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SAHA Kicks Off Wheatley Courts Demolition, Marking Start of $100 Million Neighborhood Redevelopment

September 25, 2014 | McCormack Baron Salazar

Today, San Antonio’s Eastside celebrates the start of demolition of the former public housing site of Wheatley Courts, in advance of the new construction of 417 new mixed-income apartments as part of the creation of a community-planned neighborhood of “choice,” -- a safe, healthy, vibrant, thriving community for children, families and seniors. 

The Wheatley Choice Transformation is one component of a large-scale revitalization that is underway on San Antonio's Eastside, which also includes: the United Way's Promise Neighborhood Initiative to create a robust cradle-to-career educational pipeline that is supported by strong systems of family and community support; the Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative to develop place-based, community-oriented strategies to reduce criminal activity; and the City of San Antonio's Promise Zone designation to address the challenges of poverty and increase economic opportunity.

San Antonio’s Eastside is the only community in the nation to receive all three of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative grants, along with the Promise Zone designation.

Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Mayor Ivy Taylor, Councilman Keith Toney, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, Police Chief William McManus, and other community leaders joined SAHA President and CEO Lourdes Castro Ramirez, and McCormack Baron Salazar and Franklin Construction representatives for the event. 

“The kickoff of the demolition and construction activities on the Wheatley site is definitely cause for celebration for the Eastside,” said Lourdes Castro Ramírez, SAHA President and CEO. “Eastside residents have been working together with us to plan this redevelopment for more than three years now, and we’re all very excited that the work on this new housing for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is now underway.”

“This development represents an unprecedented level of public-private collaboration and investment on the Eastside,” said Mayor Ivy Taylor. “I'm happy that the demolition and housing construction is getting started, as community members will be able to start seeing the results of their planning and vision.”

A total of 417 new units of mixed-income rental housing are planned for the Wheatley site and adjacent parcels.  The new housing will be constructed in three phases. The first phase will feature 220 units for families, with completion planned for December 2016; the second phase includes 80 apartments for seniors, with completion scheduled for April 2017; and the third and final phase has 117 units, and is scheduled to be complete in December 2017.

The funding for the Wheatley redevelopment will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the City of San Antonio, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), SAHA, conventional financing, and investor equity.  

“We have worked closely with community members, to ensure the community-driven Choice Transformation Plan will truly create a community of ‘Choice’,” said Dr. Morris Stirbling, chair of SAHA’s Board of Commissioners. “As a result of this collaboration, the new community will link housing and infrastructure improvements with much-needed services, such as quality schools, healthcare, transportation and access to jobs.”

The housing developer for Wheatley is McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. When all phases of redevelopment are complete, the mixed-income community will feature modern, sustainable and energy-efficient apartments and townhomes for families and seniors.  The new development will feature 88 units for families earning 30 percent of area median income (AMI) (public housing and project-based vouchers); 210 units for families earning up to 60 percent of AMI; and 119 market rate units. 

“We are very pleased to partner with SAHA, the City of San Antonio and community stakeholders,” said Louis Bernardy, Senior Vice President with McCormack Baron Salazar. “The new housing, with architectural features that were developed through a series of community meetings, will significantly transform the economic vitality of the neighborhood, and will serve as a catalyst for other private investment and development in the surrounding community.”