About Us

Leslie and Jeff Brown have been the on-site owner operators since July of 1989. Our goal is to serve students seeking a low density, well kept community, walk/bike to campus that is a great value, with excellent service. Our resident profile is typically upper division, graduate, couple, with some state & city employee's desiring quality housing, at reasonable prices, located in the heart of Central Austin.

Understanding the rental housing market near the UT campus:

In the 1970's, the governing groups of Austin made an active choice to NOT invest in roadways. In the mid 1980's, the governing groups of Austin adopted building code that was very low density (modeled after Boulder, Colorado), and almost NO multi-family dwellings were constructed for 20 years! These are facts, not speculations.

Why were such decisions made? In my opinion, the theory espoused by these past decision makers was, "If we don't build it, then they won't come". My best analogy is a "Field of Dreams" scenario, only in reverse. The absence of roads, along with restrictive building rules, were the previous decision makers attempting to keep Austin a small town.

Of course, "keeping Austin small" did not happen. Growth from the 1970's to present has been staggering. The net effect of these decisions are greatly congested roadways, and a great deal of new multi-family construction built at 2006 (and newer) construction costs.

Housing near the University of Texas at Austin has always been challenging. A seemingly perpetual shortage of housing has existed for nearly 100 years. My wife's paternal grandfather returned from World War 1, to seek a petroleum engineering degree. Big Joe's first year UT housing, along with other "doughboys" was in a TENT. The returning soldiers camped where the former Penick Allison Tennis Center existed, at 17th St. & Trinity. The site is now being occupied by the new Dell Medical School.

Beginning in the late 1950's & early 1960's, housing for students began to be constructed outside of "walk/bike" to school. Some of the first dwellings constructed were known as "married student housing", on Lake Austin Blvd.. Today, these are known as The University Apartments. Almost simultaneously, Riverside Drive began to be developed. In the 1970's, the Far West neighborhood experienced a building boom. Almost all of this construction, was a response to the shortage of housing near the UT campus. The UT shuttle bus system was started to serve as transportation for the students occupying all of these housing communities.

In 2004, the City of Austin adopted another ordinance to address the student housing shortage. The acronym stands for University Neighborhood Overlay. After tremendous population growth from 1990 to 2003. These building codes allowed for much taller buildings, with very dense populations. All of them with cost similar to their size. It was an attempt to build a great deal of housing in a small area, allowing the students to remain "walk/bike" to school. It has been successful in some ways, and has shortcomings in others.

This history begs two questions What is the demand for housing walk/bike to school? What is the supply of housing walk/bike to school?

The demand for housing is approximately 52,000 students (undergraduate & graduate, combined). Also, there are thousands of faculty, staff, and employees. At 12th & Rio Grande, Austin Community College has a large campus, with many students seeking housing. Finally, Austin has become an employment center, therefore there are many thousands of people migrating to Austin, desiring centrally located housing. The "secret" is out!

The supply of walk/bike housing, is approximately 32,000 beds, off-campus. On campus, I believe that there exists less than 8,000 beds. In the early 1970's, UT ceased requiring freshman to live on campus.

My conclusion, I postulate that a 12,000 bed shortage of housing exists for JUST students, not to mention the people working for the University, the State, the City, Austin Community College, other local universities, and working people seeking domiciles in Central Austin.

Meanwhile, all of this new construction was executed at 2006, or later, build costs. The choices of our past are coming back to haunt us. Overcrowded roadways, and a lack of "aging" housing from 1985 to 2005, make Central Austin housing costs expensive. Affordable housing in Central Austin is like "hunting Unicorns".

Another problematic aspect of this complex history, is the composition of housing constructed. This problem is not unique to UT Austin. Any large university encapsulated by a large urban population has similar issues. Due to project cost, the traditional "student housing supply chain" has been disrupted.

In the past, on/off campus dorms for freshman/foreign students/transfers roughly provided the first 20% of the supply. The next segment of supply, roughly 50%, was "shared living", two bedrooms & older homes occupied by students "living with their friends". At first, living with friends can be fun. However, as time marches on, most students desire their own space. The approximate remaining 30% of the traditional student housing supply chain was small one bedrooms, and efficiency/studio dwellings. The student has arrived at a time where they are firmly pursuing their degree plans, social needs subside, graduate school may be on the horizon, and household formation sometimes begins.

In today's paradigm, the overwhelming majority of new housing is 3 & 4 bedroom, rented "by the bedroom". The student is rarely offered a "solo domicile" due to cost. Building one bedroom (and/or efficiency) dwellings is not economically feasible, due to those project costs.

This where W. 24th St. becomes very important to many older undergraduate students, most graduate students, and just about all student couples. We have 72 one bedroom domiciles, and 8 two bedroom domiciles. We deter students from "over population". Year over year, we maintain less than 100 residents. Instead of the 176 possible residents, if every bedroom were double occupied, or more.

Our goal has always been to be the best value equation, not the cheapest deal. Low density, cost effective, with timely maintenance provides a stable environment for our student residents to pursue their academic and collegiate interests.

Thank You for the opportunity to serve your housing needs.

Jeffrey C. Brown
W. 24th St. Properties, Inc. / J & L Brown, Inc.
President, since 1989
University of Texas Class of 1982, Economics