PSWVillaCt1072An Austin-based developer’s plan to build 32 new homes in the Kings Highway Conservation District met favorably with neighbors Thursday night.

PSW Real Estate wants to build two-story homes with detached garages on 2,500-square-foot lots at Mary Cliff and Kings Highway. The tract is the former site of apartments, where now-defunct developer Incap had won zoning approval for townhomes before losing that property and three others in Oak Cliff to foreclosure in 2010.

PSW managing member Ryan Diepenbrock explained the company’s plans to about 30 Kings Highway neighbors in a meeting with City Councilman Scott Griggs at Methodist hospital. After hearing the plan, everyone indicated they thought it sounded like a good one.

The company is asking for a zoning change from multifamily to single family, a switch from the way a developer typically would go, Griggs noted. The current zoning allows for three-story structures and about twice the density, at about 60 units.

Homes on Mary Cliff, Kings Highway and Kyle would face the street and have front porches. A private drive off Mary Cliff, near the Twelve Hills Nature Center, would be the only entrance and exit to the homes’ detached garages. Homes on Mary Cliff would have driveways, set back from the street 35 feet, with grasscrete paving. The developer would not be required to provide guest parking under single-family zoning.

PSW’s website states the company takes “a holistic approach to the design of our communities” and builds with environmentally conscious elements, including solar panels and foam insulation. The company started building homes in South Austin around 2008, and since then, has sold out five communities, according to its website.

The Kings Highway homes would be built in the same architectural style and in one of the three allowed under conservation district rules, probably craftsman, Diepenbrock says. And they will sell between $300,000 and $400,000.

“We started out in the South Congress neighborhood in Austin,” he says. “We’ve been looking around Dallas the last two years, and everyone has told us the Bishop Arts District is the most similar neighborhood to South Congress.”

The company also owns vacant land at Cedar Hill and Fifth, across the street from the Kidd Springs Park playground, as well as two other properties north of the Trinity.

Once the company gains zoning approval, the plan is to build a model home and as many as five prospective homes. After that, homes would be built based on sales. In some Austin neighborhoods, the company has built entire developments prospectively after brisk sales initially, Diepenbrock says.

That might not be the case in our neighborhood, though.

“The market has not been quite as robust as Austin this year,” he says.