Nonprofit Plans Affordable Housing on Former Alamo Colleges Property Downtown

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Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The property at 811 West Houston St. will include 170 affordable living units.

Downtown property vacated when the Alamo Colleges District moved to its new headquarters on North Alamo Street is set to become affordable housing on the near West Side.

Alamo Community Group (ACG), a local affordable housing nonprofit, announced Tuesday it purchased from Alamo Colleges the 1.25-acre property at 811 West Houston St. and plans to build a multifamily housing development with 170 affordable units.

Units will be made available to families earning less than 30 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent, and 80 percent of the area median income, said Michael Shackelford, director of policy and resource at ACG.

The development will be named Cattleman Square Lofts and is slated to begin leasing in November 2021.

ACG made an offer on the property about a year ago, said Jennifer Gonzalez, ACG’s executive director. But the transaction couldn’t be completed until Alamo Colleges moved to its new headquarters.

“In the meantime, we were working on our end, doing our due diligence, determining what we could build on the site,” Gonzalez said. “We purchased it with the intention of developing affordable or workforce housing, and that’s still our intention.”

The price of the deal, which closed Oct. 23, was not disclosed.

Cattleman Square Lofts would bring more affordable housing options to the area as the downtown campus of the University of Texas at San Antonio expands over the next five years.

ACG is working with the Sage Group architects on designs and a site plan for the L-shaped property, and how to incorporate an historic building that will remain on the property. An office building on the site will be demolished.

“It’s going to be very similar [to our other properties] with a 3,000-square-foot leasing and learning center space,” Gonzalez said. “But because we’re downtown, the parking [to unit] ratio is different than some of our suburban properties.”

For that reason, ACG has been talking with VIA Metropolitan Transit about Cattleman Square Lofts becoming a “transit-oriented development,” she said. “We recognized in our conversations with VIA that their ridership is the perfect customer for our workforce units.”

The nonprofit ACG owns and manages 10 properties throughout the city and recently completed renovations on the century-old Calcasieu Building on Broadway Street and will soon start construction on Tarasco Gardens, a single-family housing development near U.S. Highway 90 and Loop 410.

Construction is underway on ACG’s 94-unit residential complex at North St. Mary’s Street and Jones Avenue, near the Pearl. Museum Reach Lofts will be the first affordable, workforce rental apartments to be developed in the midtown area. It will be completed in November 2020, Gonzalez said.

ACG is a nonprofit community housing development organization, commonly referred to as CHDO, that got its start as the Alamo Area Regional Housing Association in 1990. ACG’s eviction rate is less than 1 percent, due in part to a resident program put in place to prevent evictions.

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