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Montrose Center Postpones Groundbreaking for LGBTQ Senior Housing Project

Event pushed back due to rising construction costs.

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The Montrose Center has postponed a groundbreaking for its LGBTQ-affirming senior housing project in Houston’s Third Ward.

The groundbreaking, previously scheduled for Oct. 30, will be pushed back “a couple of months,” according to Ann Robison, the Center’s executive director.

Robison said rising construction costs have forced the developer and architect to re-evaluate plans for the $23-million facility, which will be the second-largest of its kind in the nation.

Montrose Center Executive Director Ann Robison

“This is a hicccup,” Robison said Monday, Oct. 15. “I’ve been working on this thing for five years, and this is not the first hiccup we’ve had. It may seem alarming to the community, but I’m not alarmed.” 

Last month, the Montrose Center announced that it had secured $13.8 million in federal low-income housing subsidies for the project. However, Robison said those tax credits require the cost of construction to remain below a set amount. 

She pointed to higher concrete and steel prices, as well as increased demand due to the post-Hurricane Harvey building boom. The Montrose Center learned of the increased costs last week during a periodic review of the plans by the developer, Camden Builders, and the architect, Smith and Co.

In addition to the federal subsidies, the Center has raised more than $3 million from the community for the project. The city of Houston kicked in $2.5 million in Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) funds for the facility, and the Midtown Redevelopment Authority donated the 2.87-acre lot at 2222 Cleburne Street, valued at more than $3.26 million.

With 112 independent living units spread across two main four-story buildings, the facility will be the first LGBTQ-affirming housing complex for low-income seniors in the Southwest. It is tentatively scheduled to open in the summer of 2020, although Robison said that date likely will be pushed back due to the groundbreaking delay.

“We’re still extremely excited,” Robison said. “I can’t tell you how many emails I get from seniors: ‘When can I move in?'” 

 

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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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