Center City Development Office Update

Last June City Council approved two programs focused on the goal of having more people live within our Center City.

The first program was recommended by the Downtown Strategic Framework Plan and the Center City Implementation Plan to foster a greater density of housing in the Center City.

We have just completed the first full year of the program, known as the Center City Housing Incentive Program or more commonly called CCHIP.

City Council approved the program on June 21, 2012 for the purpose of providing predictability for developers as well as streamlining the process for determining development incentives for multi-family housing projects in the Center City.  Eligible projects within the CRAG can receive City and SAWS fee waivers, property tax rebates, low interest loans, and forgivable loans for mixed-use projects.

The program encourages mixed-use development, brownfield redevelopment, historic rehabilitation, and mixed income development.  Through SA2020 and the Framework Plan, a stretch housing goal was set at 7,500 new housing units by 2020; in its first year, the CCHIP program has put 14% of those units under contract for construction

The results of the program have been impressive

  • 13 CCHIP projects with signed agreements
  • 1,050 new housing units planned or under construction in the inner city
  • Approximately $160 million in private investment in the past year
  • Total Incentives provided – $10,155,350
    • $3,160,655 in fee waivers
    • $6,366,695 in real property tax rebates
    • $248,000 in low-interest loans
    • $380,000 in forgivable loans

CCHIP Projects Examples Include

  • The Elan Riverwalk at 411 E. Cesar Chavez – 350 rental units on the Univision Headquarters site on St/ Mary’s and Cesar Chavez.  (Construction Start in Fall 2013; Completion in Spring 2015)
  • East Quincy Town Homes at 1120 E Quincy – 25 for sale town homes in the Midtown TIRZ on Quincy and Newell Street. (Construction Start in Summer 2013; Completion in Fall 2014)
  • Casa Blanca Lofts at 1542 North Alamo – 17 for sale condominiums on the corner of Casa Blanca and North Alamo in the Midtown TIRZ.
  • Sutton Oaks Phase 2 at 1010 Locke Street – 208 affordable housing units in the Choice neighborhood.

We have 2 CCHIP agreements for 2 student housing projects on the West Side of our downtown:

  • Peanut Factory Lofts at 905 S Frio Street – 98 rental units of which 30% will be leased to students.
  • El Paso Co-Op at 509 El Paso – 72 student housing units with 7,000 square feet of retail.

Both of the housing projects are in line with the recently completed student housing study that identified the need for up to 550 student housing units by 2020.  Additionally, both of these projects acquired city – owned property for the development which is in line with the Implementation Plan recommendation to strategically dispose of publicly owned land.

The goal set forth by the Strategic Framework Plan was to increase the housing units by 7,500 by 2020.  At this moment, we have increased the housing unit count in the Strategic Framework Plan Boundary area by 2,451 multi-family housing units.  We are almost one third of the way to our goal.

The Second program, which was approved on June 14, 2012, was the Home Ownership Program for Employees or HOPE which was a pilot developed for City employees to assist in the retention and recruitment of full-time city employees as well as to provide first-time home-ownership opportunities in the Inner City/Infill Policy (ICRIP) target area.

  • The pilot program received one-time funding of $240,000.  To qualify a person must be:
    • A full-time city employee.
    • A 1st time home buyer purchasing a home within the San Antonio city limits.
    • Able to qualify for a mortgage loan through their bank or another financial institution with reasonable loan terms.
    • Purchase a single family home, condominium, or vacant lot in the ICRIP target area where a new home can be built.  The home must be the employee’s homestead.

Employees can receive $5,000 to $10,000 deferred loan down payment and closing costs depending on the home’s location in the center city.  The loan is a 0% loan and 20% of the loan is forgiven annually over a 5 year period provided the employee remains with the City.

To date Twelve (12) City employees have purchased a house with assistance from HOPE.

  • Nine (9) of those are within the CRAG or the original 36 square miles of the City and received $10,000 in assistance.
  • Three (3) are within the ICRIP target area and received $5,000 in assistance.
  • The average sales price for the 12 loans is $106,118.
  • And we anticipate that 3 more will close within the next 30 days.

As of today, the available balance available for assistance is approximately $93k

The Center City Development Office administers and markets the program, while the Planning & Community Development executes and monitors the grants as well as conducts the home buyer classes.

Currently 82 city employees have begun the process of HOPE Program and are in various stages of completion.

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