Groves celebrates start of new subdivision

Published 5:30 pm Thursday, December 22, 2016

GROVES — Developer Rani Akhtar of Amron Housing Group and Akhtar Construction said the inspiration for building Amber Estates was she thought an empty field needed some beautiful homes.

Akhtar held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday morning behind Axis Manor at 6775 25th St. in Groves. There was food and drink and a bounce house.

“I think this area needs something like this,” she said. “We wanted an apartment but 200 people showed up at the city council meeting to protest. We thought the next thing could be some nice homes.”

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The 19 houses in the subdivision will be four bedrooms with three bathrooms, all brick, with two car garages.

This is the same plot of land Akhtar once hoped to use for expansion of adjacent Axis Manor Apartments last May, according to a prior News article. The request for a specific use permit was met with opposition from more than 70 residents as well as city council members.

“We realized we were making a mistake to go against the people of the city of Groves so we went back to the city and asked if we could place a subdivision there and they (city) allowed it,” Jeff Akhtar said.

Groves City Manager D. Sosa said the city does not require a specific use permit to construct a subdivision but does require the issue going through the city’s planning and zoning commission with final approval of a preliminary plat by city council.

Sosa said back when Jeff was asking for the specific use permit for the apartments council, at the time, did not feel he was doing a very good job with the apartments. Since then the property owner put an on-site manager at the apartment complex and cleaned the place up.

The planned subdivision is a Class A subdivision, meaning it will have curbs and gutters.

Jeff plans to offer owner financing for people working for the government — city, state, county and federal. There will be no Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

“We appreciate our government officials of this country. Me, I am from Pakistan and my children are born in the U.S. We appreciate this great country and the people of this great country,” Jeff said.

Akhtar has constructed single-family homes in Beaumont, Groves, Nederland and Port Neches and also owns several apartment complexes in those cities. Their next project is a 100-unit apartment complex in Lake Charles with a Jan. 15 date for a groundbreaking. While under construction he said they have all been under budget and under the time limits for construction.

Sosa said the new subdivision is good for the city.

More growth, such as new subdivisions, is essential to the city that has no industrial contracts to help buffer the tax burden.

“We need to grow in order to keep the tax rate level and keep competitive with other cities who have industrial contracts,” Sosa said. “The more growth we have means our values go up which helps stabilize the tax rate.”

Rani said they want to be part of the community.

“We’ve lived here 15 years and it’s a wonderful place to raise children,” she said.

Their children have attended or are attending Baylor University, Lamar University and Legacy Christian Academy in Beaumont.

David Ball: 409-721-2427