Magnolia Homes and Cedar Terrace opened with great fanfare in 1953. As happened in many public housing communities, the initial success of the public housing in giving families safe, modern, stable housing options was reversed as flaws in the structure public housing program (including a lack of maintenance and operating dollars) began to undermine the system. The two communities gradually, over two decades, began to slide into disrepair, obsolescence and isolation.
On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall on Galveston and the storm surge effectively destroyed both Magnolia Homes and Cedar Terrace. Shortly after the hurricane waters receded, the Galveston Public Housing Authority demolished what remained and the families who had lived in those units were given emergency housing vouchers and were scattered across the region and beyond.
The Galveston Housing Authority selected McCormack Baron Salazar through a competitive Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process in late June 2011 to serve as the developer for the revitalization of the Magnolia Homes and Cedar Terrace communities.
An efficient and thorough community engagement process with extensive outreach and multiple opportunities for dialogue resulted in a design and mix of units that satisfy the needs and requirements of a variety of constituencies. The designs for the 122 homes at the Cedars at Carver Park (the former Cedar Terrace site) and the 160 homes at Villas on the Strand (Magnolia Homes) reflect the architectural character and flavor of Galveston, from the Victorians on the East End to the Seaside Homes on the western point. The homes are environmentally sustainable, following Enterprise Green Communities and the structures have a “raised building” design that significantly increases the resilience of the community to future hurricanes. Other resilience features, like storm-rated windows, increases the new communities’ ability to, literally, weather storms.