Bridge City supports building of affordable apartment complex
Last updated 2/25/2014 at Noon
Now the city of Bridge City is on board in supporting the building of an affordable rental apartment complex in the city.
The Bridge City City Council met Monday night for a special meeting. One of the items approved was a resolution supporting Citrus Cove Bridge City, formerly known as Acadiana Village, located at 1200 Texas Ave.
Councilman Danny Cole voted against the motion. Cole was concerned about the apartment complex name change and if they receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds.
Tom Neyhart of Endgame Development, LLC, responded there was a mix-up in the funding with HUD and he would have to wait eight to 10 months to appeal why the name was changed. Neyhart added the complex will not be a HUD or Section 8 facility. The project did receive tax credits to offset construction costs and as an incentive to build the complex.
As previously reported in the April 18, 2012 edition of The Record, there was a standing room only group of citizens that were in attendance to discuss and question the then named proposed Acadian Village project. Neyhart was at the workshop to try to explain the project and answer questions and concerns about the project.
There was a great deal of opposition to the project from citizens that were concerned the housing complex will not be beneficial to the community. There was concern the project would be federally funded and would deteriorate in the manner of some of the current HUD and Section 8 projects in the area.
He explained the project was not a HUD or Section 8 project. Prospective residents will be subjected to criminal background investigation, credit checks, background checks for drug use and conviction. No one convicted of a felony will be eligible to rent an apartment in the complex.
“We are going to check the backgrounds on all of our applicants. We do not want anyone in the complex that will not be a good citizen for Bridge City. We do not want anyone in our complex who does not pay their bills,” Neyhart said. “All of the residents will have to pay all of their rent. No one will get any federal rent subsidy or any kind; they have to bear all of their expenses.”
He explained he wanted to build a quality project. There will be granite counter tops as opposed to laminate counter tops. Each of the apartments will have a full range of appliances in the kitchens, plus a washer and dryer. There will be six different floor plans, 14 one bedroom, 38 two bedroom, and 28 three bedroom apartments. In addition, there will be 16 handicap units.
The size of the apartments will be between 800 and 1,300 square feet.
Questions were raised about why the apartments were being built in Bridge City. Neyhart answered there is a need for apartment housing in Bridge City based on the market studies he conducted.
The cost of the project will be in the range of $7,500,000. Rents are set at a minimum income level and rents are based below market value of comparable apartment housing in the area. The rates are set to a minimum income to $11,074 to a maximum income of $37,260. Rents in the income levels will range from $323 for a one bedroom, one bath apartment to $897 for three bedrooms, three bath apartments.
Other concerns voiced were about the drainage situation on Charles Street. Neyhart stated that he had a civil engineer that is looking into the current drainage and looking at what had to be done to install the drainage system. One challenge will be to build at current federal floodplain elevation requirements and not flood out current properties on Charles Street.
Mayor Kirk Roccaforte and several councilmen made statements in favor of the project and the positive effect it would have on the community.
“We are always happy when a business wants to locate in our city. It will bring in new residents; it will add tax dollars to our city. It may bring back some of the citizens we lost to Ike,” Roccaforte said. “Some of the problems you are afraid may come in with new apartments are not caused by the apartments, they are caused by the 50 and 60 year old houses around the apartments. It is not that the apartments are bad, there has just been deterioration all around them as a result of the passage of time and original people moving out and a different class of people moving in.”