The Brenham City Council was informed Thursday about a prospective mixed-income community housing development on the west side of town.
Trinity Housing Development Vice President Michael Fogel spoke to the council about Brenham Junction, a 48-unit, non-age-restricted complex proposed on the north side of Highway 290, west of Westwood Lane.
The item was only for discussion so no action was taken, but the developer will soon seek a resolution of support from the council so that it can receive tax credit funding through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to build the project. It also intends to ask for a property tax abatement from the city and county.
Fogel said having purely market rate apartments would be a riskier investment due to rising interest rates and costs, but supplementing the development with tax credit funding is a steady way to support bringing in more housing.
Of the 48 one- to three-bedroom units at Brenham Junction, Fogel said half of them are planned to be bound to tax credit rent and income restrictions at or below 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI). Fourteen units will be full market rate, and the remaining 10 would be for what he called workforce housing, or 80 percent AMI.
Trinity Housing Development is currently working on another project in Brenham, that being Brenham Trails on South Market Street, a 49-unit apartment complex with one- and two-bedroom units to lease for seniors 55 and older. Fogel said while Brenham Trails did not need an abatement, things are different now from when that project got started.
Fogel said the tax credit funding would finance a large portion of the project to help provide the reduced rent tied to income levels. However, without the property tax abatement, he said he would have to do fewer market rate units and underwrite them at “an unrealistic rent level.”
Brenham | Washington County Economic Development Director Susan Cates said $689,000 in tax credits are being requested for this project.
Fogel said Brenham Junction would not be Section 8 or public housing, and instead would be privately owned and operated by them for the duration of the 30-year abatement agreement. Income levels for applicants and residents would be reviewed annually. He said the project would take a few years to get underway, but before leasing begins, there would be effort to recruit local applicants. He also noted TxDOT’s plans to improve the Highway 290 – Highway 36 interchange and said that would not impact this development.
The state will not grant funding to the developer without a council resolution showing support for the project. The deadline for the developer to receive that resolution is March 1st.