Palladium apartments ‘essentially’ booked up



The lawn is mowed on Monday, May 2, at the Palladium Port Aransas apartments, which recently became pretty much fully leased even though construction on the complex is not expected to wrap up for at least a few more months. Staff photo by Dan Parker

The lawn is mowed on Monday, May 2, at the Palladium Port Aransas apartments, which recently became pretty much fully leased even though construction on the complex is not expected to wrap up for at least a few more months. Staff photo by Dan Parker

The new Palladium apartment complex built to provide more affordable housing in Port Aransas now is “essentially” 100 percent leased, according to a Palladium official.

But folks hoping to get an apartment at the 2700 State Highway 361 complex still shouldn’t hesitate to apply, said the official, Fred D’Lizarraga, COO of Palladium USA.

“There are still opportunities available,” he said. “The fact is, the leasing process is dynamic. People change their minds. Timing changes. Some might not end up qualifying.”

Part of the complex remains under construction, but apartment management has accepted applications for unfinished apartments.

Plans are for 183 units eventually to be built there.

“We’re essentially at 100 percent (leased),” D’Lizarraga said. “Out of 183 apartments, we have 180 of them (with people) either living at the property already or in compliance to get approved.”

As of last week, construction had been finished on a total of 117 units, D’Lizarraga said.

The new Palladium Port Aransas apartment complex on State Highway 361 is seen in an aerial photo shot on Saturday, April 30. Groundwork on the complex began in 2020. Construction is expected wrap up by the end of October. Staff photo by Freda Greene

The new Palladium Port Aransas apartment complex on State Highway 361 is seen in an aerial photo shot on Saturday, April 30. Groundwork on the complex began in 2020. Construction is expected wrap up by the end of October. Staff photo by Freda Greene

The entire complex is expected to be finished by the end of October, though factors such as bad weather and supply chain problems could get in the way of that.

Ten percent of the apartment units are rented at market rates, and the rest are rented at below-market rates in order to make them affordable for folks of modest means.

The discounted apartments have rents of $719 for a one-bedroom unit; $857 for two bedrooms; and $985 for three bedrooms, D’Lizarraga said.

The market rate apartments are rented for $1,125 for a one-bedroom unit, $1,615 for two bedrooms and $1,850 for three bedrooms.

The rents are based on area median income in Nueces County. Right now, that income level is $69,300, D’Lizarraga said.

The rental amounts could change soon.

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “reviews county incomes every year,” D’Lizarraga said. “They produce all the different median income percentages. Then the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) takes those numbers and puts them in their model and comes up with income limits and the rents.”

Palladium Port Aransas “caters to 60 percent of the median income for the affordable units,” he said.

Income limits for each household depend on how many people are in the household and how many wage earners live there.

For example, if one person lives in the house household, they would have to make $ 29,160 or less per year, D’Lizarraga said.

With two people in the household, that maximum amount would be $33,300, he said.

“ And it goes on from there,” he said. While two people living in a two-bedroom affordable unit couldn’t make more than $33,000 per year, combined, a couple with two children living in a two- bedroom apartment could make up to $41,580 and still qualify.

In addition to dictating those limits the TDHCA conducts construction inspections for workmanship and to make sure that Palladium built what it promised it would build, D’Lizarraga said.

The TDHCA “will also inspect … the paper files to make sure that the people who said they only make a certain amount of income truly do only make that certain amount of income,” D’Lizarraga said. “You can’t fudge numbers. You can’t cheat the system. … If you are going to qualify for the lower rent, there is no handshake deal or slap-on-the-back type of thing. It’s above the table, on the up-and-up, and you simply have to qualify, or you don’t, for the lower rent.”

The apartment complex is the product of several years of efforts by Port Aransas city officials to bring more affordable housing to town.

At the behest of the city, the Texas General Land Office School Land Board decided in April 2020 to sell 8.76 acres of land for $2 million so the apartments could be built. The property went into the hands of an entity known as Palladium-Port Aransas LLC.

The entity was created when the city’s public facilities corporation formed a partnership with Palladium.

Because the development is being accomplished through a public-private partnership, city leaders have expected the rent to be kept low enough for members of the city’s workforce to be able to live there.

With help from state officials, the city pulled together $36 million for the land purchase and apartment construction.

The money came from:

• A $14 million loan that Palladium received;

• Some $ 14 million in tax-credit grant money that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs provided to Palladium and the public facilities corporation;

• Funds totaling $4 million that the department pledged in a grant to the public facilities corporation;

• A total of $4 million from a bill rider approved during the 2019 legislative session.

News that the apartments practically are fully leased represents “an incredible milestone considering we’re not even at six months past first resident move-in,” said Port Aransas City Manager Dave Parsons.

“I was always a bit nervous that a 183-unit apartment complex was too big, but when you take into consideration how many of the small, older housing stock got wiped out by (Hurricane) Harvey (in 2017), it’s no wonder it filled so quick. It was without a doubt the hardest project I’ve ever helped to pull off,” Parsons said, adding that paying for the land and construction involved “not a single penny to the city taxpayer.”

He added: “ Thank you, Gov. Abbott, Mayor (Charles) Bujan and the hard-working 2017-2020 city council. It couldn’t have been done without their leadership.”

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