Rebekah Baines Johnson (RBJ) Center

The Rebekah Baines Johnson (RBJ) Center was built in 1972. RBJ Center is owned and operated by the Austin Geriatric Center (AGC), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization formed exclusively for the purpose of developing, owning and managing this retirement community.

The idea for the RBJ Center was developed by President Lyndon Baines Johnson, during his term of office, and was named for his mother, Rebekah. President Johnson's initial vision - and the vision of the AGC - was to create a continuum of housing and healthcare for older persons to include independent apartment units and nursing beds at this location. While the nursing facility no longer exists, the 16-story apartment community featuring 250 units thrived. Located just north of Lady Bird Lake and Festival Beach, RBJ has been providing quality, affordable housing for seniors in Austin Texas for over 45 years.

Residents have enjoyed ample community space such as community rooms, lobbies and libraries. They also enjoyed social service assistance, a food bank, a store, a beauty parlor and library. RBJ's central location and access to bus routes and lady Bird lake make this a highly desirable community.

The most salient feature of RBJ is community. Residents plan many activities and trips. Meaningful friendships are formed, and residents have many ways of caring for each other. Some of the residents with medical concerns put a ribbon their door to let their friends know they are up and about and doing well.

In 2007, the AGC Board of Directors expanded its vision to address the needs of our current residents in our aging tower and to provide additional affordable housing for the many other low in-come seniors living in Austin. To bring this vision to reality, AGC began to explore the possibilities for improvement and redevelopment of the 18-acre RBJ site. In May 2010, AGC began a strategic planning process. In 2013, the 40-year HUD loan to build RBJ was retired and AGC became the owner of the RBJ property. AGC selected two development partners that shared AGC vision: Capital Project Management and Diana McGiver and Associates. The AGC and partners worked very closely with City of Austin leadership and staff, the current residents of RBJ, the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Association and other stakeholders as needed to create a master plan. This plan entails first creating a new 250-unit apartment complex that wraps around the current RBJ tower. (Hence the new complex is referred to as "the wrap"). After the wrap is completed, the RBJ tower will be renovated.

Construction began in the fall of 2018. In anticipation of the construction, RBJ stopped renting to new tenants in 2017. Tenants who remain with RBJ will be moved to the wrap when it is completed so that renovation can begin on the tower.

In addition to doubling the number of affordable units, the master plan entails ample shared community spaces such as a business center, community activity rooms and a food bank. There will be retail spaces that may include services such as a doctor's office, a store and exercise classes.


Read about RBJ Center's bright future with a large redevelopment project now underway...