The colorful design for the Museum Reach Lofts, the apartments by nonprofit developer Alamo Community Group, received conceptual approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) on Wednesday. The $17.5 million project will rise five stories on two parcels of land a fraction of a block north of the San Antonio Museum of Art.
The area median income for a family of four in the greater San Antonio area (including New Braunfels) is $66,800. 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
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The project will go on the southeast corner of North St. Mary’s Street and West Jones Avenue and will add 95 units—86 of which will be offered to people making between 30 percent and 60 percent of the area median income. The rents will also be restricted to 30 percent of each tenant’s income.
Rents start at $290 for low-income individuals.
As San Antonio debates how much affordability it can demand from developers in exchange for incentives such as tax rebates, the Museum Reach Lofts, no one would argue, offers true affordability in downtown. It’s a block from the Museum Reach segment of the San Antonio River, and within walking distance of the Pearl to the north and downtown proper to the south.
When it was looking for a site for its next project, Alamo Community Group, which also owns the low-income Calcasieu Apartments on Broadway, decided on this corner of Jones and St. Mary’s street. ACG Executive Director Jennifer Gonzalez said it filled the need for workforce housing for those employed at Credit Human and Jefferson Bank, which are moving its headquarters next to the Pearl, and also downtown hotels, restaurants and bars. The area, known as Midtown, is also one of the 13 regional centers outlined in the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, which calls for a diversity of housing.
“As we looked at that area, it was kind of a perfect storm,” Gonzalez told the City Council Nov. 15. “There wasn’t a tax credit project in the area … There isn’t any workforce housing providing this level of affordability.”
Construction is expected to begin in March, and be completed in September 2020.
The project is receiving $1.2 million in 9 percent low-income housing tax credits, a federal program administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Gonzalez anticipates the project to gain roughly $10 million in equity after the tax credits are sold to investors. It’s also receiving a reimbursement grant worth up to $2.8 million from the Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone for the purchase of the land. City development and SAWS impact fees are also being waived. It could also receive a rebate on the city portion of its taxes, under the Center City Housing Incentives Policy (CCHIP), but the policy is currently on hold.
The design by Alamo Architects includes an interior courtyard and an open parking garage.
The Museum Reach Lofts will have to return to the HDRC for a final approval on its design.