Artspace El Paso Lofts in El Paso, Texas.
Courtesy HHL Architects Artspace El Paso Lofts in El Paso, Texas.

Sixty-five developments have been selected to receive $60.1 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).

The awards, made through the state housing agency’s 2014 LIHTC cycle, are expected to help finance 5,407 affordable rental units, increasing housing options for individuals and families earning no more than 60 percent of the area median family income.

“The housing tax credit program is increasingly important to the state’s growing numbers of young working families, as it expands the housing choices for these households while offering them a path to improved living standards,” says Tim Irvine, TDHCA executive director.

TDHCA officials estimate that this year’s credit allocation could have as much as a $549.2 million impact on the state’s economy.

The agency received 160 full applications for the round in February.

Artspace El Paso Lofts in El Paso is one of the developments that received a LIHTC reservation. Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit real estate developer, in partnership with the El Paso Community Foundation and the city of El Paso, is planning the mixed-use arts development, blending 51 units of live/work housing for artists and their families, space for nonprofit partners, and space for community events and gatherings.

The tax credit award is a key element in financing the $11 million project—bringing $8.5 million in upfront equity to the project’s capital budget. With tax credits secured, Artspace will turns its focus to the final phase of fundraising, with construction expected to start in 2015.

This is the third development for the organization in Texas, following the National Hotel Artist Lofts in Galveston and Elder Street Artist Lofts in Houston.

Foundation Communities, a nonprofit affordable housing organization, will also be ramping up production after receiving LIHTC reservations for three projects in Austin.

The developments include Bluebonnet Studios, which will provide 107 units of supportive housing for extremely low-income residents.

The 128-unit Lakeline Station Apartments is a transit-oriented development designed with children and families in mind. The parking and driveways will be built along the exterior of the property, with the apartments surrounding a large common area with a learning center, says Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities.

The third project is Southwest Trails Phase II, which will provide 58 units of supportive housing next to the development’s 160-unit first phase.

“We’re excited to help more families,” says Moreau. “In 25 years, we’ve never see waiting list like we have now.”

Foundation Communities’ different waiting lists vary in length, but they generally run several months or longer.

The heavy demand for affordable housing has come as Austin is booming, says Moreau, explaining that older apartments are being torn down to make way for expensive new housing and rents are skyrocketing.

For more information about the LIHTC awards, visit the THDCA website.

Connect with Donna Kimura, deputy editor of Affordable Housing Finance, on Twitter @DKimura_AHF.