Developer vies for tax credits to bring affordable housing to Victoria

Feb. 8, 2012 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 8, 2012 at 8:09 p.m.

New affordable housing could soon call Victoria home, but first it has to make the cut.

Indiana-based Pedcor Investments hopes to usher in Stockbauer Landings Apartments, a multi-family rental complex off John Stockbauer Drive, with help from a highly-competitive federal housing tax credit program, said Craig Lintner, Pedcor's senior vice president of development.

Through the program, in exchange for tax credits, the company agrees to keep rental rates at affordable levels, he said, noting a two-bedroom apartment would go for about $600 per month in Victoria.

The company is up against six other projects in its region - five in Corpus Christi and one in Ingleside - vying for funding through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, but only one will get the green light.

Obstacles, hurdles

Pedcor met with the Victoria City Council on Tuesday, requesting decisions on three resolutions that could make or break the project.

"We are not asking for any dollars," Lintner told the council. "We are asking for your support."

The developer wants the city to pass three resolutions that could add 20 points to its score.

The state agency evaluates each project on a point system, based on a set of 24 criteria, as well as the project's cost per square foot, local support and opposition, input from elected officials and more.

The three resolutions for criteria would involve proclaiming an economic development initiative for the location, worth one point, as well as labeling the site for community revitalization, worth one point, and committing to use development funding through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, worth 18 points.

The council is expected to vote on the resolutions during its Feb. 21 meeting.

Victoria Planning Department Director John Kaminski recommended supporting the first and last requests, but said the project's site did not qualify as community revitalization. It is in a highly-sought after area, between growing development and neighborhoods, he said.

"We just don't feel comfortable labeling it as an area that needs revitalization," he said.

During Tuesday's city council meeting, Councilman Joe Truman asked whether the project would be "jeopardized" if the city did not support the second criteria.

"I feel every one of these points count ... last year we lost by a point in San Antonio," Lintner responded.

Aiming for the Crossroads

Pedcor selected the city because of its need for "workforce" housing and the growing economy, Lintner said.

Housing is already tight, he said, noting potential companies looking to move into the town could see that as a detractor.

Victoria's proposed project would include between 135 and 168 units on about 28 acres. The two-story buildings would offer several floor plans, while the complex itself would accommodate two playgrounds, a swimming pool, a fenced dog park and more.

While half the property sits within the flood plain, Lintner said the company has discussed working out a deal with the city to turn the land into a park or walking trail.

Qualifying income levels for single individuals looking to rent range from $12,000 to the mid-$20,000s, Lintner said. For families, the maximum income cap is about $40,000.

Pedcor also takes into account prior convictions and charges, credit and rental histories, references and more.

Those included on sex offender registries are ineligible, Lintner said, and tenants must sign a no-drug policy.

Since the tax credit program began in 1986, and allocated its first credits the year after, it has helped finance about 2,000 multi-family rentals.

One other Victoria apartment complex, Pinnacle Pointe at 702 Salem Road, was funded through the state program, but nearby Corpus Christi is home to numerous completed projects.

Local response

James Wisdom's backyard on Windyway Drive is next to the field of the proposed complex's property near the Windcrest neighborhood. And, while the area is empty now, he said he prefers it that way.

"I enjoy looking out over the sunset in the evening and having that privacy," he said. "But, in the interest of progress, I won't be up in arms if it happens."

Linda Gray, another Windyway resident, said she hadn't heard of the possible development, and did not have an opinion either way.

"We knew it had been up for sale but, after the sign came down, nothing happened," she said. "We thought maybe the deal fell through."

Other residents noted concerns about privacy issues, increased traffic flow and the project's effect on property values.

Where are we now?

If the council approves the resolutions, Pedcor will continue forging on until the state's board makes its final decision in late July. If approved, Lintner said Pedcor would begin architectural, financial and civil planning shortly after.

Overall, the entire project would take about two to three years from start to completion.

"It's an extremely competitive process," he said. "But we're continuing on."



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