Victoria: City Council Beefs Up Housing Development Agreement with NRP Group
Feature Illustration: A concept rendering of the proposed Odem Street Apartments, as presented in July to the Victoria Housing Finance Corporation.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Victoria (Victoria County) — City Council, earlier this month, expanded the proposed scope of work for an affordable housing development agreement with NRP Group.
On July 9, VBX reported that the Victoria Housing Finance Corporation, an agency of the city, was entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the San Antonio-based developer. The Victoria HFC was to be the bond issuer for 70% of the development cost, an amount not to exceed $32 million, and NRP Group would construct a 250-unit multifamily complex with rents at or below 60% of the area median gross income on 100 units.
However, by Sept. 7 when City Council voted on the project, the number of apartments had expanded to 324 units. The increase in the number of units was made possible by an increase of the project site acreage from 13.2 acres to 18.6 acres, and a desire from City Council to provide as many additional affordable rental units as possible, an NRP Group spokesperson told VBX.
This will allow for the vertical construction of 12 three-story buildings, while still maximizing the livability, green space, and community amenities for future residents.
The NRP Group and Victoria HFC partnership plan to apply for a 4% low income housing tax credit from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in order to complete the financing for a construction loan. That application has not yet been filed and is pending approval of a bond reservation from the Texas Bond Review Board.
The project site is not yet owned by the partnership, but remains under contract. It is located in a neighborhood known as Silver City, which as been traditionally overlooked by developers.
The project, now in the planning phase, has been progressing under the working title Odem Street Apartments. Its permanent name will be announced once construction begins.
City Council’s action this month allowed the partnership to proceed with an application to TDHCA. NRP Group plans to break ground on Odem Street by the summer of 2022.
The target completion date is spring of 2024, however, the first apartment buildings to be finished may be available to lease by fall 2023.
Amenities within the community will include a 24/7 workout gym, a community center, a business center equipped with Wi-fi and printers, and a child-friendly swimming pool.
The Odem Street Apartments concept site plan with 12 apartment buildings, instead of the nine that were in the initial concept. Courtesy: of the NRP Group and City of Victoria.
The rent structure was also modified to make 314 units eligible to tenant families earning 70% or less of Victoria’s median family income. The mix of subsidized units is 12 one-bedroom units at from $312 to $813/month; 132 two-bedroom units at from $379-$1,023/month; 134 three-bedroom units at from $441-$1,185/month; and 36 four-bedroom units at from $489-$1,318/month.
City Manager Jesus A. Garza, in a prepared statement said, “The timing of this development is perfect. This will be the City’s second affordable housing development in two years, and it will serve as a catalyst to help encourage additional economic development opportunities on the southside.”
Research data from a Housing Needs Assessment study prepared by the city in 2020 found that the city’s economy and housing supply are still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey and the collapse of the Eagle Ford Shale. Rental costs have increased 24% in the past 10 years.
Victoria’s volatile housing market has caused an unstable environment for first-time homebuyers and low to moderate income residents. In fact, 82.7% of households in Victoria would not qualify to buy a home with a required 20% down payment.
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.