More apartments are being built near downtown. But you don’t have to be rich for these

September 25,2018

Star-Telegram article by Gordon Dickson 

A towering new apartment complex is about to be built not far from downtown Fort Worth — but, unlike most recent residential developments in the city center, this one won’t cater to the wealthy.

Instead, Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County plans to officially break ground today on a development known as The Vineyard on Lancaster, which will focus on providing quality affordable housing for low-income and formerly homeless residents.

“The biggest need in the whole community is decent, affordable housing,” said Don Shisler, president & chief executive officer of Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County. “There’s a lot of development in close proximity to major cities, and they have torn down the low-income housing that used to be there, being replaced by high-end apartments or condos. People on the other side of the scale just don’t have the means to afford a place like that.”

The complex at 1401 East Lancaster Avenue, about a half-mile southeast of downtown, will feature 104 apartments as well as a handful of ground-level retail spaces, officials said.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, community leaders will gather at the site to commemorate the start of construction with a “ground blessing” and “watering of the vines.”

The twin, five-story structures are expected to be complete by the end of 2019.

The Vineyard at Lancaster will be part of the city’s Near East Side Urban Village revitalization. It is being built on vacant property owned by the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, which operates a homeless shelter next door.

In all, the development will encompass 102,679 square feet. The project is expected to cost $19 million, with $12 million funded by housing tax credits, the National Housing Trust Fund and the Affordable Housing Program.

Other contributors to the project include the Amon G. Carter Foundation, The Mabee Foundation, The Ryan Foundation, The Burnett Foundation and The Sid Richardson Foundation.

Also partnering in the project are the city of Fort Worth, JPS Health Network, MHMR of Tarrant County and Tarrant County College.

The complex will include 88 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom apartments.

The units will not be furnished but will include a full kitchen and bath, 9-foot ceilings in the living and bedrooms and washer/dryer hook-ups.

The entrance will be monitored by a security camera. Case management will be available on-site for residents who need help adjusting to living in their own homes.

Also, on-site medical care will be provided through Healing Shepherd Clinic, which is connected with JPS Health Network and provides many non-emergency medical services.

A Grapevine company, Alpha Barnes, will manage the property and handle leasing, and all the various housing vouchers that could be used by residents.

So how much will it cost to live there? That’s a complicated question that varies greatly depending upon each resident’s situation.

Six of the apartments will lease at market rates, Shisler said. Another 22 units can be leased for no more than 30 percent of a resident’s income up to $15,800 (or $18,000 for a couple) — which typically could be in the $375 monthly range (or roughly $450 for a couple).

Another 42 of the units will lease for 50 percent of a person’s income up to $26,350, and 34 units will lease for 60 percent of income up to $31,620 annually for one resident.