Thursday, December 1 2022


The city council voted unanimously last week to move towards creating more affordable housing in Laredo.

Council member Ruben A. Gutierrez brought the discussion to the table on Monday, calling for action to be taken by preparing a resolution supporting the Brownstone Group for an affordable housing site at 1019 Hillside Road.

The site in question would develop more than 100 apartment units with only 5 to 10 percent at market rate, meaning that the majority of housing would be affordable.

“It came to my mind several months ago and Mr. Brown and I talked about it,” said board member Gutierrez.

Jed Brown is the president of the Brownstone Group which has offices in several locations in Texas and Louisiana, including one in Laredo. Brown considers Laredo to be his hometown because he has spent most of his life there.

He is one of the three owners of the Brownstone Group with his two brothers Doak and Wil. The company employs around 150 people, many of them in Laredo.

“Since 2005, my brothers and I have developed $ 1.35 billion worth of affordable housing and apartments in four states, representing approximately 13,000 units,” Brown said. “Here in Laredo, we have developed four properties consisting of 696 units. Two of them were for the Housing Authority and represented 9% of agreements, two that we own ourselves. “

With Council’s unanimous vote on Monday, the City Manager will prepare a supporting resolution on behalf of Hillside Crossing Ltd. ).

According to NOVOGRDAC, the LIHTC program was created in 1986 and made permanent in 1993. It is an indirect federal grant used to finance the construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low-income people.

Lawmakers created it as an incentive for private developers and investors to provide more low-income housing. Without the incentive, affordable rental housing projects do not generate enough profit to justify an investment.

The LIHTC is offering investors a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their federal tax liability in exchange for funding to develop affordable rental housing.

The Brownstone Group actually hired the 9 percent LIHTC program administrator in Austin to help facilitate projects like the one on offer on Monday. She was there to answer any questions from the Board regarding the details of the proposal.

Brownstone Residential would potentially manage the property if they got the credits from Austin for the project.

“Our project consists of 120 new construction units at the location I described,” said Brown. “A very nice community similar to the other communities that we have developed in Laredo.

The Brownstone Group also mentioned that there have been two other affordable housing proposals in the community, but they believe theirs would be best for the particular location they are targeting. The development they hope to build would potentially have three times as many units as the other proposals, according to the group.

Whether the City decides to simply go with one affordable housing proposal or decides to accept all three, council members have been open to providing residents with more cost-effective options.

“Last year you all posted two resolutions of support and I’m proud of all of you for your support for affordable housing in Laredo,” said Brown.

There were few questions for Brown and his group on Monday, and the vote to prepare a resolution for LIHTC was not only unanimous, it was swift.

“I’m glad you’re doing this because it’s been several years since Laredo has had the opportunity to compete with at least that 9 percent,” board member Mercurio Martinez said. “I know we tried last year and we were tied and in contention and we weren’t successful.

“The more projects we can get in our area the better, so it’s nice to know that you (the 9% Brown rep) work for the state, so at least they know you and they know the guy. number of people and the type of projects you’re going to put on the table, so if you have more, get them started.

According to NOVOGRDAC, with general guidelines for the program set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), housing agencies administer the program. State agencies review tax credit applications submitted by developers and award the credits. So now Brownstone and Laredo will be waiting to see if the state approves and selects his project.

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