The latest design for the $17.5 million Museum Reach Lofts, a rare affordable housing development near the Pearl, was approved Wednesday by the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC).
The area median income for a family of four in the greater San Antonio area (including New Braunfels) is $66,800, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Here’s how it breaks down for lower-income households:
» 80% – $53,440
» 70% – $46,760
» 60% – $40,800
» 50% – $33,400
» 40% – $26,720
» 30% – $20,400
The five-story, mixed-income apartment building at 1500 N. St. Mary’s St. at the intersection of West Jones Avenue is being built by nonprofit developer Alamo Community Group and designed by GRG Architecture of San Antonio.
The project consists of 95 units—77 units reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and 9 units for households making less than 30 percent AMI. The remaining nine will be market-rate priced.
Construction is expected to begin in March, and be completed in September 2020, Alamo Community Group (ACG) Executive Director Jennifer Gonzalez told the Heron earlier this year.
According to the HDRC agenda, the lofts building will include retail on the ground floor. ACG must return to the HDRC to get its signage approved.
In December, the HDRC approved a more colorful design created by Alamo Architects:
Last month, Gonzalez addressed the change in design via text.
“I believe this building (the one approved this week) best reflects the essence and spirit of the River Walk Museum Reach area while complementing the architecture of the San Antonio Museum of Art and Central Catholic,” Gonzalez said.
The Museum Reach Lofts is the only new residential downtown project offering apartments to households making 30 percent AMI. The housing boom the downtown area has experienced since the Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP) began in 2012 has produced predominantly market-rate housing.
Gonzalez said the various incentives the project has received makes the affordable rents possible. Specifically, the Museum Reach Lofts’ incentive package from the city includes:
» $27,431 in city development fee waivers (CCHIP)
» $295,988 in SAWS fee waivers (CCHIP)
» 75 percent rebate on city property taxes over 10 years (estimated rebate is $34,600 the first year); 25 percent of its city property tax obligation will feed into the affordable housing fund (estimated at $11,500 the first year; CCHIP).
» $2.8 million reimbursement grant from the Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone
» 9 percent low-income housing tax credits (a federal subsidy doled out by the state) worth an estimated $10 million after they’re sold to investors
» Museum Reach Lofts redesign approval sought
» Affordable Museum Reach Lofts receives $2.8 million incentive