The Mesquite Planning and Zoning Committee will consider a proposal on Monday for the city’s first low-rent multi-family housing development in nine years.

MVAH Partners is seeking approval to build a 96-unit, revenue-limited development off US Highway 80 that would add to Mesquite’s tight apartment stock, which has dwindled over the years as demand has increased.

“MVAH is proud to provide a variety of housing options to the citizens of Mesquite,” said Darren Smith, MVAH’s Development Manager for the Southwest Region. “No affordable workforce housing developments have been approved since 2013. It’s time.

In February, city council narrowly approved a resolution supporting the project. The vote came after a heated debate in which many citizens spoke of the need for more affordable housing in the city – an issue that third-party audits have documented for decades.

The city’s population has grown by nearly 5% over the past decade. In 2010, about 27% of the city’s occupied dwellings were apartments, according to U.S. Census data. In 2019, that number dropped to around 24%.

The resolution was a key part of MVAH Partners’ funding application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ competitive tax credit program. Obtaining the financing is conditional on the city’s approval of the $26 million project.

The complex, which will have a rental preference for veterans and military families, will have restricted gross rents of up to $1,001 for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,201 for a two-bedroom apartment and 1 $389 for a three bedroom apartment.

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Mesquite ISD also wrote a letter of support to Mayor Daniel Alemán and city council members in February, citing the need to serve the community.

“The Rodeo Loft housing project aims to better serve and meet the needs of our families and students, who are currently experiencing hardship,” wrote Ángel Rivera, assistant district superintendent. “These families need extra financial support, and we see the effects of that play out every day in our schools.”

Mesquite has not approved any new affordable multi-family properties for several years, following a six-month moratorium that began in December 2018 barring new proposals from developers – a move housing experts say is unusual.

The city also lost rental housing stock after an apartment complex was condemned and demolished in 2014 due to electrical and plumbing code violations. More recently, the city has been in litigation with the owners of Hillcrest Apartment over what residents say have been chronic and widespread health and safety violations for years.

If Planning and Zoning approves the developer’s request, the project must still be submitted to City Council for full approval.

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