitudes about East Austin being the scary place where we keep our poor people.” I personally don’t think the east side is “scary” in any way at all. Quite frequently I go there. I love the east side. You are correct that the east side is also considered prime, but it has yet to be developed as 78701 has. I have no doubt we will see some really interesting developments take place on the east side in time. I think something like this would be wonderful for that area.

        From one of your previous posts.

        “Also, while I was living in that affordable housing I saw the way that it helped change the neighborhood around it. When I first moved in, a homeless guy actually tried knocking on my door one Saturday night to ask me for change, and there was a lot of panhandling and vagrancy around the bus stop in front of the building. Having a bunch of working people in the complex helped change the flavor of the entire neighborhood.”

        So whats wrong with placing Capital Studios on the East Side?

        I think its also important for me to also note that I am a big supporter affordable housing. But I believe in well planned out affordable housing development. This is not.

        Lets make use of the city services that are offered. Somewhere right next to the Metro Rail. The city has paid out quite a few bucks for the system. Its great form of transpiration and affordable.

        • Lance Hunter says

          You want Foundation Communities to build a project in East Austin, that would take advantage of the Metro Rail? They already did that. It’s M Station ( )

          If they wanted to build another spot in East Austin close to a Metro Rail station they would be to put it near the the Plaza Saltillo stop at 4th and Comal (an area that has a lot more new development going on than the 11th and Trinity area does). The 11th and Trinity location is a lot more convenient for state employees, not to mention the benefits of more income diversity downtown. (East Austin has a really good blend of income diversity right now, thanks in part to the gentrification the ’00s, that managed to greatly improve many of the neighborhoods without homogenizing them.)

  5. John Choate says

    There was already interest by developers for this lot to build condos/apartments atop retail with a great design. To say nothing else could be done with this block is very misleading. A lot of the units in this proposal are tied into Caritas. History has shown, over and over again, that when you put people together that ask for handouts in a drab prison-like setting it is horrible for a neighborhood. This is why public housing has been a disaster in our country and why it is crazy that we would repeat the same mistake on a valuable downtown block, This project, along with the Salvation Army and Caritas, will end up costing our community millions in lost property taxes.

    The best case senario would be for Foundation Communities to partner with a private developer to subsidize no more than 20% of the units in better designed and denser development. The stigma in living in a drab “public housing” building would lesson when blended with a private development and the negative impact on this section of downtown would be almost non-existent.

    • Lance Hunter says

      Okay, where are you getting that this is going to be a drab, prison-like building. The rendering looks pretty nice, and nothing about the general shape of the place makes it look that different than some of the nicer low-rise condo buildings that are up on the East side. (Slap a few brightly-colored panels on it and it could almost pass for the East Village building.)

      Every time this is gets brought up on this blog you keep using the term “public housing”. This isn’t public housing. This isn’t section 8. You keep using that term to try to paint this building as some kind of ghetto or slum. That’s a ridiculously inaccurate caricature of what affordable housing units of this type are really like.

      Only 20% of the units are going to be for people who are getting “hand outs”. 80% of the building population will to be working people. Since the benefits of having that 80% has already been gone over in detail in these comments, I’ll go ahead and tackle the other 20%, the small 1/5th of the building that seems to account for most of the objection to this place.

      Similar housing stability programs (where a handful of people who are unable to hold on to a home are given a place of their own to live in a building or complex that has them surrounded by working people) have been tremendously effective at moving people out of homelessness. The stability of a place to live helps them get a job, hold on to that job, and eventually puts them in a situation where they no longer need the living assistance. I don’t have the statistic for the success rate for this particular kind of assistance (which, I should repeat, will only be 27 people, just 20% of the total residents in this building), but I remember that it’s absurdly high. (Okay, googled around and info about Denver’s similar program, which operates on a much bigger scale with buildings that are split 50/50 between homelessness assistance and working people. Their success rate is 90-95%. See )

      Yea, Salvation Army, Carnitas, & ARCH sound scary to some people, and the part of downtown they occupy certainly has issues (though the area is significantly better now than it was before the ARCH opened in 2004, having worked at bars on Red River around 2000 I can attest to that). Try to understand that this building is something very different than those things (even if they will help 27 individuals who have previously been helped by those other groups).

      Hell, if you still can’t shake the association that anyone who would live in such a building would be a detriment to downtown, why not walk by the M Station development off MLK and check out what that neighborhood is like.

      • John Choate says

        100% of the people living in this project will be receiving handouts. If you are paying $500 or under for a brand new apartment downtown with all bills paid you are getting a handout. It’s subsidized housing which is exactly what “public housing” is.

        And design wise the M Station is a cheaply designed suburban apartment complex built in the central city. Not exactly something anyone should be proud of.

  6. Milad Taghehchian says

    @downtownliving 1) you obviously have not been in Austin long if you think a. Austin is for the well-to-do or b. downtown Austin is a historically well-to-do neighborhood. 2) it is because of attitudes like yours, that what you love about Austin may not exist in 10 years. 3) gentrification without access to affordable living for those who are beig pushed out will lead to anger, resentment, and increased crime. (ie. ). If you want what’s best for downtown austin sell your condo at the Austonian to someone brighter than yourself.

    • My oh my what harsh language! I’m not criticizing anyone personally and its an opinion of my own so take it but don’t have to be on the offensive about it. This is a discussion not everyone is going to agree to agree.
      Thoughts are still downtown Austin for decades is known for working class professionals who can AFFORD to live there. Unlike other cities across the nation Austin prides itself on the luxury aspect of its very unique downtown. To place this project where its designated in my opinion is out of touch.

      • Austin does not pride itself on “luxury-living” in downtown! That’s an illusion made up by the residents of the Austonian/360 condos in order to reinforce their decision to buy there. There are HARDLY ANY high class, high culture amenities downtown! You have food trailer parks, affordable coffee shops, bike shops, government buildings, tons of sweet neighborhood bars & dives, etc. Outside of your building’s front door, where’s the luxury?!

  7. Hopefully the development will provide its residents with affordable living, which encompasses not just housing, but transportation and utilities.

  8. This Capital studios idea is just horrific. This corner doesn’t belong here at this intersection. Keep Austin downtown for the people who can afford to live there…it’s about location, lifestyle and keeping Austin’s downtown safe. This project is absolutely on the wrong part of town and can go find another home someplace else in Austin.

    • Zeke Martinez says

      Just because someone can’t afford to live in the Austonian does not make them a threat to current downtown residents. The development is mainly intended for state employees working in the capitol complex. God forbid an hourly employee from being able to move to downtown Austin!

      • I tend to agree with this sentiment. I mean, it’s not as if these are going to be “luxury” units, either. And I was told you had to meet some pretty strict criteria in order to be accepted. As someone who like to support the “walkable” lifestyle, I like the concept of having some spaces in a dense urban environment where the folks that work in some of the lower income jobs downtown can also afford to live downtown. Means they can walk to their job, and not take up parking spots or add to the traffic congestion. I think having a bit of income diversity downtown is probably not a terrible thing.

      • Well I didn’t intend to say this project is a threat to current downtown residents…ok. My main purpose is why now why here? Understand there are state employees near the Capitol, however, there are state employees everywhere else too in Austin! Downtown Austin is unique and it’s always been for the well to do..just needs to stay that way.

        • Zeke Martinez says

          You’re a clown. “Always been for the well to do”? Hilarious! You couldn’t have walked down Rainey St. at night 5 years ago without getting robbed. Hourly paid employees: the scourge of the downtown “lifestyle”, lock your doors and windows!!!

        • Lance Hunter says

          I agree with Zeke. The current idea of downtown being a luxury living location really began with the completion of the Nokonah building in 2002. (With only a few precursors before that, like the Brown Building’s conversion in 1997.) If you walked around Austin in 1995 telling people that downtown has “always been for the well to do” people would laugh in your face (before a bum peed on your shoes).

    • My understanding was that not a whole heck of a lot else could be done with the lot, due to Capitol View Corriders, parking restrictions, and the like. No unsubsidized developer could make the numbers work to do much else….

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