A nearly century-old church will be adapted into 91 apartments, including 80 for families earning no more than 60% of the area median income (AMI), in Fort Worth, Texas.
Originally built in 1924, Riverside Baptist Church served as a prominent faith community before the property was sold to the Travis Academy of Fine Arts in 2013 and later sold again in 2018 to a private developer. Saigebrook Development later purchased the church to preserve and renovate the structure for affordable housing at the new Cielo Place Apartments.
To help finance the $22 million development, Hunt Capital Partners is providing $15.1 million in federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and federal historic tax credit equity through a proprietary fund with JPMorgan Chase. It is also syndicating state historic tax credits, which will be contributed to a $2.7 million soft loan for the development.
Chase Bank provided a $17.5 million construction loan as well as a $3.5 million permanent loan commitment through Impact C.I.L.
“Cielo Place Apartments is a unique opportunity for our company to provide homes for 91 families, while simultaneously preserving the buildings that have been a significant part of the neighborhood and Fort Worth’s growth post-World War II,” says Alice Cruz, project manager for Saigebrook. “We have heard how excited the community is that the church facility will remain for decades to come. Many individuals have shared that they personally, or someone they knew, attended church services, weddings, weekend revivals, baptisms, and other religious or social events at the church when it was active. We are pleased to be a part of its preservation and reuse.”
The community will have 11 market-rate and 80 LIHTC units for families earning up to 30%, 50%, and 60% of the AMI. There will be 50 studio, 13 one-, 18 two-, and 10 three-bedroom units. Five units will be set aside as permanent support housing (PSH) units with the city of Fort Worth. Tarrant County Homeless Coalition is expected to provide any case management or supportive services necessary for the PSH tenants. Five units will be prioritized for households with special needs. Additionally, five units will be designated for the mobility impaired and another two units for the hearing and/or visually impaired. Cielo Place will also offer services to residents free of charge that could include children, adult, health, and community supportive services.
The development team includes Housing Channel and Fort Construction as the general contractor and prime subcontractor; Miller Slayton Architects as the project architect; Accolade Property Management as the management agent; O-SDA Industries as the development consultant; and Tidwell Group as the accountant.
While the facade of Riverside Baptist Church will remain intact, repairs will be made to exterior walls, roofs and windows. Sixty-nine residential units as well as community space will be constructed inside the existing church buildings. A new three-story building, which will house the other 22 units, will be constructed in place of the existing gymnasium. Residents will also enjoy new amenities such as a business center, a clubhouse, a fitness center, a playground, on-site management, and parking.