Downtown Dallas appears set to get its first sizable block of affordable housing in nearly a decade with the building of a residential tower near the newly reopened Dallas High School building on the Central Business District's eastern edge.
The project by Matthews Southwest, the developer behind the old high school's rehab, received a thumbs-up from the City Council on Wednesday. That gives the company an edge as it seeks tax credits from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The city could potentially put additional money into the project as development continues, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said.
The 14- or 15-story building to be built at 2400 Bryan St. will have four or five floors of parking and nine or 10 stories of apartments. Of the 230 apartments planned for the site, 110 will be reserved for low-income tenants. Twelve units will be available to those making less than 30 percent of the area's median family income. Forty-six will be set aside for those making less than 40 percent of the median, and the remaining 52 affordable units will be available to those making no more than 50 percent of the downtown area's median family income. Currently, the CityWalk building at 511 N. Akard, which reopened in 2010, is downtown's only option for lower-income renters.
Dallas City Council member Philip Kingston, who represents the area, praised the project as model for the city as it tries to make affordable housing available across Dallas, rather than in concentrated areas.
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"Instead of doing another high-end mixed-use development, [Matthews Southwest] is doing affordable housing, and they're doing real affordable housing," Kingston said. "I went and asked Matthews Southwest, I said, 'You guys just sunk all this money into this expensive project next door, and you're OK with people making 50 percent of the area median income living next door to your high-end project?' They said absolutely. I think we need to hear that from every developer that comes down here."
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News earlier this month, Jack Matthews, the president of Matthews Southwest, said he hopes the project opens up downtown to a variety of Dallasites who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
"Our strong belief is that downtown really needs more housing options, and this could be a great addition," Matthews said. "Having teachers and police, etc., living in the city is a great thing."
The project is expected to break ground early next year and be completed by Aug. 31, 2021.