Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times
Mon, August 15, 2022 at 12:19 PM
Two El Paso apartment developers and the El Paso housing authority recently received millions of dollars in federal tax credits to help finance construction of three low-income housing projects in the next three years in El Paso, Socorro and the Clint area in El Paso County’s Lower Valley.
Tropicana Building; Investment Builders Inc., or IBI; and HOME, formerly known as the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, were awarded $29.34 million in federal tax credits in late July from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to help finance the projects with a combined cost of more than $37 million.
HOME’s planned single-family, rental housing project on the edge of Clint is its first project outside El Paso city limits as part of a new partnership with El Paso County as the city housing agency expands its jurisdiction, according to a HOME statement.
Tropicana, IBI and HOME also received $4.2 million in supplemental tax credits in July for three other housing projects, in El Paso and Clint, which were awarded $33.6 million in tax credits in 2020. Tropicana’s 2020 project was recently completed and IBI’s is to be completed this year. The supplemental awards are to help developers with unexpected costs tied to COVID-19 pandemic-related construction delays and other problems, an agency official said.
The projects come as the El Paso area’s rental market continues to be tight with low vacancies and record-high rents, a fallout from the pandemic.
The state agency allocates millions of dollars annually to companies and agencies in Texas to help finance low-income housing projects. The developers sell the tax credits to companies that use them to decrease federal tax bills. That money helps finance housing projects that must rent a certain number of housing units to low-income tenants based on family incomes.
Tropicana, IBI and HOME have built dozens of low-income housing projects with federal tax credits over many years.
“Without the tax credits, we wouldn’t be able to do the projects,” said Bobby Bowling IV, president of Tropicana Building, which specializes in building low-income apartments. The tax credits help finance about 70% of project costs, with the rest coming from conventional loans and company money, he said.
Tropicana has 40 low-income apartment projects in the El Paso area, including a 48-unit complex starting construction in Vinton in September. Thirty-seven of those were financed mostly with low-income tax credits, Bowling said. It plans to build its 41st low-income apartment complex with its latest tax-credits’ award for Fiesta Palms.
Tropicana’s Fiesta Palms apartment complex with 60 low-income units and 20 market-rate units will be at 1080 Horizon Blvd., in Socorro, in El Paso County’s Lower Valley. It will look similar to other Tropicana apartment complexes, including the recently completed Artcraft Palms in far West El Paso. Construction is set to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2024,
Project cost: $16 million, including $11.5 million for construction, $400,000 land acquisition, and $4.5 million in other development costs. Tropicana was awarded $11 million in tax credits for the project.
Tropicana Homes, another company owned by Bobby Bowling and his brother, Randy Bowling, plans to build 220 single-family homes surrounding the apartment complex on the 50-acre site. It’s done similar single-family developments around other low-income apartment complexes, including Artcraft Palms in far West El Paso, where 65 single-family homes are being built on surrounding acreage, Bowling said.
Tropicana sells about 20 homes a year to people who live in Tropicana apartments, Bowling said. It has a program to encourage renters to become homeowners, Bowling said.
IBI’s Sunset Vista Seniors, a 44-unit apartment complex for low-income seniors, ages 55 and older, will be at 1333 Pullman Drive, in far East El Paso. It will be located between two other IBI apartment complexes – Casitas Del Este, a 78-unit, market-rate apartment complex, and Keystone Place, a 52-unit, low-income apartment complex. Construction is set to begin January 2023 and be completed by December 2025.
Project cost: $9.75 million, including $6.24 million in construction costs, $424,490 land acquisition, and $3.1 million in other costs. IBI was awarded $9.34 million in tax credits for the project.
One of IBI’s specialties is building low-income senior apartments, said Roy Lopez, IBI senior vice president. It currently operates three low-income senior apartments, with a total of 267 units, that it built. It sold seven other senior complexes, also with a total of 267 units, that it built over the years, he said.
HOME’s Kinship Community, 44 single-family, rental homes will be on 6.5 acres of former farmland at Alameda and Alamito Creek avenues on the edge of Clint, about 23 miles east of Downtown El Paso. It’s near Clint High School. El Paso County commissioners preferred this concept for Clint, according to a HOME statement. Construction is set to begin in late 2022 and be completed by December 2024.
Project cost: $11.6 million, including $7.12 million for construction, $1.13 million land acquisition, and $3.4 million in other costs. The housing authority was awarded $9 million in tax credits for the project.
This is the El Paso housing agency’s first project outside city limits.
“The reason for this (El Paso County) partnership is to bring additional resources – HOME’s financing and capacity − to develop in the areas of the county that are currently underserved and would benefit from high quality new affordable housing,” according to a HOME statement.
Older projects include planned apartments in Uptown El Paso
Older projects that were awarded supplemental tax credits in July are:
Tropicana’s Artcraft Palms, at 6137 Will Jordan Place in far West El Paso, was recently completed and is expected to open in September. It has 100 low-income apartments and 24 market-rate units. More than half the units had been rented by early August, Bowling said.
Project cost: $22.3 million, including $15.7 million construction, $1.6 million land acquisition, and $5 million in other costs. Awarded $12.3 million in tax credits in 2020 and $1.85 million in supplemental tax credits in July.
IBI’s Inkwood Estates, at 107 San Elizario Road in Clint in El Paso County’s Lower Valley, is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The complex features 40 separate rental homes on 7.9 acres of former farmland. Clint town officials preferred this concept over an apartment complex, Lopez said. HOME’s planned Kinship Community in the Clint area is a similar concept.
Project cost: $11.5 million, including $7.8 million construction cost, $481,774 land acquisition, and $3.2 million in other costs. Was awarded $9 million in tax credits in 2020 and $517,500 in supplemental tax credits in July.
HOME’s Nuestra Senora, 80 units at 415 Montana Ave., is in El Paso’s so-called Uptown, near the new El Paso Independent School District headquarters. The project was delayed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regulatory review of the project and by pandemic-related supply chain issues, according to a HOME statement. Its construction date has not been set yet, but completion is projected for the end of 2024.
Project cost: $16.1 million, including $10.2 million for construction, $1.06 million property acquisition, and $4.8 million in other costs. It was awarded $12.3 million in tax credits in 2020 and $1.85 million in supplemental tax credits in July.
Vic Kolenc may be reached at 915-546-6421; firstname.lastname@example.org; @vickolenc on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: