Golden S.E.E.D.S. featured on 24 affordable homes to be built in The Bottom

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The city of Dallas is selling 24 lots in The Bottom neighborhood, such as this one on Sparks Street, for $1,000 apiece to a foundation that will build affordable housing on them.

Twenty-four new, affordable homes will be built in The Bottom neighborhood just south of the Trinity River in Dallas through a partnership after the Dallas City Council gave the project the go-ahead Wednesday.

The council authorized the sale through the city’s housing rehabilitation program of 24 lots for single-family homes in The Bottom to the Golden SEEDS Foundation and its developer affiliates. The city also authorized a conditional grant of up to $1.4 million in 2012 general obligation bond funds to Golden SEEDS or the foundation’s affiliates for infrastructure and the cost of constructing the homes.

Libbie Terrell Lee, executive director of The Golden SEEDS Foundation, said the city approval is an exciting development for the neighborhood.

“It’s taken a while to get through it, but we have,” Lee said. “We’ll get the infrastructure done in phase 1 and we’ll be jumping right at it.”

Golden SEEDS will identify potential homebuyers and put them into training classes on how to qualify as a buyer and be a home owner, she said.

“We already have identified a few persons that are interested,” she said. “It’s about getting them ready and prepared, and these houses will be turning over. We’ll get it started right away.”

In addition to providing much-needed affordable, high-quality homes in The Bottom, another goal is to employ people from the community in some of the home construction jobs, Lee said.

The area median income for The Bottom is $24,320, which is $20,895 less than Dallas’ citywide average median income, according to a report by the Dallas Collaborative for Equitable Development. That means that the average resident in The Bottom can afford to spend $600 a month on housing, according to the report.

The report recommends identifying renters who would like to become homeowners in The Bottom and targeting them for future affordable housing programs. It also suggests adjusting the income requirements on city of Dallas programs.

The Bottom neighborhood and its housing and other challenges was highlighted in March in the Dallas Business Journal in a story about a program led by The Real Estate Council in partnership with several community groups.

Golden SEEDS has been working on a neighborhood plan and bringing projects such as this one to fruition for more than a decade.

The lots on which the homes will be built are on Moore Street, Denley Drive, Hutchins Avenue, Hart Street, Sparks Street, Pecan Drive and Bobbie Street. Each lot is being sold for $1,000. The lots were obtained by the city through tax foreclosures.

The homes will range from roughly 1,800 square feet to 2,400 square feet and be priced between $165,000 and $195,000, according to the agreement with the city.

Golden SEEDS will work with Innovan Neighborhoods, a real estate development and consulting firm focused on community-oriented projects.

Innovan partners with nonprofits, churches, schools and community-based organizations to help move their development deals forward, said Maggie Parker, founder and managing partner of Innovan.

Parker worked with Golden SEEDS to write the application, and Innovan will develop the lots.

“The city currently is doing infrastructure for the lots and then we’ll build new homes on the property,” Parker said.

Matthews Southwest, a Lewisville-based full-service private real-estate development company, is Innovan’s business partner on the project, Parker said.

Home construction will start early next year, Parker said.

“This work has not been short-term,” Parker said. “It’s taken long-term perseverance. I’d also say that it’s still the beginning. While there was approval, there’s a lot of work to be done.”

The goal is to serve families at or below 80 percent of the area median income, Parker said. Home sizes and layout will vary based on lot sizes, but most will have two or three bedrooms and two bathrooms, she said.

“It’s a great opportunity for there to be more affordable housing in Dallas,” Parker said. “It shows where good partnerships can come together — that being between Golden SEEDS and the work they’re doing in the community, those in the real estate community and those in the city of Dallas.”

Golden SEEDS’ contract with the city requires the foundation and its partners to design, fund construction of and sell 20 single-family homes on the lots within two years. The developers are required to obtain building permits by May 2021 and begin construction of the homes by June 2021.

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