Dallas apartment builder busy in Austin

A Dallas company has begun construction on a South Austin apartment project and secured a site for another development in North Austin.

Criterion Property Co. is developing the 330-unit Criterion at Onion Creek on 26 acres at Slaughter Lane and Interstate 35 in Austin. The community will feature a 4,300-square-foot community center with a swimming pool, fitness facility and business center. The company declined to provide investment figures on the project, which should be complete by mid-2008

Criterion also recently purchased a 24-acre tract at the intersection of Howard Lane and Dessau Road in the Tech Ridge area of North Austin. The company expects to begin construction on Criterion at Harris Ridge, which will feature as many as 400 units, later this year.

The two developments follow on the heels of Criterion's first in the Austin market, the recently completed 293-unit Windsor at Bee Cave community on State Highway 71, which is now being leased. The company formed in 2004 and has so far begun four developments in Texas and Massachusetts.

"Criterion is pleased to continue our expansion in the Austin and Texas markets with these transactions, and we are actively seeking other developments in the major markets in Texas," says Criterion President Pretlow Riddick.

Wachovia Bank N.A. of Dallas provided debt financing for the Onion Creek project and the North Austin tract.

Criterion says its investment plans center on the cities surrounding Boston, Philadelphia, the New York metro area, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Atlanta and Austin. The company will try to identify multifamily development opportunities in "smart growth" areas targeted for mixed-use projects.