Howe officials have good reason to be joyous with the announcement on Monday by state officials of a $5 million investment to construct new apartment homes in their city. The community, named Abbington Meadows of Howe, will create 64 units of both market-rate and below-market workforce housing at Hall Cemetery Rd. on the west side.
Based on the strength of the project concept as well as community support, the project was the highest-ranked housing credit application in Texas this year.
“The City Council and I are very excited about Abbington Meadows coming to Howe,” said Mayor Jeff Stanley. “It is a well needed part of the future growth of the city.”
“We’re excited,” added City Administrator Joe Shephard. “We all knew development was coming our way through Van Alstyne and it is here. We hope this jump starts commercial and residential development.”
Abbington Meadows will be jointly developed and owned by Rea Ventures Group, an Atlanta-based firm with more than 3,600 multi-family units throughout the Southeast, and Austin Stone, a Texas developer with extensive experience in workforce housing. The project is being designed by Martin Riley Associates and Cole Engineering and will be built by Great Southern Contractors. Upon completion, the property will be managed and maintained with onsite staff from Alpha Barnes Real Estate Services in Dallas.
“We are excited to become a part of the Howe community,” said Sean Brady, Vice President of Development at Rea Ventures. “Howe’s leadership is pro-growth and great to work with. The city and surrounding area will benefit from the new, quality housing we can provide as well as the infrastructure improvements that will take place. This location, right on Highway 75, will also allow Abbington Meadows to provide convenient access to a wealth of employment opportunities in nearby Sherman as well as North Dallas.”
The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) will provide the principal investment through a competitively-won allocation of 9 percent housing tax credits. Abbington Meadows was the only project funded with 9 percent credits by TDHCA for 2013 in the 19-county rural area of Region 3. TDHCA has never funded a project before in Howe. Other funding will include a permanent loan from the US Department of Agriculture.
Rents at Abbington Meadows will range from $750 per month to $255 per month for a 1-bedroom unit, $850 per month to $310 per month for a 2-bedroom unit, and $975 per month to $362 per month for a 3-bedroom unit. The lower rents will be made available to working families with lower incomes while higher market rents are open to any residents. Typical residents in workforce housing include teachers, entry-level police officers or other emergency responders, retail workers, restaurant staff, bank tellers, or retired individuals on a pension.
The buildings will be high-quality multi-story buildings comprised of a hardiplank and brick exterior. Energy efficiency and sustainable building standards will be followed in design and construction. Construction is expected to begin in December 2013 with lease-up starting in Fall of 2014.