AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council could soon take steps toward renovating the Candlewood Suites hotel in order to get it set up to help people experiencing homelessness.
The City of Austin bought the hotel in North Austin last August.
On Thursday, councilmembers were set to discuss a $4 million contract with Family Eldercare to turn it into Pecan Gardens, a permanent supportive housing facility for people who need it. According to Family Eldercare's website, the organization was founded in 1982 by two women who wanted to develop resources and training for families caring for their aging loved ones.
That item was pulled by Council Member Mackenzie Kelly for future discussion. However, they did scale back, approving an item that authorizes city leaders to start negotiations regarding the renovations.
If the city council approves renovation funds, they'll have to complete construction plans and go through a permitting process.
Candlewood Suites has been a point of contention between the City of Austin and leaders in Williamson County for about a year now. The hotel, located on Pecan Park Boulevard near US 183 and State Highway 45, is located in Austin but also in Williamson County. Williamson County commissioners pushed back against the purchase at the time, saying the deal wasn't discussed with them.
During a recent Williamson County Commissioners Court meeting, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell shared photos that he said he has received from residents who live near the Candlewood Suites hotel. Gravell said the residents claim the Austin City Council's decision has brought crime to the neighborhood.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, however, said the hotel has been vacant since the purchase and the crime stems from issues within Williamson County. In an interview with KVUE, Adler said the hotel for people experiencing homelessness should be up and running in about six months.
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