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Putting the "Expensive" In Afforable Housing As City Contemplates the Old LTV Tower

Three months ago, I spoke with Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, about the enormous pile of cash Curtis Lockey wants from the city in order to redo the old LTV Tower -- about $76 million from the Downtown Connection Tax Increment Financing District for a project guesstimated to cost the developer $112.5 million. Zavitkovsky thought that even though Lockey was promising a lot -- nearly 600 resident units, more than a third of them affordable housing, and 15,000 square feet of retail -- that number was a bit high and has been trying to whittle it down for months. And so $76 million is now $70 million, according to briefing documents in front of the city council's Economic Development and Housing committees today. Though, once you add in "the estimated interest amount of this request" ($52,368,467), the city says that the "total developer's TIF request" is more like $123,287,952. To be precise.

The city would like to do some kind of a deal for myriad reasons, chief among them: Re-opening LTV would get nearly half a million square feet of empty off the City's Vacant Building Registration list, and, look, downtown's high on this mayor's to-do list. But even more significant: "The project will create a total of 236 affordable housing units (30% more than required for TIF base funding) along an existing DART rail line," which is a big deal, as there's almost no affordable housing downtown, with the exception of Central Dallas Ministries' CityWalk@Akard. Though word is that plus could be a minus, as some council members fear putting too much affordable housing in one spot. It goes before the Downtown Connection TIF board May 29.

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