During a quick city council meeting on Tuesday, the members elected to show their support for a new housing project to be developed in the coming years. The project, which is slated for completion in 2021, will be funded by MRE Capital, LLC.
MRE Capital has developed 18 residential developments throughout the Midwest, including five in Texas. The firm uses a mix of state housing credits and historic renovation credits to fund their projects. MRE wishes to renovate the historic Physicians and Surgeons Hospital building located at 320 E. Third Street, which has long been an eyesore to many in the community. The building was home to Christus Spohn Hospital before the hospital moved into its current location in Alice.
The development would provide anywhere from 48-60 apartments which would be available to those who qualify based on income. The rent would be capped and only those renters who make less than a certain amount annually would be able to apply for an apartment. While the exact amount is still uncertain, preliminary numbers were discussed.
Those making less than $24,000 per year in single person household or those making less than $35,000 per year in a four-person household would be eligible if the preliminary numbers hold true.
The resolution to lend support was not without debate, but passed unanimously in the end. The timeline for scheduled development has construction set to begin in the spring of 2020. The total cost of the project would be $9.9 million, with 75 percent of those funds coming from historic and housing funds offered by the state.
“I think this project is very good for our city,” said Michael Esparza, Alice City Manager, during the meeting. “I think it cleans up that area of town.”
Mayor Jolene Vanover expressed her concern at having an abundance of low-income housing and not enough for those who have a moderate income.
“I’m trying to be the voice for the working class citizen,” said Vanover, when discussing the need for non-rent capped housing with the council.
Despite the disagreement, the council voted unanimously to support the project and with that approval, the development company can begin their work of getting things rolling.