AUSTIN, Texas — On the outside, if you look at South Austin Market Place, you'll see a couple of old signs. But on the inside, it's a different story. 

The transitional housing facility just off Ben White Boulevard in South Austin has been around since 1993. 

Lush green vegetation, fountains and lights fill the courtyard, which hundreds call home. 

The facility is home hundreds of people at a time each day. Its founder and owner, Rosemary Follis, says it's helped thousands – everyone from ex-convicts to people emerging from homelessness. 

"I don’t have a large family myself, so a lot of these people are my family," said Follis. "On any given day we have a minimum of 150 people that depend on this place."

South Austin Market Place
South Austin Market Place
Luis de Leon

But now, the facility is the one that needs help, a new owner. 

Follis, 73, says she's looking to retire and sell the property.

"My health hasn't been good and I need to retire," said Follis, "I'd like to sell it to the right person that would keep it like it is." 

But Follis says she's having a hard time finding the right buyers to take over and keep the facility up and running. 

She's worried if she sells the property and it gets redeveloped, the hundreds of people who live here could be out of a home. 

Follis says demand is increasing and the facility is just too full.

"I'm having to turn away families right now – every day we turn down at least three."

South Austin Market Place
South Austin Market Place single bedroom.
Luis de Leon

Follis says they've reached out to the City of Austin to see if it would buy and operate the property. 

A spokesperson with the city told KVUE they're aware of the property, but have no current plans in taking it over.  

Just about a mile away, the recently approved purchase by the city of a property that is expected to become a homeless shelter was bought for $8.6 million. 

Follis says the asking price for South Austin Market Place's property is at around $7 million, thought its assessed property value is around $5 million. 

For now, Follis is waiting and hoping for the right buyer to come along. 

"I'm hanging out as long as I can," said Follis. 

The facility has approximately 170 units for rent. There are single and double units, as well as full bathrooms separate from the bedrooms. 

The facility hosts a soup kitchen for its residents. It receives most of its food through partner agencies like the Central Texas Food Bank. 


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