Dallas Breaks Ground on New Project to Meet Affordable Housing Needs – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

With more people moving to North Texas comes growing pains.

While Dallas city leaders say they welcome new development and economic opportunity, the growth can bring struggles for generations of families who can no longer afford to live in neighborhoods that are transforming.

However, there is an effort to help them.

On Tuesday morning, Dallas mayor Eric Johnson and city leaders broke ground on the new Kiva East community, a mixed-income development aimed at meeting affordable housing needs in Old East Dallas.

The project’s location is just north of I-30 near Munger Boulevard on 4724 Eastside Avenue. Historically a working-class neighborhood, but developers say gentrification, high demand and rising property values are pushing families out or to their limits.

That’s where this project hopes to strike a balance. Here’s a look at what Kiva East should look like when it’s all done.

Kiva East

The development will be made up of 87 units of high quality affordable and market-rate housing, with rents ranging from $500 to $1,400. A majority of the units will have affordable rent to families making between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income through a partnership with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and the use of Housing Tax Credit financing.

Developers Saigebrook Development, LLC and O-SDA Industries, LLC are both women-owned and actually specialize in affordable housing projects across the metroplex and state.

“Residents in all parts of the city need a quality place to live. And that’s really what our focus is,” said Megan Lasch, president and owner of O-SDA Industries. “We find ourselves quite often in neighborhoods like this that are seeing some gentrification occurring and need some help to help stabilize the affordable housing options for existing families.”

The community will also have direct access to the walkable and bikeable Santa Fe Trail that connects it to other parts of East Dallas and downtown.

“They’re actually going to make their front door towards the Santa Fe Trail, that way individuals can utilize and activate that trail,” said Dallas city councilman Jesse Moreno. “It becomes an opportunity for those families to not have to get in their vehicles and go to school. It’s also an opportunity for folks to get to downtown because it’s only a few minutes of a walk along the trail.”

The project falls within councilman Moreno’s district 2, so he will become a future neighbor of residents of Kiva East.

“I definitely see more progress and development coming into the area. But we have to do it with thoughtfulness, we have to do it ensuring that we are not displacing individuals that have lived in this part of Dallas historically,” he said. “So we want to make sure that our families that have lived here historically for generations can continue living there. But we also want to attract new families to the area that might be employed nearby.”

Moreno said while the area grows, it’s important not to forget the people who have lived here for generations.

“These are the same individuals that were in this area while it was struggling, who did not have the restaurants nearby, didn’t have the amenities. Those are the individuals that were around 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago. And we want them to absolutely be able to benefit from all the great things that are coming to this part of East Dallas,” said Moreno.

The project will take over longtime vacant lots at a cost of $25 million.

With support from the City of Dallas, Kiva East secured critical financing to execute the development, including $2.48 million in HOME Investment Partnerships Funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HOME funds were awarded through the City of Dallas’ Department of Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization’s standing Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) process to support the development of mixed income throughout the city and to ensure affordability for a period of 20 years.

The project also received a loan from LISC’s Dallas Housing Opportunity Fund, which invests in and alongside local developers to create and preserve affordable housing options for households earning at or below 120% of the area median income. Other partners include Hudson Housing Capital, Citibank, Legacy Bank, and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation.

On top of all of this, they’re also building Bezos academy, a tuition-free Montessori-inspired preschool.

The school will have two classrooms and follow a full-day, year-round schedule, providing 40 children with early childhood education. Bezos Academy signed a 10-year lease agreement with Kiva East and the Bezos Foundation will fund the interior build-out of the school space.

Construction is already underway and is estimated to be complete and ready to start leases by the end of next year.

“This is a very important neighborhood in East Dallas. And there’s a lot of families that have lived there for a very long time. We’re hoping that by providing affordable housing, we can continue to stabilize the housing options in this community and in this neighborhood,” said Lasch.

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