Near Northside affordable community step closer to completion

Houston Chronicle, August 27, 2015                                                                    

Avenue Terraces, an affordable living community in the Near Northside, is one step closer to completion by mid-2016 with its construction and tax credit financing lined up.

Avenue CDC, a community development organization in the neighborhood, has built mixed-income apartments at 4300 Irvington. The construction financing is being provided by Capital One and tax credit equity financing by National Equity Fund. The apartments will be ready for occupancy by next year.

The apartment complex is one of the recent developments Avenue CDC has taken on as the group attempts to bring affordable housing to the area that is quickly attracting developers thanks to its proximity to downtown and a new rail line.  Avenue Terraces is being built next to the existing 148-unit apartment community Avenue Terrace, which was completed in 2011.  Avenue Place is also underway. The single-family affordable housing development has 49 of 95 houses completed.

Rice University’s  Kinder Institute recently wrote about stumbling across the Avenue Place homes, which are priced in the  $200,000 range, an unusual find only three miles from downtown:

The development is located within Houston’s Near Northside, a historically Hispanic, working-class neighborhood, where incomes are about 60 percent of the city’s average and much of the housing stock is not well-maintained. It sits atop a 20-acre site that originally served as a FedEx truck depot surrounded by residential communities, a symptom of Houston’s lack of zoning.

… Next came the nearby Avenue Place subdivision of single-family homes. To date, 52 homes have been built. Eventually, it will include 95 homes. Those single-family homes range from 1,400 to 2000 square feet and cost $161,000 to $254,000.

Buyers earning less than 80 percent of the median income can get subsidies of up to $86,000. Those earning less than 120 percent of median income can get a $26,000 subsidy. Before anyone purchases a home, they undergo counseling to discuss the responsibilities and obligations of home ownership.

Avenue CDC has deliberately tried to create a neighborhood with a mix of incomes.

  • 17 percent of homeowners are considered low-income, earning 80 percent or less of area median income (AMI). AMI in the Houston area is about $69,000 per year.
  • 46 percent earn 80 to 120 percent of AMI, which is considered moderate income.
  • 35 percent earn greater than 120 percent of AMI. 
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