Houston: Avenue Breaks Ground on 34th Street Affordable Multifamily
Feature Illustration: Architectural rendering of Avenue on 34th. Courtesy: Avenue.
Houston (Harris County) — Avenue, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to building affordable homes, briefly gathered with Mayor Sylvester Turner and other supporters this week for a socially-distanced groundbreaking to mark the start of vertical construction on much-needed new affordable rental homes for Houston’s working families.
The new development, Avenue on 34th, is a mixed-income multifamily community located in the city’s vibrant Oak Forest neighborhood.
Avenue on 34th, located at 2136 West 34th Street, is designed to be a free standing, four-story apartment building offering 70 mixed-income units on 2.1 acres in North Houston. Project delivery is anticipated in mid-2022 and Avenue has partnered with Block Companies, who is serving as general contractor on the project.
“We are delighted to advance construction on Avenue on 34th at a time when affordable housing with proximity to the Inner Loop is such a critical need among working families. The influx of new developments in and around the city’s urban core has resulted in the demolition of existing lower cost housing and, as a result, has priced low and middle-income families out of many communities,” said Mary Lawler, executive director at Avenue. “Data shows that affordable homes help strengthen families and communities as a whole, providing families with a path forward to greater financial stability and improved health outcomes.”
From left: HCDD’s Tom McCasland, Avenue’s Mary Lawler, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Amegy’s Brian Stoker.
Highlighting the critical need for affordable development in the Oak Forest area, Lawler pointed to the United Way of Great Houston’s recent ALICE report, which found that 47 percent of Greater Houston Area families are struggling to make ends meet. That includes almost 25 percent of the nearly 11,000 households in Oak Forest’s 77018-zip code that qualify as ALICE.
ALICE stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed. These families represent hardworking members of the Houston community whose household income is above the federal poverty level, but insufficient to cover basic necessities such as housing, child care, food, transportation and healthcare.
Avenue on 34th features 23 one-bedroom apartments, 27 two-bedroom apartments and 20 three-bedroom apartments, with sizes ranging from 706 square feet to 1,201 square feet. While 14 units will be offered at unrestricted market rate, income-restricted units will be designated for families making $35,000 to $65,000 annually.
In addition to amenities like an outdoor play space, learning center and activity room, business center, and fitness room, Avenue on 34th will offer a host of resident services including after-school tutoring for children and credit-building and homebuyer education programs for adults. Preserved green space on the property, including mature trees, will also encourage flood resiliency and enhance quality of life for residents.
Development of Avenue on 34th is made possible through a mix of public and private funding including four percent low-income housing tax credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). Additional funders include primary lender Amegy Bank, as well as Houston Housing Finance Corporation, the City of Houston Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD) and Hunt Capital Partners through their multi-investor fund HCP 41 which included Aetna, a CVS Health® company.
Additional project partners include Northfield Design Associates, Jones & Carter and Falon Land Studio.
“Amegy Bank lends and invests millions of dollars annually to develop plans that support neighborhood revitalization, economic development and affordable housing,” said Amegy SVP of commercial real estate lending Devin Hancock. “Avenue’s work to build affordable homes and strengthen communities makes a continuous and lasting impact in our city, and we look forward to accomplishing more with our local community partners.”
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.