Gardner Capital, an affordable housing developer, is eyeing Fate for a senior living project that is estimated to cost $30 million to build.
Ryan Combs, the Texas representative of the housing developer, told the Fate City Council at its meeting on Monday that the company is interested in a six-acre property along the west side of Interstate 30, southeast of Brown Avenue.
“There is a challenge for housing and it goes beyond the east side of the Metroplex; it’s all over the nation,” Combs told the Fate City Council.
A key part of the development, Combs said, would be a partnership with the city that would require the creation and maintenance of a “public facility corporation.”
Under Combs’ proposed plan, Gardner Capital and a public facility corporation created by Fate would partner in the senior living project, tentatively named Gala at Fate.
The city, Combs said, would not be responsible in any way for the design, construction or management of the development. The city council would be responsible for appointing members to the agency. Similar to the Fate Economic Development Corporation the facility corporation would operate as a nonprofit.
A partnership with the facility corporation would allow the company to be property tax exempt, as the senior living project would technically be considered a public facility.
Combs reiterated to the Herald-Banner that the project would not require the use of city funds, outside of any administrative costs that would stem from the proposed facilities corporation.
Combs also said the city would also not be responsible for any liabilities associated with the senior living project.
Assistant City Manager Justin Weiss said those costs would be “minimal.” He also told the council that city staff, Combs and the landowner of the six-acre site have been in contact.
In return for the funds that the city would be missing out in property tax from the senior living development, Combs said his company would add value by being a long term partner with the city. He added that the company would not be looking for any additional exemption from city requirements, such as road, water and sewer impact fees.
“As I look in communities, one of the things that differentiate us and the real estate world is that we’re not short-term holders,” Combs told the city council. “We like to come in and in in the path of growth. We want to exist in the community for a long time.”
The company is looking at a total of 180 units, according to Combs’ Monday presentation, and the monthly rent would range from as low as $800 to as high as $1,300, depending on size and the number of bedrooms.
Combs said 13 of these units would be for the purpose of low-income housing for seniors who are living mainly off of social security. He said the complex would not be an assisted living and care facility.
Amenities that could be offered at the complex included a movie theater room as well as a swimming pool and workout area designed for seniors.
Combs presented council members with examples of similar senior living projects that his company has developed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which he said have been operating for more than five years.
Councilman David Billings, Place 5, told Combs he “was not a big fan” of Combs’ proposal at first glance.
“How many years will it be until the City of Fate takes (the property) over?” Billings asked.
Combs said the city would be looking at taking the property over in 50 to 99 years.
“At that point … the useful life of the development in over and it would be time to redevelop, so the property could be scrapped and turned into whatever the city would like at that point,” Combs said.
Billings also asked Combs if the council would be responsible for receiving complaints from residents and tenants at which time the housing developer assured the councilman that the company will be pressured by its investors to maintain a quality complex.
“When we go do a development like this, these are not mom-and-pop investors we’re talking about,” Combs said.
Combs also told council members that they would have the final say in what regulations the housing development firm would have to adhere to when the two parties sign a contract to work under the Gala at Fate umbrella.
Billings said he too thinks that the city needs seniors housing.
“I think we need senior homes here desperately, but I want to make sure that we have the right kind,” said Billings, who also serves as the mayor pro tem of the council.