Alamo Community Group breaks ground on affordable housing project near SAMA

86 units to be reserved for families earning less than 60% of area median income

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter, Andrew Wilson - Digital Producer

SAN ANTONIO - A nonprofit group is preparing to bring an affordable housing project to a neighborhood better known for the Pearl and high-end apartment buildings.

The Alamo Community Group broke ground on its Museum Reach Lofts project at the corner of West Jones Avenue and North St. Mary's Street on Wednesday morning. Out of the 95 units in the building, 86 will be reserved and priced for people earning either 30%, 50% or 60% of the area median income, with the rent for those ranging from $329 to $894 per month.

For a family of four, 30% of the AMI equates to $20,040, and 60% equates to $40,080.

The remaining nine apartments would be rented closer to market value, though the most expensive two-bedroom and two-bathroom options would still only be $1,277.

"You create a community where it's diverse and everyone can live together," said ACG Executive Director Jennifer Gonzalez after a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning. "That way, you don't have a concentration of poverty, and you also don't have a concentration of wealth."

At the same ceremony, Assistant City Manager Lori Houston said it was the area's first affordable housing project.

ACG's mission revolves around providing affordable housing. For this project, it is hoping to provide homes for people who might work in the area.

"Those may be your paraprofessionals. Those are your servers, your housekeepers," Gonzalez said. "And for them to have to commute 45 (minutes) to get to work makes that very difficult."

In addition to a state tax credit program, the project is receiving an estimated $4.2 million worth of incentives from the city, according to a spokeswoman for the Center City Development and Operations Department.

Houston said layers of incentives are necessary to get developers to create affordable housing.

"Because when you're providing for affordability at that 30% AMI level, that is a very, very low rental rate, and you need to provide those incentives to subsidize that rent to make it happen," Houston said.

The city announced in a January news release that the project was one of four projects to apply for incentives under the city's rebooted Center City Housing Incentive Policy. Of the 515 rental units included in the applications, 238 would be reserved for families making less than 60% AMI, including Museum Reach Lofts' 86 units.

The Museum Reach Lofts are expected to be completed with units available sometime in late 2020.

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