Developers pitch new affordable housing to City Council – Beaumont Enterprise

The Beaumont City Council is considering bringing two new affordable apartment complexes to the city.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, representatives from ITEX of Houston and Betco of Austin, two development firms, shared their visions for the complexes Abiding Grace and Pioneer Senior Crossing respectively.

“About this time every year, we have developers come to us requesting our acknowledgement and support for the Housing Tax Credit projects,” said director of planning and community development Chris Boone.

The HTC program is set up by the federal government, which allocates tax credits to every state. State housing agencies allocate those tax credits to developers for the creation of housing for low to moderate income individuals. It is a highly competitive process, run through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, with support of local government being a key piece of the application package for hopeful developers.

ITEX is proposing that Abiding Grace be an eight-acre, 84 to 100-unit complex on West Cardinal.

“We’re looking at about three buildings on this particular site where we cover about five acres of the site,” said ITEX representative Kenny Baugh. “You would have a pretty good amount of green space on the other three acres or so that would be left over on this site.”

It is intended to be a 3-story walk up with a modern design and would include amenities such as a community center, a fitness center, a business center, and a courtyard. Within the actual units, there would be granite countertops, wood flooring, and wood cabinets.

Betco is hoping that Pioneer Senior Crossing will be a 72 to 80-unit complex on the southeast corner of North Major Drive with several amenities and ample green space for gardening. A company representative, Michael Beard, believes now is the time for Beaumont to get more affordable housing for seniors.

“Affordable housing has never been more of a crisis than it is right now,” he said, citing ongoing supply-chain concerns and inflation. “And when you’re looking for a senior development, 55 plus, where most people are at or near retirement and on a fixed income, inflation is the number one killer for your ability to be able to pay your bills.”

The city council can support either project, both projects, or neither project. Boone pointed out that when making their decision, the council should consider the new projects that are already in the city or are currently underway.

“As a result of the recovery efforts of Hurricane Harvey, we’ve had several multifamily complexes that are either recently opened or they are under construction,” Boone said. “You may have seen last week, one of the projects had a grand opening.”

Boone said that with so many new units becoming available, he did not know what the effect would be on the market if more units are added, and that would be something for the council to consider.

The council did not make a decision Tuesday. Boone will present the two options to council again at next week’s council meeting, at which point the council will vote on the projects. The developers have until early March to submit their applications to TDHCA, and funding to selected projects will be awarded in the summer, with construction set to begin in the following calendar year.