A combination of rapid population growth and outdated, inflexible zoning has left Austin with an extreme housing shortage — notable even in a country that has a persistent affordable housing problem that often spikes to crisis level in many cities.

A rather huge South Austin development is among notable projects in the works that could help ease the burden. Austin-based multifamily development, construction and investment firm OHT Partners is building two new apartment complexes on a 37-acre site near South First Street.

OHT, which recently changed its name from Oden Hughes, just broke ground on Lenox Woods, located at 10801 Wayne Riddell Loop on the large tract of land located near the intersection of  South First Street FM 626. The multifamily complex will have a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments, with a total of 402 units. Planned community amenities include two pools, pickleball courts, a work studio, a fitness center, electric vehicle charging stations and a dog park. Lenox Woods scheduled to open in 2023. 

OHT will build a second, so-far unnamed, 348-unit apartment complex nearby in 2024. The two planned communities will have a combined 7.5 acres of heavily shaded parkland and a mile-long trail around the property. They’ll be near South Park Meadows and recent redevelopments in former light industrial sites, including the Yard and the St. Elmo Public Market.

“South Austin has experienced a tremendous amount of multifamily development in the last decade because it’s one of the most affordable parts of the city,” said OHT's Ben Browder in a press release. Estimated rent rates for the apartments were not included in the release.

OHT will build and develop both projects. Meeks and Partners is the architect on the projects. Engineers are WGI, MEP Delta Design and CPH Engineering. The landscape architect is Blu Fish Collaborative, and Wayfinder Real Estate is the interior designer. Steve Oden, Craig Hughes and Eric Taylor are OHT's principals.