New Breed of Social Entrepreneur: Walter Moreau Brings Capital Studios to Downtown Austin

walterDowntown Austin CEOs have a unique perspective regarding traffic concerns and how they impact local businesses.  Walter Moreau is Executive Director of Foundation Communities, a provider of affordable rental housing for over 2,000 families in Austin.  This spring Foundation Communities will break ground on Capital Studios, the first new affordable housing development in downtown Austin in 45 years, which will be home for 135 residents.

Q: How do you see transportation impacting and/or challenging your non-profit organization in downtown Austin?

We are super excited about being downtown in a transit-rich location. We expect that most of our residents will be able to walk to work downtown. Very few residents will have cars, so we didn’t have to dig into the bedrock to build lots of parking. That was a major contributing factor in making the 11thand Trinity site feasible. We have a bus stop in front of the property that connects to four grocery stores. We also plan to have a bike share kiosk and Car2Go parking next to Capital Studios.

Affordability is more than low rent – it encompasses low utility bills and diverse, inexpensive transportation options, too. All three components determine if your home is affordable.

Q: Do many of your employees use options like bicycling, transit, carpooling, etc.?

We’ve got a few regular bike and bus commuters and have allowed some folks to work at home when feasible. Some employees still drive a long commute, or need their car to get around each day to our fourteen properties in Austin. Many have families and need their cars to drop their kids off at school, daycare and activities.

One of the things we learned through our sustainability education efforts is that many of our residents are getting around without cars. Those with cars drive them as infrequently as they can because driving is expensive. That highlights how important it is to consider transit connectivity in all of our housing development efforts.

Q: What would you like to see done to help with transportation into and around downtown?

We’re looking forward to having a bike share program. It will certainly help people avoid trips, even if they are still driving cars. And it can increase bus and rail use, helping people avoid transfers and long walks.

We’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a number of Austin’s “New Breed of Entrepreneurs,” check out what others in this series had to say about downtown mobility here.

Comments are closed.