Midtown affordable housing evolves to serve generations to come

An entire new subdivision of affordable single-family homes, a park, new sidewalks, and other infrastructure is taking shape in the Old Spanish Trail/South Union neighborhood.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Houston Council Member Carolyn Evans Shabazz joined Midtown Redevelopment Authority (MRA), the Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement (CCPPI), and Mayberry Homes at the groundbreaking for the Southern Palm Development, which will encompass several entire blocks along Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

A total of 40 three-bedroom single-family homes will be available to homebuyers earning up to 120% of the Houston Area Median Income, which for 2022 was $95,700 for a family of three.

Southern Palm Development is a collaboration of several entities. MRA is providing the land. Mayberry Homes is the builder. A $2 million forgivable loan from the City of Houston will cover the cost of building new sidewalks, water and sewer lines, and other infrastructure improvements. The financial help from the City will alleviate some of the pressure from rising construction costs that have threatened MRA’s ability to continue delivering homes at an affordable price point in recent years.

“This is a major step forward in the evolution of our affordable housing program,” said MRA Real Estate Project Manager Todd Edwards. “We always envisioned reaching the point of being able to build entire subdivisions with supportive infrastructure and a sense of community that will entice families to stay in the neighborhood. Southern Palm Development is the first project to turn that vision into reality. Given the ongoing negotiations with the City for additional financial help, I am optimistic it won’t be the last.”

MRA has centered its program in Houston’s Greater Third Ward, one of 10 Houston neighborhoods participating in Mayor Turner’s Complete Communities, an initiative focused on bridging the gap between equity and opportunity. The Third Ward Complete Communities Action Plan identifies housing as one of the most critical needs in the neighborhood.

MRA provides land for free or at a drastically reduced price to for-profit and nonprofit developers. The land subsidy allows for construction with all the bells and whistles of market-rate housing but at an affordable price. All homes must meet Energy Star Certification.

Find out more about the Southern Palm Development here. Meet the other builders participating in the MRA/CCPPI affordable housing program here and find out how to qualify here.