RBJ Center in Texas Begins Renovation, Redevelopment


The existing 16-story tower will be revamped and a new five-story building will be added. Upon completion, the property will have more than 500 apartments for seniors.

Rebekah Baines Johnson Center, a 16-story residential tower located at 21 Waller St. in Austin, Texas, is currently undergoing renovations and will be expanded through the addition of a five-story building with 279 affordable apartments for seniors. Behind the project are local developers DMA Development, Momark Development and Southwest Strategies Group.

Currently, the property has 245 units for seniors at affordable rents. Most of the residents, whose average age is 72, have incomes of less than $13,000 annually. The new building will wrap around the existing tower and will take about two years to build. Among the amenities announced at the property are a fitness center and a theater. In addition, two phases of market-rate residential, 50,000 square feet of retail space and a public park, will complete the master plan. Upon completion, the project will also include a 412-space parking garage.

Keeping the legacy alive

The nonprofit Austin Geriatric Center founded the RBJ Center during the Lyndon Johnson presidency in 1972, naming it after the former President’s mother. On the 17.8 acres it occupies, there used to be a fish hatchery. President Johnson’s concept for the location was ahead of its time in 1969, when it broke ground—to create a continuum of housing and healthcare for older people and to include independent apartment units and nursing beds.

The infrastructure part of the project is estimated to take approximately six to seven months and the construction on the new senior housing property is scheduled to begin in late 2018.

Images courtesy of DMA Development

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