The 119-home project is meant to ensure the availability of housing for low- and moderate-income families in Houston's burgeoning Innovation Corridor, where construction is expected to bring more job opportunities but also raise property taxes, according to a July 22 press release from the city of Houston Housing and Community Development Department. The four-mile area extends from the Texas Medical Center to downtown and includes the upcoming Ion tech collaboration hub.
The six-story project will occupy the portion of the block between McIlhenny and McGowan streets, and an existing office building formerly occupied by the Salvation Army will be demolished. The project, which is being developed by the Mark-Dana Corporation, received a letter of support from the Midtown Management District Board of Directors in February.
A total of 80 of the 119 apartment units, will be available at affordable prices with rental rates determined by the income of each occupant, according to the release. The rental rate for a two-bedroom apartment will be as low as $450 per month for a family of four making just under $24,000 annually.
"This affordability strategy ensures that essential workers, such as pharmacy technicians, childcare providers, grocery clerks and nurses, can live near their jobs and pharmacies, grocery stores, parks, the METRO Red Line, and other public resources," according to the release. "Development in Midtown has accelerated over the past several years, and Caroline Lofts will be critical to ensuring that essential workers and long-time residents of Midtown are not displaced."
The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $39.9 million, with the remainder of the cost being covered by state-approved tax credits and private lenders. The $19.6 million from the city of Houston comes from the Hurricane Harvey Multifamily Program, which was established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development following Hurricane Harvey and is overseen by the Texas General Land Office.
The ground floor of the project will serve as a parking garage, amenity center and retail space, according to a project description published in April prior to the HHCD request for Harvey grant funds. Amenities will include a community room, business center with computers and internet access, fitness room, community laundry room, and swimming pool. Social services such as credit counseling, homebuyer education, financial planning and notary services will be available to residents onsite at no cost.
Other projects to get funding from the Harvey multifamily program in Houston—which will use $450 million to create roughly 3,500 affordable homes—include the 135-unit Heritage Senior Residences and the rebuilding of a 197-unit project at 2100 Memorial Drive.
Caroline Lofts will be built with floodproofing design elements, according to the July 22 release.
“Caroline Lofts exemplifies our commitment to forward-looking disaster recovery planning,” said Ray Miller, assistant director of multifamily development at the city of Houston Housing and Community Development Department, in a statement. “We’re not just building back homes from Harvey; we’re building homes that will be more resilient during the next major Houston storm.”
A timeline for the project has not been announced.