2014-02-05 / News

New multifamily housing project in the works for city

BY TONY VINDELL
Reporter

The chronic shortage the city has with rental properties could be alleviated if a project to build a multifamily development goes through.

The Community Development Corp. of Brownsville is engaged in a plan to bring 80 one, two and three bedroom cottages to 8.7 acres on FM 3168.

The Farm-Market road has already seen a good amount of development, which includes the Raymondville Independent School District, the Willacy County Appraisal District, the Raymondville Rural Technology Training Center, John Deere Nehaus and Retama Manor Retirement Home.

The proposed development is a $12- million plus project called Casitas Los Olmos similar to another CDCB has just finished in Harlingen.

Nick Mitchell-Bennett, the agency’s executive director, held a community meeting Monday night to inform the public about the project.

“About six months ago we drove around town and saw the need for rental housing here,” he said to a group of about 25 people who met at the technology building. “We have bought several lots to build houses and added that to a laundry list of things we want to do here.”

Mitchell-Bennett said the development they hope to bring to Raymondville is a $12-million plus and are now in the process of putting together an application for a 90 percent tax credit package from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“That is a highly competitive market,” he said. “Two years ago we did that in Harlingen and had to compete against eight other communities.”

He said Feb. 28 is the deadline to submit the application.

After that, he continued, there is a lot of foot work in the month of June, lobbying in Austin and talking to as many people and agencies as time permits.

“If everything goes well, we will know in July,” Mitchell- Bennett said. “A project like this takes about a year to complete.”

Even so, he said they could built up to eight units every other month and that will allow people to move in while the development takes its course.

Mitchell-Bennett said they could build square boxes but that is not what they do.

The development they want to Raymondville will be environmentally friendly, will have a community clubhouse and a business center, a play ground, a pavilion with barbecue grills and picnic tables, walking paths and a common laundry building.

Mitchell-Bennett said the Casitas Los Olmos project will have affordable and market priced units.

Although it’s too early to talk about rental prices at this moment, rental fees at the Harlingen development are from $250 to $600 a month, depending on the number of bed- and bathrooms.

City Manager Eleazar “Yogi” Garcia Jr. said the CDCB project could help the city’s housing shortage.

“It’s something Raymondville needs,” he said. “We will address it at the next city commission meeting.”

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