$52 million in climate friendly projects detailed for 3 Port Arthur apartment complexes

Published 12:20 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Cedar Ridge Apartments resident Patricia Mooney is encouraged by Monday’s announcement of federal dollars being invested in three local apartment complexes for energy savings.

“It was a word of encouragement,” Mooney said of the planned upgrades. “Things are improving … just to know that someone would take the time to hear what I have to say.”

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the ITEX Group $52 million, which will be divided up between Cedar Ridge Apartments, Crystal Creek Apartments and Heatherbrook Apartments.

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Chris Akbari, CEO and president of ITEX Development, said the funding is for climate resiliency and green initiatives to lower the cost of utilities for residents of the apartments. This translates to new windows, new doors, providing solar equipment on the roofs, as well as adding insulation to the buildings, resilient flooring and other upgrades.

Akbari also hopes to provide water utility-savings projects.

The federal funding announcement was made at Cedar Ridge Apartments and included Candace Valenzuela, HUD Regional Administrator for the Southwest;

Christie Newhouse, director of HUD Southwest, Multifamily HUB; Eric Cobb, field office director of the Houston HUD Office; Akbari and Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie.

Candace Valenzuela explained the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program is part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, in which Congress allocated $837 million in funding and $4 billion in loan authority for the program.

“This is the first HUD program to simultaneously invest in energy efficiency, energy generation and climate resilient strategies in multifamily housing. Investments under this program are being made for an affordable housing community serving low income families, which will help upgrade and preserve affordable housing and provide safer, less expensive living environments for our residents,” Valenzuela said.

“These investments also help combat the climate crisis and support equitable economic development in American communities.”

Scaling back the “government speak,” Valenzuela said what this amounts to is making housing that is sustainable for all the things people experience in climate and looking at saving dollars and cents when it comes to heating, cooling and water.

The split between the three apartment complexes comes with Crystal Creek receiving $16.1 million, Cedar Ridge receiving $16 million and Heatherbrook receiving $20 million.

“So, any way you slice it, it’s an amazing investment that’s good for the tenants and the properties and the city of Port Arthur,” Valenzuela said.

Akbari said construction on the projects is tentatively set to begin in six months and could last one year.