Oracle's plan comes with hidden cost to some residents

AUSTIN -- Oracle's recent acquisition of a 27-acre campus overlooking Lady Bird Lake is coming at a huge cost to some low-income Austinities.

The lot along South Lakeshore Boulevard that is now empty used to be the Lakeview Apartments; a place more than 100 low-income families called home.

"Where I live is gone," said Robin Wilkins.

In June, apartment residents were told they had to leave by the end of September because the owner, Cypress Real Estate Advisors, was selling the property.

Wilkins said she and the others who lived there had a hard time finding another affordable place to live. Her rent was about $700 per month.

"We've not been compensated in any way. We've not received our deposit, we've not received any money to help us towards our deposits for our new places," Wilkins said. "Nothing."

Residents were told a new complex would be built. Instead, Oracle purchased the property along with the neighboring Azul Luxury Apartments, which was also owned by Cypress, so it can offer housing to its employees.

Austin ISD Board Trustee Ann Teich said the children who had to change schools suffered most from the deal.

"That's extremely disruptive psychologically, educationally, it's just not fair to do it to those kids," Teich said. "These are kids that have, who are English language learners, who are coming out of poverty."

She adds it's a prime example of a bigger issue.

"That's the problem with gentrification. We've got to find a way to take care of this because it's not fair to these kids to disrupt their lives," said Teich.

Mayor Steve Adler said the city's responsibility is to manage the growth and he hopes to leverage the economic impact of Oracle to help people like Wilkins.

"We just passed a budget that was able to lower taxes and at the same time increase social service spending, in part because of this kind of growth and the revenues and the wealth that came into our city because of that. And that's what we have to be mindful of," said Adler.

KVUE News reached out to Cypress Real Estate Advisors but no one was able to answer our questions. Oralce officials said they had no comment.


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