Dallas City Council approved a deal on September 14 to purchase The Briscoe luxury apartment complex in a move to create affordable “workforce housing” in the metroplex.
The term “workforce housing” is a modern term used to describe housing for “middle-income” workers, earning between 60% and 120% of the area’s median income (AMI). Individuals who need workforce housing may not always qualify for housing subsidized by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program or the Housing Choice Vouchers program, according to the Urban Land Institute.
The Briscoe is a 322-unit luxury apartment complex located at 12639 Coit Rd., near the LBJ Freeway and the Central Expressway. The complex features modern décor, upscale amenities, and an outdoor swimming pool.
“I don’t have a lot of developers coming to me out of the goodness of their heart taking less money,” said Kyle Hines, assistant Dallas director of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization (HNR). “I think it’s one of the most important things we can do for our residents, provide affordable units.”
According to Hines, half the units in the complex will be offered at a reduced rate for residents with income at or below 80% of the AMI levels. He said that a one-bedroom apartment with a market value of $1,580 per month would be reduced to $1,420 per month for qualified residents.
Hines stated that although the tax abatements associated with the deal will cost the City over $8 million in tax revenue over 15 years, the rental savings to the residents receiving the reduced rates will amount to an estimated $21 million over the same 15-year period.
“We’re putting that back into the pockets of our residents who can use it for other items,” Hines said. “You’ve got to look at both sides of the equation.”
At the end of the initial 15-year period, the City would have the option to continue using the property as before or to sell it. The City could also decide whether to discontinue the tax abatements at the end of the initial 15-year period. The deal could be extended for up to 75 years.
The $82 million cost to purchase the apartment complex will be covered by the sale of bonds, and all proceeds from the rent, after maintenance expenses, will be used to pay down the debt. By the end of the 15 years, the City will have gained an estimated $51 million in equity in the property, which it could then use as collateral for other investments, according to Hines.
“This is a very, very exciting first step in our affordable housing and workforce housing efforts for the city because this is the acquisition of an existing property rather than building from scratch,” City Councilmember Jaynie Schultz said.
“I can support this item because we are investing in people,” Councilmember Carolyn King Arnold said, adding that the city grants tax breaks all the time to attract and keep private businesses in Dallas.
Even though the Dallas City Council approved the purchase, not every council member was pleased with the deal.
Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn was the only city council member to vote against the plan, calling it irresponsible. The deal “will reduce property tax revenue the City relies on to provide services,” she said.
“I don’t know how you think we’re going to make our budget. I don’t know how you think we’re going to pay for police, all the different services that we want to do. But we are taking income-producing items off our tax rolls,” Mendelsohn explained. “Those of us who have children that are sitting here, your children will probably not even be alive while this deal is still going on.”
Councilman Jesse Moreno was absent and did not vote on the measure.