Students displaced for months after Avon @22nd hit construction delays

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Photo Credit: Chloe Bertrand | Daily Texan Staff

Expecting to live in a new apartment building, mathematics sophomore Nanor Asadourian and her roommate signed a lease with Avon @22nd last May for the 2018-2019 term. They never moved in.

Asadourian said she wasn’t aware the building wouldn’t be complete until two weeks before her expected move in date of Aug. 21.

“My favorite part was the countdown saying like ‘Avon Opening’ (on the website),” Asadourian said. “A week after (the countdown hit zero) I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure they should be emailing us, telling us where we were living.’ We got nothing and that’s when I got concerned.”

Avon @22nd, which is managed by Central and Campus Properties, was scheduled to open last August. Jesse Mamuhewa, a realtor for Central and Campus Properties, said after the developer ran into construction problems in June and July, additional delays occurred in the following months. 

“Once you open up the can of worms, more delays happened,” Mamuhewa said. “It was just a snowball effect that lead to several months of the project being kicked down the road.”

 

The complex is now expected to be completed August 2019.

Austin Peak Development, the developer listed in the building’s construction permit, did not respond to a request for comment.

Mamuhewa said the complex will have 19 units with 63 total bedrooms. According to the Avon @22nd lease, residents were given the option to back out of their lease within seven days of being notified the building would not be completed before their contract term.

“It was up to them to sign somewhere else,” Mamuhewa said. “We were ready and willing to release them from the lease and (allow residents to) move somewhere else, or they could temporarily stay in one of our other properties.”

Mamuhewa said the company offered leases before the building was completed, because waiting would mean missing the leasing season.

“There’s nobody to sign leases for August because everyone’s secured housing months or a year in advance,” Mamuhewa said.

Because she is an out-of-state student and did not have time to find another complex before classes started, Asadourian said she opted to live in temporary housing at the Merida, which was built in 1984.

“We were under the impression that Merida was like a newer building and was going to be up to standard from what we’re paying for,” Asadourian said. “There were so many problems with it, and at first we stuck it out.”

Asasdourian said problems included leaks in the ceiling and bed bugs along with other maintenance issues. 

“At first they said we’re only going to be there for like max a month,” Asadorian said. “So my roommate and I were still paying $850, the rent of a brand new building, for a very rundown, tiny building.”

After construction delays continued, she and her roommate got out of their contract by subleasing their room at Merida.

Marketing sophomore Rigas Koutsourakis said he was a freshman lacking experience with renting in West Campus when he saw an online ad for Avon in March last year.

“We made a call to them and asked them … ‘Okay, it’s that easy?’” Koutsourakis said. “‘So next year we’ll be able to move in your building?’ And they’re like ‘Yes.’”

Koutsourakis said he was promised the temporary housing would include all of the amenities and furnishings of the Avon, but he never received their desks or TVs. 

He and his two roommates subleased their housing in early April after being notified of the latest construction delay.

The Avon @22nd is now signing leases for the 2019-2020 term. Asadourian said when renting apartments in West Campus, students should look more carefully than she did.

“We thought that we had looked around enough, when in reality we hadn’t,” Asadourian said. “Definitely look at the building prior to signing the lease — just make smart decisions.”