Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report
A City board approved property tax discounts Wednesday for a public-private partnership that will bring 330 mixed-income housing units, headquarters for hospitality company The RK Group, and a trail system extension to the Red Berry Estate on the East Side.
The $61.8 million agreement between the City’s Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation and The RK Group and development firms NRP Group and Casey Development includes renovation and restoration of the Red Berry Mansion. The RK Group, a prominent local catering and event company, will manage the new event space.
Half of the housing units will be priced for families who make 80 percent or less of the area median income. As long as the housing remains mixed-income, the ad valorem taxes will be waived.
“Over the next 20 years, the estimated property and sales tax revenue generated onsite at the Red Berry Estate is $3.5 million,” according to a City news release. “As a result of the project, the San Antonio Independent School District will receive $8.5 million in taxes over a 20-year period. The local taxing entities will receive $16.2 million over a 20-year period. The City of San Antonio will receive $176,000 annually from ad valorem taxes and sales taxes [from] the property, versus the $60,000 spent annually on the property’s maintenance.”
The 84-acre Red Berry estate includes an 11-acre man-made lake, undeveloped land, and a historic mansion that belonged to Virgil Edward “Red” Berry, a state representative and senator who ran successful gambling houses.
Financing for the apartment project is expected in early October and a groundbreaking is set for later that month, according to the release.
The Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation comprises five Council members: Roberto Treviño (D1), Cruz Shaw (D2), Rebecca Viagran (D3), Rey Saldaña (D4), and Shirley Gonzales (D5).
The PFC also approved Wednesday an agreement with Provident Realty Advisors for its project to redevelop the Friedrich Air Conditioning company’s former manufacturing complex into a 347-unit apartment project.
City Council approved a $2.3 million incentive package for the Friedrich Lofts last week.
“Twenty-eight years after Friedrich Air Conditioning Company closed its manufacturing doors, decades of missed opportunity at the corner of East Commerce and Pine Street are finally coming to an end,” Shaw stated in a news release. “This is an incredible time of economic growth for San Antonio’s Eastside. Thanks to the PFC and City incentives, the Friedrich Lofts and Red Berry Estate redevelopments will replace blighted structures and vacant lots with needed workforce housing to accommodate our growing community.”
Both properties have seen developers and projects come and go over the last decade, but the East Side – a historically neglected area of town – has seen a swell of successful housing and mixed-use projects come its way in the last several years.
“Creating opportunities for all residents to have access to decent, safe and affordable housing has long been the charge of the San Antonio Housing Trust PFC,” Viagran stated. “We know the need for equitable development in emerging areas requires creative thinking to accomplish impactful and lasting change. Were it not for this partnership, these projects would not be realized and two vacant, unused spaces would remain empty and unutilized.”