Developer plans rehab of low-income apartments

The Devine Manor Senior Citizens apartments are set to undergo renovation pending purchase by KEH Development – Texas, LLC.
The 32-unit apartment -style complex, located on Dixon Dr., was built in the early 1990s. KEH, an affiliate of Hamilton Properties Corporation, plans to submit an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community (TDHCA) for Affordable Housing Tax Credits to help in financing the renovation of both Devine Manor and Pearsall Manor, a 36-unit development in Pearsall.
KEH plans to combine the two developments into one ownership entity called Pine Hills Estates, LP, in order to facilitate more favorable financing.
Josefina Garcia, Senior Finance Manager with Rural Housing Developers – Texas, LLC, was at the Feb. 19 City Council meeting on behalf of KEH, and said the company was working with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as the current owner had USDA loans.
“We’re looking at a $45,000 to $50,000 a unit renovation, so we’re not just talking about painting the walls and redoing the floor,” Garcia said.
The renovation will address general improvements as well as structural and health and safety concerns, and will bring the property into compliance with current ADA regulation, including retrofitting existing units if necessary. Energy efficient appliances will be installed, including HVAC units, and flooring will be replaced.
Additionally, KEH plans to include a community room for socializing, a fitness area with equipment, a computer area with Internet access and a printer/scanner, and covered outdoor seating areas.
The units will remain low-income housing, specifically targeting those with incomes at or below 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). Certain units will be set at 50 percent and/or 30 percent of AMI, in accordance with TDHCA guidelines.
Current residents will also have the right to move back in once renovations are complete.
“We have a full relocation plan for the residents,” Garcia said. “We’re going to cover the costs, and we’re doing [the renovation] in sections. If units are available we will work on those units and move into those. If not, the residents’ expenses to move out, their place to stay, all costs to be out of the property will be paid.”
Garcia estimated that it would take a year and half to finalize taking over the property and receive funds from the TDHCA, including eight to 10 months for the actual renovation.
In addition to owning and renovating the property, KEH will provide onsite property management.
A motion by District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez and District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott to adopt a Resolution supporting the proposed rehabilitation of Devine Manor passed unanimously, with District 3 Councilman David Espinosa and District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson voting aye.
A motion by Espinosa and Thompson to approve a $250 in-kind match to help with permits for the rehabilitation also passed 4-0.
District 1 Councilman David Valdez was absent.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer