San Antonio: Development Committee Considers Loan for West Side Multifamily Development
Feature Photo (above): The view from South Frio Street of a vacant lot where Terramark will construct a 12-unit apartment building with surface parking. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — The city land development committee is in talks with a local developer for granting a $242,000 forgivable loan to construct a 12-unit multifamily development on the near West Side, in order to assure half of the units are priced affordably.
The Planning and Land Development Committee met Monday to consider a contract with Terramark Interests LLC that required six of the 12 proposed units go to tenant households earning at or below 60% of the area median income. Terramrk Interests is an affiliate of Terramark Urban Homes.
The project site is located in the middle of the west side of the 700 block of South Frio Street. This is land that the City Council agreed to sell Terramark in June 2019, and VBX described the city’s ambitions for the site March 18, 2019 when a Request For Proposals was issued to attract a developer.
The project site is highlighted in red. Image: Google Earth.
The land sale remains pending. The city had it under contract at the time and did not close on the acquisition from Elmer’s Ice House LLC until Oct. 24, 2019, according to county land records.
The lot where this will happen measures just over a third of an acre and it’s on the drab 1970s industrial side of a block that has experienced some multifamily development on the opposite (west) side of the block.
The total project investment would be $1.9 million and goes by the project name West End Lofts. The building will have a breezeway splitting the apartment units into two sections.
Living units are to consist of four 2-bedroom/2-bath units and eight 2-bedroom/1-bath units. The more affordable workforce housing is being priced at $958/month, and the market rate units will vary between $1,200 to $1,604/month.
The site plan includes sufficient surface parking for 24 vehicles, bicycle storage, a dog park/open space and other landscaping. The agreement also mentions an outside communal area where tenants can congregate, but this may be just another reference to the dog park.
That open space is narrow and walled off from any ground-level scenic views to the north by a one-story masonry building constructed in 1975. Perhaps the residents will be allowed to commission a mural on the neighbor’s wall to liven up what would otherwise be a bleak panorama.
Terramark expects to begin construction in March and finish the project by April 2021.
Concept site plan for the West End Lofts project. Courtesy: Terramark Interests LLC.
Since this is an initiative of the Neighborhood Improvement Bond Program, the Neighborhood & Housing Services Department has shepherded this project. Their recommendation for approval explains that the loan is necessary to subsidize the rents and there will be no affordable housing in the project without it.
The loan will be forgiven over 20 years, provided the six units continue to be leased at or below 60% AMI for 20 years.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.