CDCB project back on track; Palo Alto Groves will start with 129-single family homes - Brownsville Herald: Local News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

CDCB project back on track; Palo Alto Groves will start with 129-single family homes

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2020 9:30 pm

Palo Alto Groves, a state-of-the-art, mixed-income subdivision that was ready to break ground in 2018 but hit a snag is back on track.

In 2017, Come Build.Come Dream (formerly the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville) bought 220 acres east of the Brownsville Sports Park on which to build the subdivision, which called for 675 single-family homes to be sold, 300 to 400 multi-family rental cottages, two parks and five miles of hike-and-bike trails.

The city had already approved a first-phase plat for 129 single-family houses and 150 multi-family when the city commission, in August 2018 at the request of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, twice tabled CDCB’s request to rezone a portion of the tract from Dwelling “Z” to Apartment “G.”

GBIC had hoped to acquire the CDCB property as part of an effort to aggregate land for a 1,000-plus acre industrial park. A deal never happened, however, and GBIC dropped the effort after a steel company it had been courting chose a site elsewhere in Texas.

CDCB Executive Director Nick Mitchell-Bennett said the project will cost more to build as a result of the delay though construction on Palo Alto Groves is nevertheless again set to begin.

“We held onto it,” he said. “We just kept going at it.”

Mitchell-Bennett said he met with the new mayor and city commissioners about the project, won their support and received authorization.

“It took about three and half months to get ramped back up,” he said. “I had to reinstitute my development loan. Right now I’m just waiting to close that. I have a contractor that will be starting on infrastructure, already signed a contract, already ready to go. I’m hoping around August or September you’re going to start seeing houses come out of the ground.”

CDCB wanted to build the project using a financing mechanism known as a Tax Increment Reimbursement Zone, though the commission last year voted against granting CDCB’s request for a TIRZ.

“They have so far said that they are not interested in a TIRZ at this point,” Mitchell-Bennett said. “I am still working on that. I think that an affordable-housing TIRZ is one of the answers to Brownsville’s affordable housing issue, and not just for this neighborhood.”

Under the law, 100 percent of the property tax revenue generated in an affordable-housing TIRZ can be used to develop affordable housing anywhere within the taxing jurisdiction, not just within the TIRZ, he said.

Palo Alto Groves will feature single-family starter homes priced from $120,000 to $200,000, though the multi-family portion is on hold for now, Mitchell-Bennett said. When the development is completely built out in seven to nine years, it will consist of 674 starter homes and 300 to 400 rental cottages, he said.

CDCB is partnering with Esperanza Homes of McAllen to build the project’s single-family residences, he said. Palo Alto Groves will also be the site of an IDEA Public Schools campus scheduled to open in 2022.

“We can actually have a mixed-income community and take some of those funds that are raised there to do reconstruction of older units downtown,” Mitchell-Bennett said. “Housing in colonias can use those funds, as long as we use that money for affordable housing property.

“We don’t have to rely on federal subsidies. Right now we rely 100 percent on federal help for affordable housing, and right now the federal government is not a big fan of affordable housing and poor people.”

Federal funding through U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s HOME affordable housing block grant program has been slashed, Mitchell-Bennett noted. Brownsville has always had an affordable housing problem, though it’s not always obvious since families will double or even triple up in houses rather than allow any member to be homeless, he said.

“So what I’m looking for is a tool that will make the city self reliant in affordable housing,” Mitchell-Bennett said. “If it’s a TIRZ, fantastic. If it’s not, but another tool, Brownsville needs to be able to find something long lasting so it’s not just federal funds to assist with our affordable housing issues.”

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com

Follow us on Facebook

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>