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AMCAL Midtown (2505 Fannin) - 30-Story Affordable Housing High-Rise

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https://www.virtualbx.com/construction-preview/houston-housing-authority-partners-with-california-developer-on-two-multifamily-projects/

 

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The Houston Housing Authority has partnered with the Texas division of AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc.–a housing developer based in Agoura Hills, California–to construct two rent-controlled apartment complexes.

 

The HHA Board of Commissioners at their July 16 session approved two resolutions with AMTEX Multi-Housing LLC.

 

Resolution No. 3061 authorizes the housing authority’s president and chief executive officer to execute a Memorandum of Understanding to form a housing development partnership. Under this resolution, AMTEX proposes to build a new affordable apartment property with 370 units.

 

This resolution was first presented to the Board for consideration at the June session, but it was tabled at the request of a commissioner who wanted more time to discuss the project with AMCAL’s project manager, David Wolf.

 

“The proposed Midtowndevelopment is located in a federally designated Opportunity Zone (established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017), as well as a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ),” the resolution states. These government designations provide financing advantages that make it possible to offer apartments at lower cost.

 

The MOU will ensure that 185 units will go to families earning 80% of the area median income. Of the 185 units, 140 will be one-bedroom units and 45 will be two-bedroom units.

 

All of the remaining units will be leased at market rates. However, two units will be set aside as living quarters for onsite management.

 

Neither resolution gave details on an exact location.[.quote]

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I'd be interested to see if this is actually in midtown. This group tried to purchase a surface parking lot at the corner of W Dallas and I-45, so it's possible their development might be north of what we all consider midtown.

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1 hour ago, HNathoo said:

I'd be interested to see if this is actually in midtown. This group tried to purchase a surface parking lot at the corner of W Dallas and I-45, so it's possible their development might be north of what we all consider midtown.

 

That release says that it's within a TIRZ, but now within what TIRZ I guess is the question.

 

I looked up the boundaries of the Midtown TIRZ, and it's pretty close to what we'd define as 'Midtown' http://www.houstontx.gov/ecodev/tirzmaps/maps/tirz_2.pdf

 

Here are the boundaries of the TIRZ in the area: 

 

dHqOLBH.png

 

I know that Midtown TIRZ has been buying up properties in the 2nd/3rd wards with the idea to develop them into affordable housing (they have to spend some portion of their budget on affordable housing), so who really knows. 

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Good hypothetical spot I think would be here:

7I2Sw1N.jpg

 

Close to the lightrail, several major bus routes that give great access to other areas, close to a few parks, close to HCC, and about a 5-7min walk to the new Whole Foods.

 

I'm sure there are other good locations, but this is on block that stuck out immediately to me. It checks all the boxes in my book.

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2403 Caroline St, maybe?  There was talk of a Mark Dana-driven affordable housing project there.  The lot's now listed on the market, and is within a couple blocks of the light rail at McGowen station.

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30 minutes ago, houstontexasjack said:

Is SEARCH moving away?

They relocated to Eado a while ago.  They’re at the block bounded by St. Emanuel/Franklin/Chartres/Congress.  Interesting choice of relocation, since I think that’s one of the blocks that gets blown out with the I-45 relocation project, should it actually happen.  

Edited by MarathonMan
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1 hour ago, Urbannizer said:

Midtown is going wild. 30-story residnetial high-rise with ~10,000 sq feet of retail (former SEARCH Homeless Services site).

 

cWwiz4I.jpg

 

Yvsz7K9.jpg

Is this for real? There are so many high rises going up it's getting a bit surreal.

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2 hours ago, Urbannizer said:

Midtown is going wild. 30-story residnetial high-rise with ~10,000 sq feet of retail (former SEARCH Homeless Services site).

 

cWwiz4I.jpg

 

Yvsz7K9.jpg

I work at Caroline and McGowen, don’t play with my heart @Urbannizer

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5 minutes ago, Twinsanity02 said:

This isn't part of the Australian developers planned high rises is it?

Yes it's a completely separate development, but it's rather close to it though. Going to be so many cranes if they both go up around the same time. 

Edited by TheSirDingle
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I have no clue how this works. An affordable high rise? What would the capital stack look like on a $400k/unit development? 

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2 hours ago, HNathoo said:

I have no clue how this works. An affordable high rise? What would the capital stack look like on a $400k/unit development? 

Amcal also does some “market rate” housing. Maybe a mix of market rate and affordable units here?

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I hate to be that guy, and to be clear I'm not opposed to public owned affordable housing development, but...

 

Isn't it really expensive to build high rise apartment units compared to other forms of housing? Especially buildings like this, it appears to be far more high end than a standard midrise block or concrete slab tower. What kind of factors or variables lead to the decision to put public housing resources into mixed income high rises in one of the ritziest areas of town?

 

If I was in charge I think I would strategically buy up land that's currently occupied by noxious, trash land uses that hurt surrounding communities, like junkyards and concrete plants around Acres Homes and the Northside. Then I would plow all that under and build tidy looking houses and small apartments there, with trees and stuff. The land must be very cheap, and so would the construction methods for that kind of housing. And instead of it all being apartments, I would mix in some housing to sell to specially qualified persons. Create a real neighborhood.

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7 hours ago, Purdueenginerd said:

I pretty much categorically oppose your proposal that the poor should be relegated to trash land, like junkyards and concrete plants. Land, even in midtown, is relatively cheap and is a good spot for middle, lower, and upper classes to co-mingle and go to work together. As for the costs associate with building a high rise. Yes its typically more expensive than a low rise building, BUT, it uses less land to create the same number of units, which also has costs associated with it. 

 

I never suggested that we would house the poor next to junkyards and concrete plants. Instead I am suggesting that we buy the land from under the junkyards and ready mix plants and tear them all down. So those things would be gone(their owners would presumably take the city's offer and move to Crosby)Then replace them with affordable housing development. This kills two birds with one stone - it removes blight AND it adds affordable housing.

 

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If you go back and read the OP from August 1st, you'll see that what my idea of affordable housing (and your idea maybe) is not correct. I think 'affordable housing' units as being soviet style building blocks or some ghetto ass, run down stick apartment building -- or maybe something as 'nice' as the complex just outside of downtown on Allen Parkway, across from the Fed Reserve.

 

But in the OP, 'affordable' units will go to those who make 80% of the median income of that area. Of the 387 units in the building, 185 units will be 'affordable' while the rest will go for market value. Two units will be set aside for on-site management. 

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20 hours ago, zaphod said:

I hate to be that guy, and to be clear I'm not opposed to public owned affordable housing development, but...

 

Isn't it really expensive to build high rise apartment units compared to other forms of housing? Especially buildings like this, it appears to be far more high end than a standard midrise block or concrete slab tower. What kind of factors or variables lead to the decision to put public housing resources into mixed income high rises in one of the ritziest areas of town?

 

If I was in charge I think I would strategically buy up land that's currently occupied by noxious, trash land uses that hurt surrounding communities, like junkyards and concrete plants around Acres Homes and the Northside. Then I would plow all that under and build tidy looking houses and small apartments there, with trees and stuff. The land must be very cheap, and so would the construction methods for that kind of housing. And instead of it all being apartments, I would mix in some housing to sell to specially qualified persons. Create a real neighborhood.

That land isn't as cheap as you think, and many times isn't for sale. Readymix plants can't locate in Crosby if the bulk of the sales are in Houston, as the concrete will set before it arrives at the destination.

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On ‎12‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 1:17 PM, Urbannizer said:

Midtown is going wild. 30-story residnetial high-rise with ~10,000 sq feet of retail (former SEARCH Homeless Services site).

 

cWwiz4I.jpg

 

Yvsz7K9.jpg

 

Isn't this the design for Camden's downtown property but with reflective glass?

 

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This is the surprise of the year for me. Thought "oh, gonna get some nice 10-12 story red brick apartments like the one near 45 in midtown" and then see a baby Caydon sprouting out with GFR. Ridiculous.

 

Who would have thought the opportunity zone designation would create this type of affordable housing/apartments? Not I! If this starts a trend of affordable development because of the long-term money designation, then I owe people apologies.

 

And the problem with buying the "undesirable" land is those lots most often times have immense situational value to the owners (concrete plant can't move, the junkyard land has been in the family for 40 years, etc), the land is more expensive than one would expect, or, and you see this alot with downtown/midtown lots, the land is owned by some random oil and gas or international company that is holding the land for the big, big payday. In my experience every commercial real estate developer in-town, and quite a few out of town investment funds, are just trying to buy whatever lot they can (in Midtown/Montrose/Museum/Downtown), however they can but sometimes its too expensive even for them. Can't just snap those fingers!

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17 hours ago, zaphod said:

 

I never suggested that we would house the poor next to junkyards and concrete plants. Instead I am suggesting that we buy the land from under the junkyards and ready mix plants and tear them all down. So those things would be gone(their owners would presumably take the city's offer and move to Crosby)Then replace them with affordable housing development. This kills two birds with one stone - it removes blight AND it adds affordable housing.

 

 

But there is no reason to push the poor to the worst areas of town. Many poor people live in this area now and have jobs in this area. To push them away can cause some to no longer be able to access their jobs and assume they could find a new one. There are low paying jobs in this area and they need work staff that can fill those jobs. This allows that to happen. Also, the affordable housing typically has vouchers and they can be lost if tenants aren't following rules of the complex. So fears of it becoming ghetto or some other fear of poor people is often misfounded. Isn't the Hamilton Apartment complex and the 45/59 interchange affordable housing as well?

 

I said this in another thread but it is amazing how the park that was built in the area has attracted so many massive projects. It is sort of like of Discovery Green ended up surrounded by a lot of residential towers. This project looks great and I hope it happens.

Edited by thatguysly
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20 hours ago, thatguysly said:

But there is no reason to push the poor to the worst areas of town. Many poor people live in this area now and have jobs in this area. To push them away can cause some to no longer be able to access their jobs and assume they could find a new one. There are low paying jobs in this area and they need work staff that can fill those jobs. This allows that to happen.


Exactly this. These types of developments need to be established all throughout the city instead of just concentrated in one area.

 

It’s also important to note that this isn’t just housing for “the poor.” This is intended to be affordable housing for people such as teachers and first year HPD and HFD cadets, and people working other similar jobs that otherwise meet the income limits. Those jobs exist all throughout the city and it makes sense to allow the opportunity for people to live close to where they work.

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1 hour ago, Texasota said:

This particular building isn't proving housing for "the poor" *at all.* It's geared toward people making 80% of area median income, so around $50,000 for a couple (regionally at least): http://houstontx.gov/housing/flyers/Area-Median-Income-AMI-19.pdf


It’s technically providing housing for those “at or below” the 80% AMI figure. There is an income ceiling, but some leeway in terms of allowing for people with lower incomes. 

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True. But basically it's meant as workforce housing (as you indicated) - housing for people working normal, pretty traditional jobs that just haven't kept up with the cost of living.

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On 12/16/2019 at 11:27 PM, ChannelTwoNews said:

The design isn't entirely dissimilar from the San Felipe Tower plan a few years back. Same architect's work on both proposals.

 

 

It’s actually a carbon copy of Lvl 29 in Plano. Same architect, different developer, one more floor. 
 

0F8E1872-E700-49D6-8616-7C04E6E06645.jpeg

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Amazing how this building will go up so close to Midtown's blossoming skyline.

 

It will definitely add to the density and hopefully inspire more copycats in the area.

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I must say it's a much better building than the parking garage and SEARCH building.

 

A part of me (the oppositional, sarcastic part) does want to say "I can't believe you want to get rid of that beautiful eyesore of a  parking garage and classic generic 1960's midrise. Do we really want to lose the awesome details on the garage, like the teal safety rails, and the drains that create magic patterns of crap on the vertical facades?"

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58 minutes ago, brijonmang said:

It’s actually a carbon copy of Lvl 29 in Plano. Same architect, different developer, one more floor. 
 

0F8E1872-E700-49D6-8616-7C04E6E06645.jpeg

 

looks good to me.

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1 hour ago, brijonmang said:

It’s actually a carbon copy of Lvl 29 in Plano. Same architect, different developer, one more floor. 
 

0F8E1872-E700-49D6-8616-7C04E6E06645.jpeg

 

Very similar but not a carbon copy.

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On 12/17/2019 at 1:23 PM, Texasota said:

True. But basically it's meant as workforce housing (as you indicated) - housing for people working normal, pretty traditional jobs that just haven't kept up with the cost of living.

And that is exactly what we need more of in the city's core of Downtown is to keep improving. 

 

I know this is an architecture forum but most conversations delve into urban design/ planning and functionality.

 

Pretty buildings check the architectural aspects but function pleases me more.

 

Yeah we wet or undies fantasizing about supertalls, Mandarin Orientals, Ritz... But to me a beautiful building that adds to the residential population excites me way more.

 

Workers love suburban campuses because there is more parking, the homes near by are newer and usually more affordable. There is usually talk about less traffic... If we want all these vacant lots and decaying buildings to be made into better use we need to change that line of reasoning. But if all the housing is higher priced units like the bulk of new developments popping up around downtown in all directions then what is there for the everyday man? 

 

The corporations are who benefits the most from suburban campuses. The land is far cheaper, building low- mid rises are more feasible on the larger plots and lower buildings are cheaper to build. Plus the cheaper land allows for abundant surface parking which is loads cheaper than garages. So these corporations boost the benefits of the suburban campuses. 

 

A renewal of urban housing stock however increases the critical mass required to attract more grocery options, bars, restaurants, retail...

Business cannot thrive on just the upper earners and occasional visitor to downtown. You can clearly see the difference between before and after 5pm downtown. 

 

We won't be getting the Exxons and other part companies back in downtown but the smaller relocations can breathe new life in downtown. But it starts with bringing the people closer to these jobs. 

 

I miss my easy commute to downtown. Working on the westside is killing my soul. Yes it's newer, lots of parking etc. But the traffic is horrible, the culture is lacking and the outdoor activities are near zero. 

 

To me, the more people who can walk, bike or take a quick bus ride to work means less cars on the street during rush hour= less time looking at the rear of the car in front of me while such in traffic. 

 

So while the flashy ROD developments or the fancy hotels may wet other posters undies, I for one would rather a pleasant looking building like this one that makes it easier to attract the fancy developments. Sometimes we luck out and manage to make the cart before the horse work but we can get there easier if we put the horse first.

 

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