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The original item was published from 4/25/2023 8:20:00 AM to 10/26/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: April 25, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Victoria Housing Finance Corporation talks current, upcoming projects

Mike Etienne, at the City Council podium, addresses HFC members seated at the dais.

PHOTO #1: Assistant City Manager Dr. Mike Etienne, right, updates the Victoria Housing Finance Corporation board—from left, Councilwoman Jan Scott, Councilman Rafael DeLaGarza and Councilman Dr. Andrew Young—about Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity’s plan to build six homes in Silver City.

With home prices rising in Victoria and around the state, the City is working proactively to encourage development of budget-friendly housing.

On April 21, the Victoria Housing Finance Corporation met to discuss and hear updates about different housing initiatives.

About the Victoria Housing Finance Corporation

The VHFC is a nonprofit entity, headed by a board of three City Council members, that works to facilitate the development of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents.

The VHFC does not use tax funding; it is financially self-sufficient, collecting developer fees and bond issuance fees that it can use for future projects.

At the meeting, Assistant Director of Finance Wesley Janacek shared a financial update showing a positive cash balance for the VHFC and listing revenues and expenditures. The update may be viewed in full at www.victoriatx.gov/vhfc.

Partnership with Habitat for Humanity

The VHFC heard an update about Golden Crescent Habitat for Humanity’s plan to build six homes in Silver City, and the board agreed to help fund the installation of water and sewer services at four of the six lots.

The City has previously partnered with Habitat for Humanity through the Brush Up program, which provides minor exterior maintenance during Keep Victoria Beautiful neighborhood cleanups.

Enchanted Gardens Apartments

A new playground in a fenced-off area at an apartment complex, with caution tape on one ladder.PHOTO #2: The amenities at Enchanted Gardens include a swimming pool and a play area. A dog park is also under construction at the complex.

Last year, the VHFC hosted a ribbon-cutting at Enchanted Gardens, a new apartment complex with units priced for working households.

Today, four of the complex’s eight buildings are open to tenants, with the rest expected to open by the end of May. Assistant City Manager Mike Etienne shared images of the complex, which includes a swimming pool, a play area and a dog park (still under construction).

To learn more about the apartments, visit www.enchantedgardensapt.com. To be added to the waiting list for a unit, call 361-212-3707 or stop by the apartments at 4601 N. Ben Jordan St.

Odem Street Apartments

The VHFC also heard an update about another workforce apartment complex, tentatively named the Odem Street Apartments, that is planned for the southside.

Construction was scheduled to begin last year, but the developer, The NRP Group, is pausing this and other projects due to poor nationwide market conditions—in particular, high interest rates.

The NRP Group Vice President of Development Max Whipple, who attended the meeting via Zoom, assured the VHFC that the developer remains committed to the project, reminding the board that The NRP Group has already invested significantly in the design of the new complex. The developer will continue to monitor the market to determine when to move forward with the project.

The Victorian

Etienne also briefly updated the board on a non-VHFC project: The Victorian, a proposed apartment complex for residents aged 55 and older.

Realtex Development Corporation is in the process of applying for a competitive tax credit allocation from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the project. Etienne reported that the complex is one of two finalists being considered for an allocation. The TDHCA will announce its decision in July.

To help Realtex’s application, the City Council in February provided the TDHCA with a formal resolution of support for the project.

The Council provided a similar resolution for FishPond at Victoria, another senior-serving complex that received an allocation last year. Construction on FishPond is scheduled to start in the summer.

Infill housing

Last year, the City announced a new program that will encourage builders to build reasonably priced homes on vacant lots. Lot owners can donate their properties to the program in exchange for forgiveness of code enforcement liens. The City will then give the land to builders who will build homes well below Victoria’s median home prices.

Assistant City Attorney Allison Lacey told the VHFC that the program has not yet received any property donations, but staff are continuing to reach out to property owners who could benefit from the program.

The City will accept no more than 10 properties during the first year of the program. Property owners with outstanding liens may contact the City Manager’s Office at 361-485-3030 or vmorales@victoriatx.gov for more information.

To learn more about how the City is working to encourage housing development, visit www.victoriatx.gov/housing.

Sam Hankins is the communications specialist for the City of Victoria.

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