PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

July 9, 2012

Process may lead to demolition of Carver Terrace, rental units would be scattered in neighborhoods

PORT ARTHUR — Carver Terrace and Lincoln Square, housing projects near the fenceline of the Valero Refinery, may fall to the demolition ball as a result of action by the Port Arthur Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

The board unanimously adopted a five-year plan presented by Executive Director Seledonio “Cele” Quesada at a special meeting Friday. The highlight of that plan, Quesada said, is the redevelopment of the more than 200 units of public housing at Carver Terrace and Lincoln square and the creation of a different concept that moves away from putting public housing all in one location.

“It will be a scattered development program were we won’t concentrate public housing,” Quesada said. The plan is to build rental units mixed in neighborhoods with private housing on property the Housing Authority owns or will acquire.

The board unanimously approved a Master Developer Agreement with ITEX Developers of Port Arthur. Under the development agreement, PAHA and ITEX intend to develop no less than 368 rental units, of which no less than one-half will be operated and maintained as public housing units.

The development will be done in multiple phases depending on the financing available. The first phase, the agreement states, will have no less than 50 percent of the units designated as public housing.

Quesada said he will submit an application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by the end of September on the redevelopment plan for Carver Terrace and he hopes to have a response within 90 days.

Concerning the impact on the PAHA application to HUD of an audit by the Office of Inspector General that was critical of PAHA’s use of federal money and the board’s oversight, Quesada said PAHA is working to resolve the issues.

“We are moving forward with the audit and resolving those issues is going to be helpful in facilitating this (the application) process. HUD is working with us and we are working with HUD very closely. There is an expectation that these findings will be resolved shortly,” Quesada said.

He said the project would be funded with a combination of public and private sources of financing. He said PAHA hopes to access Community Development Block Grant funds coming through the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission and other programs such as tax credits that make it attractive for investors to put money into affordable housing.

Also as part of the 2013 Annual Plan and Five-Year Plan was the addition of an operations manager and a clerk and the elimination of a property services director position. One of the housing managers will take over the duties of the services director, Quesada said.

The new position will help make sure the PAHA is in compliance with all HUD directives.

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