IO at Tech Ridge Apartments abandoned for nearly a year amid lawsuit

IO at Tech Ridge Apartments (KXAN Photo/Juan Salinas)
IO at Tech Ridge Apartments (KXAN Photo/Juan Salinas)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a city where there is a need for more apartment complexes, at a lot in the Tech Ridge area of north Austin, a 351-unit apartment complex sits unfinished. An apartment complex abandoned mid-construction with no concrete answer as to why.

Construction on the IO at Tech Ridge Apartments located at 12600 McAllen Pass started a couple of years ago, but work on the property halted nearly a year ago. It’s sat vacant, seemingly abandoned ever since.

Many building frames have been constructed but no buildings on the lot have been completed. A fence surrounds the lot. Several viewers reached out to KXAN wondering what’s going on with the property, calling it an eyesore.

“This is purported to be luxury of some sort but it certainly doesn’t look like it right now,” Alan Rivaldo, who lives in the area told KXAN. He’s among many wondering what went wrong here. “Some have windows on them and some just are open to the elements.”

Work came to a standstill last July when the property owner, IO at Tech Ridge, terminated the contract and escorted workers off the site. In a lawsuit, the owner claimed the general contractor, ICI Construction, broke contract and failed to complete the project in a timely manner.

Josh Augustine was a subcontractor on the project.

“We have not seen a dime out of this deal. My partner and myself, we started this company with all of our life savings,” he said of Copper Link Construction, a company he had to shut down after he says the property owner failed to pay for $68,000 worth of work. “That amount of money for this small of a company cash flow-wise sets you back so far that you just cannot catch up.”

The attorney for ICI Construction, Tim Ross, says necessary details weren’t provided to move forward on schedule. An answer, counterclaim and third party petition, says IO at Tech Ridge:

  • failed to provide drawings and specifications sufficient to construct the project without delays
  • failed to provide timely answers to ICI’s requests for information which substantially delayed ICI
  • improperly rejected ICI’s requests for change orders seeking time extensions and increases in the contract price
  • wrongfully terminated ICI from the project

Ross says the property owner now owes close to $6 million, a large portion of which is owed to subcontractors. People like Augustine.

“For someone to just say we’re not going to pay you, you know, where is the justice in that? Where is it?” Augustine said.

People who live in the area also questioned the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s connection to the project. Patricia Campbell, with HUD, told KXAN the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured the loan for approximately $33 million. She said no rental assistance is attached to this property.

Campbell said it’s her understanding that “this is quite rare” in terms of there being a question about whether a project HUD is connected to will be completed. Campbell told KXAN no taxpayer funding is in danger of being lost if the project folds, saying the financial responsibility is on the lender.

The future of the property is still unclear at this time.

KXAN reached out to property owner’s attorney several times over the course of a few days but have yet to hear back. Ross says he’s in the process of getting a dozen subcontractors who were never paid together to stand up for their work in court.

 

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