Museum Reach Lofts redesign approval sought

by Ben OlivoFebruary 1, 2019
The redesign for the Museum Reach Lofts as of Feb. 1. GRG ARCHITECTURE / ALAMO COMMUNITY GROUP

Nonprofit developer Alamo Community Group has redesigned its Museum Reach Lofts, one of the true affordable housing developments planned for the downtown area that's due to begin construction this spring on the southeast corner of West Jones Avenue and North St. Mary's Street.

The location is a block north of the San Antonio Museum of Art, KSAT 12, and Central Catholic High School.

The nonprofit has hired GRG Architecture of San Antonio for the lofts redesign, which is expected to go before the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) for approval in the coming weeks.

If approved, the new design will replace this one created by Alamo Architects, which the HDRC gave conceptual approval to on Dec. 5:

ALAMO ARCHITECTS / ALAMO COMMUNITY GROUP

Alamo Community Group Executive Director Jennifer Gonzalez addressed the change in design to the Heron.

"I believe this building 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. "We believe Museum Reach Lofts will be a welcomed addition and we are looking forward to breaking ground in the spring."

What's AMI?
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
» 60% - $40,800
» 50% - $33,400
» 40% - $26,720
» 30% - $20,400

The $17.5 million, five-story project is expected to add 95 units in the Museum Reach area just north of downtown—77 units reserved for households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and 9 units for people making less than 30 percent AMI. The remaining nine will be rented at market-rate prices.

Construction on the Museum Reach Lofts is expected to begin in March, and be completed in September 2020.

In addition to its own equity sources, the project is receiving a bevy of incentives, which experts such as Gonzalez and city officials say is the key to pricing newly-built housing at affordable rates. The incentives package includes:

» $27,431 in city development fee waivers (Center City Housing Incentive Policy, or 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

Related
Affordable Museum Reach Lofts receive $2.8M incentive

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

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