City Council: Katy Station Lofts, a transit-oriented development project on Vickery, moves forward

Katy Lofts 

Fort Worth moved a step closer to a new housing development near a TEXRail station as the City Council on Aug. 14 approved several proposals connected to Katy Station Lofts on West Vickery Street.

Katy Station Lofts is a proposed mixed-use, mixed-income, multi-family development to be built at 200 W. Vickery St. A nearby TEXRail line will provide access to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. A daycare facility and shops are planned for the first floor, with a parking garage next door and later, a six-story hotel. RMGM, an affiliate of Matthews Southwest, will be the developer. Bennett Benner Architects + Planners are the architects for the project.

The council approved a waiver in the housing tax credit policy that would ordinarily require Katy Station Lofts to have 10 percent of its total units dedicated as Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) units. That would have been about 24 units before the waiver.

The RAD unit set-aside was added in 2016 to assist Fort Worth Housing Solutions in converting public housing units to long term, project-based rental assistance for people needing to move out of aging public housing. However, Housing Solutions officials told the city they are okay with only 15 units being set aside at Katy Station Lofts. Setting aside more units for RAD would reduce the debt service coverage to below the minimum of 1.15 percent required by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.

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The council also adopted a resolution of no objection for an application by FW Katy Station LP to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for 2018 non-competitive (4 percent) housing tax credits for the development.

“This is a very important collaborative development partnership with the city, Trinity Metro, Housing Solutions and a developer to deliver a mixed-use transit-oriented development with an affordable housing component in the urban core of our city, with access to jobs and transit in an area that provides a great quality of life,” said District 9 Council Member Ann Zadeh, in whose district the project will be built.

Council members also determined that the Katy Station Lofts may be located in a census tract that has more than 20 percent housing tax credit units per total households, and affirmed that the development is consistent with the city’s obligation to advance fair housing.

The council also acknowledged that the state housing agency’s one-mile, three-year rule be applied to the Katy Station Lofts. The rule requires the local jurisdiction to vote specifically on whether to allow the construction of a new development within one mile of a current development that received tax credits within the last three years. The Katy Station Lofts will be located within one linear mile of another development with similar households that received housing tax credits or private activity bonds for development in late July 2017.

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The project will have about 236 units of workforce and market rate housing. There will be 116 market rate units, with the rest set aside for households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income, with 15 being RAD units.

The 10-story residential building will have one- and two-bedroom units and will include a community room, equipped business center/computer center, controlled gate access, swimming pool and fitness center.

The Katy Station Lofts is part of a transit-oriented development located within 500 feet of transit. It will also include a six-story hotel, retail space, a daycare facility and a six-story parking garage for residents, customers and transit riders.

The total development cost is about $94.2 million. City transit-oriented development bond funds are one possible funding source, along with tax credits, Southside tax increment financing funds, Council of Government funds, tax-exempt bonds and private loans.

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Trinity Metro owns the land and will lease it to the partnership long-term. While the residential building will be exempt from property taxes, the retail space will produce sales tax revenue, and the hotel will pay property taxes as well as hotel taxes.