Members of the Houston City Council approved a development agreement Nov. 8 with the nonprofit Covenant House that includes the sale of an abandoned alley near Lovett Boulevard in Montrose.

What happened

Council members unanimously approved two separate agenda items during the council's Nov. 8 meeting.
  • The first item approved a restrictions and development agreement with Covenant House related to the sale of a city-owned, 12-foot-wide alley near Lovett Boulevard that runs from Mount Vernon Street on the west to Yoakum Boulevard on the east.
  • The second item approved the abandonment of the alley to Covenant House in exchange for services and cash installments over the next five years.
The background

The Montrose-based nonprofit Covenant House works to help homeless youth specifically in the 18-24 age bracket. Officials broke ground in March on a new facility at the southwest corner of Lovett and Yoakum boulevards that will allow for a 50% increase in the number of homeless youth who can be sheltered.

The alley that Covenant House will purchase runs through the center of the site where the new facility will be located.

The details

Under the agreement, Houston will sell the alley for $590,072.
  • Covenant House will pay the city $100,000 over the next five years, paying $20,000 per year.
  • The remaining $490,072 will be paid in nonmonetary compensation, according to city information, including cost avoidance to the city over the next 20 years, assuming a minimum $25,000 in cost avoidance each year. The city's police and fire departments were named specifically as entities that will see cost savings because of fewer expected emergency calls related to homeless youth.
A closer look

Under the agreement, the land the city is abandoning must used by Covenant House for purposes related to its mission for the next 20 years. The agreement also requires Covenant House to construct a 10-foot-wide sidewalk along Lovett Boulevard between Yoakum and Mount Vernon, which is an element of the city's Rethinking Lovett Boulevard plan.

Lastly, Covenant House will be required to construct an 8-inch sanitary sewer line within the city's right of way adjacent to the property.

What's next

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 on the new Covenant House facility, a four-story, 104,000-square-foot building that will feature a chapel, a career center, recreational facilities, rooms for art and music, a library, and a commercial kitchen.