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They say everything is bigger in Texas—hats, cattle, and spaces. And with hot markets like Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston, there are plenty of Texas-sized opportunities for real estate investors. Lonestar Development Partners (LDP) has become one of the region’s fastest-growing development firms and is bringing unique single-family and multifamily development projects to life.
Founded by principals Ryan Larson and Chris Kopacek in 2015, LDP has raised $212,600,000 in just six years to bring 1,077 new units to the Austin area. Larson, Kopacek, and Lonestar’s consultant Tom Etheredge are known for a deep understanding of debt cycles, local markets, and investment structures. They believe that historically low-interest rates will eventually rise, leading to an increased demand for multifamily buildings and affordable housing. Lonestar Development has accordingly positioned itself to capitalize on this expected shift by creating the right type of projects at the right time.
And the time is indeed right. The Wall Street Journal reports that companies and individuals alike are flocking to Austin in record numbers, seeking “lower costs and lower taxes.” Tesla’s new factory alone is expected to hire up to 5,000 employees. There seems to be a new apartment breaking ground on every block. In this fast-paced and competitive environment, even the savviest developer needs to stay responsive and agile.
That’s what brought David Anselmo to Lonestar in 2019. LDP’s director of construction started his career in multifamily construction in the late 1990s. He learned his way around apartment construction while working as a punch out carpenter and then worked his way up to assistant superintendent, site superintendent, and then project manager. Along the way, Anselmo learned to manage simultaneous projects, implement various construction methods, guide project schedules, and manage complex budgets of up to $70 million at a time.
He’s brought that experience to Lonestar to help evaluate projects and manage construction teams to ensure high-quality, on-time delivery. “Great vision, excellent products, and strong partnerships have taken Lonestar to the top, and my work to drill down on their projects to get us even more cost efficient with better constructability will help us stay there,” Anselmo says.
The Rail at MLK is one of Lonestar Development’s newest projects. The 235-unit mid-rise apartment complex spans 119,593 square feet on a 1.2-acre site. Prospective residents can choose from five-floor plans ranging from 400 square-foot efficiencies to 1,014 square-foot two-bedroom units with panoramic downtown views.
The Rail is an innovative, mixed-income housing project completed through a partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA). Half of its units are offered through a HACA program for residents earning between 30 and 80 percent of the average income. The other half are market-rate apartments. “Austin needs spaces people can afford, and Lonestar is committed to providing safe environments that give people options and create a sense of pride,” says Anselmo, adding that the podium-style building is conveniently adjacent to the bus stop and Capital Metro Rail station. It features a fitness center, business center, conference room, and pool.
Another LDP project, Trailside Oaks, opened in January. The luxury community in nearby Leander includes 51 townhomes and apartments. Anselmo says Trailside Oaks is an example of Lonestar’s ability to “think and build outside the box.” It’s not a straight garden or podium-style concept—it’s a blend of both, anchored by a grove of 500-year-old oak trees and surrounded by barbeque pits, a hammock grove, outdoor fitness areas, climbing rocks, and a dog park.
Anselmo has developed a reputation for his ability to drive costs down and values up. His work on a recent project in Pflugerville attracted attention with its shovel-ready design even before LDP could break ground. Anselmo leveraged his experience, expertise, and relationships to achieve dramatic results. He specified moisture-conditioned slabs instead of bringing in base and used double 2×4 construction in favor of 2×6. He realized additional savings by reducing stairwells from four to two and perfecting roof pitch. “If you know how to value engineer a project and comb through every detail, items that seem small all add up to big results,” he says. Lonestar sold the land, design, and total concept for a profit.
It’s those opportunities that keep a veteran like Anselmo at Lonestar. “We work hard to do smart things together, but this isn’t a giant, faceless corporation. Everyone here is valued because we know every person has input that can make a difference,” he explains. “That’s part of the secret that makes our overall product better.” Anselmo has spent his whole life working with wood, drawing plans, and building barns and houses. At Lonestar, he’s building something else special—a new place to call home.