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Granada building could get major renovation via SAHA partnership

by Ben OlivoSep 04, 2020
The Granada apartments located at 311 S. St. Mary's St. Photo taken Sept. 1, 2020.
The Granada Homes is located at 311 S. St. Mary's St. Photo by Ben Olivo | Heron

The San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) is talking to D.C.-based AFL-CIO, the owner of the Granada Homes, about renovating the 12-story low-income apartment building for seniors at the northwest intersection of South St. Mary’s and La Villita streets.

The housing authority wouldn't purchase the circa-1927 building, which is currently appraised at $22 million. Rather, SAHA would use its ability to issue tax-exempt bonds, in this case up to $30 million, to renovate the units, Tim Alcott, SAHA’s real estate and legal services officer, said in an interview this week.

The 12-story building, which was first opened in 1928 as the Plaza Hotel, now contains roughly 230 apartment units for tenants 62 and older.

Alcott said the residents hold vouchers issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but they are expiring. SAHA would issue its own vouchers, thus keeping the current residents in place.

"We're trying to figure out a way we can continue to provide vouchers for those folks," Alcott said. "They're coming to an expiration. ... When this deal is done, it's going to be pure mission oriented. This is not a deal where there is revenue coming back to SAHA."

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The apartments at Granada are predominately priced for people making 30% of the area median income, Alcott said—which is $15,120 for a single person, or $17,280 for a couple, in the greater San Antonio-New Braunfels area.

The Granada building is one of the few downtown apartment buildings reserved for seniors. Two others, which SAHA owns, are The Lofts at Marie McGuire Apartments, 211 N. Alamo St., and the Villa Hermosa Apartments, 327 N. Flores St. The former hotel, which was built by the same developer behind the Smith-Young Tower (now the Tower Life building across the street) was converted into a community for seniors in 1968.

The project is expected to be presented to SAHA's Board of Commissioners this month.

Heron Editor Ben Olivo can be reached at 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

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