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Zilker condo project peeves area residents

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New development called the Zilker Park Lofts will bring 200 condos to the south shores of Lady Bird Lake.

The development has made waves at City Hall and at least one Parks and Recreation Board member said the thought of it has him sick.

Hill Abell says it makes him sick to see plans for Zilker Park Lofts. Abell is a long-time Zilker neighborhood homeowner. He knew something was planned for the lot near Robert E. Lee and Barton Springs Roads, but he didn’t expect the building to come so close to the property line.

"I am absolutely appalled that anyone in this city government would approve a building 60 feet high, 50 feet away from the hike and bike trail," Abell said.

The agreement was struck back in 2007, before Abell was on the Parks and Recreation Board and most of the current Austin City Council took office.

As part of the agreement, the developer would maintain the park area, which would be designated by the city as a "no-build area." It would also have to build different park amenities valued at about $250,000.

Attorney Nikelle Meade represents the developer Brown McCarroll.

"We think that it was good deal for the city, good deal for the community. We think the result will be a beautiful project," Meade said. "There was a lot of discussion about the creek, a lot of discussion about the trail, a lot of discussion about the neighborhood."

But Abell said it’s just not right.

"[It’s] chump change considering what that property will cost, what you will have to pay to live in that property. It just is absolutely wrong," Abell said.

Meade says neighbors gave the project a green light after addressing concerns. She says the developer will keep the city informed as the project moves forward.

While Abell knows there is little he can do to fight the project, he has vowed to make sure similar development is not allowed in the future.

Meade says she plans to also update the full Parks and Recreation Board as groundbreaking nears. The condos could be ready for move in by early 2014.

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