Crime-ridden Section 8 community sheds reputation

May 05, 2015

A crime-ridden Section 8 community in East Austin is shedding its reputation after a 15-month, $250,000 effort by new owners.

AUSTIN — An East Austin apartment complex that had a reputation for so much crime, taxis would not stop there, has undergone a transformation in the last 15 months thanks to a cooperative effort by its new owners and Austin police.

“I’ve been here nine years,” Susan Baker said, walking through what used to be Mason Manor Apartments, now Lupine Terrace Apartments. “This is home.”

She’s always kept faith in the troubled community. Now, she’s happy she did. But Baker has stories of a time, more challenging.

“When I got out of the hospital, I had to call a taxi to take me home. They had to let me out at the gate because they said they didn’t come here. It was too bad,” Baker said.

“It was plagued with crime,” said Lamarcus Wells with Austin Police. “Officers, when they’d respond to here, they’d have to respond with multiple officers. That’s how bad it was.”

The Section 8 community faced abatement. Working with APD, new owners Capital Realty Group stepped up to the challenge.

“First thing you have to start with is how it looks, certain security measures,” said Wells.

“[We installed] security gates with clickers for all the tenants so they can get in,” said Steven Goldman with Capital Realty.

New security cameras from First Choice Security and Investigations replace others that had been stolen.

“[There are] quite a few children at this property. It’s a family property,” said Goldman.

It’s not all about security, though. It also has to be about quality of life. Families will soon be able to enjoy a playground in the middle of the property.

In addition, cabinetry, flooring, counter tops, paint and fixtures have been upgraded in some units.

“This is a true success story,” said Wells.

Police still come to Lupine Terrace, but now it’s for a different reason. As for Susan Baker, she’s all smiles too.

“I had friends who wouldn’t come see me because I lived in Mason Manor. But they come now,” said Baker.

Lupine Terrace Apartments has 428 residents in 140 units. The project took about 15 months and cost more than $250,000.