Jump to content

Oak Tree Manor Apartments

Guest danax

Recommended Posts

From the January 3, 2005 print edition

Senior project stirs opposition

Area residents contend county-backed complex will add to vacancy glut

Allison Wollam

Houston Business Journal

A proposed apartment complex for senior citizens with low and moderate incomes has encountered opposition from residents concerned about the development's impact on their southwest Houston neighborhood.

Developers Vernon and Elizabeth Young have applied to the Harris County Housing Finance Corp. for up to $15 million in tax-exempt bonds to build the Oak Tree Manor Apartments on the southeast corner of Fondren and Fonmeadow.

Plans call for construction of a 250-unit senior housing complex complete with a 4,500-square-foot club house and DVD theater, along with a fitness center with a swimming pool and Jacuzzi.

The residential complex will be restricted to residents 55 years of age and older.

Rental rates have not been disclosed, but a similar Young project called Lovett Manor charges $530 per month for one-bedroom units and $637 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Opponents of the proposed Oak Tree Manor project object on the grounds that the complex will add to the current glut of vacant apartments in surrounding neighborhoods. They also cite concerns about flooding and traffic congestion.

"We don't need another apartment complex in this area," states Elaine Gaskamp, president of the Houston Super Neighborhood Council 36.

"We're not opposed to all new development, but we really need to renovate some of the older apartments in the area before laying more concrete down," Gaskamp says.

She points out that almost 100 apartment complexes with an average vacancy rate of about 15 percent already inundate the area.

Blocking tactic

Earlier this year, residents of the Greater Fondren Southwest area were able to block development of a 280-unit apartment complex proposed by a Dallas real estate company.

Gaskamp says the neighborhood organization was able to substantiate the area's high number of vacancies. As a result, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs voted against granting tax credits to the Dallas developer's affordable housing complex.

Gaskamp says the community group is adopting the same strategy to keep the Oak Tree Manor project from getting off the ground.

"This complex would just add to an already serious problem we have in the area with many units sitting vacant right now," Gaskamp says. "The area is overbuilt right now with older apartment complexes. We're also questioning just what the developer means when they say 'affordable.'"

Vernon Young deflects questions about the proposed complex and the controversy surrounding the project.

"We don't want any publicity at this time," Young says. "We are a very private company, and we'd like to keep it that way."

Another round of bonds

Elizabeth Rippy, an attorney with Vinson & Elkins LLP law firm who represents the Harris County Housing Finance Corp., says funding status for the Oak Tree Manor project could hinge on the outcome of a Jan. 5 meeting.

On that date, board members of the county residential funding agency will hold a public hearing on the proposed apartment complex.

Harris County Commissioners Court will receive a report and decide whether to approve the funding, says Rippy.

If Oak Tree Manor gets the green light, it will join a similar project being developed by Young that received county approval last month.

Pepper Tree Manor, located on Antoine north of West Tidwell, was approved by commissioners court on Dec. 21.

In that case, area residents also raised concerns when the project was announced. But when nobody showed up to protest at the hearing, the project passed unanimously.

Like Oak Tree Manor, Young has reserved $15 million in bonds for the Pepper Tree Manor complex. But based on information provided to the Harris County Housing Finance Corp., Rippy does not expect the final amount of bond funding for Pepper Tree Manor to exceed $10,609,000.

Rippy says that while the bonds are issued by the county housing agency, the only asset pledged to payment of the bonds is the revenue generated by the apartment complexes.

"It's not like county funds go into the projects," Rippy says.

awollam@bizjournals.com • 713-960-5936

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • The title was changed to Oak Tree Manor Apartments

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...