Will Baxter be all low-income housing?

HARLINGEN — It appears a $4.5 million project to renovate the city’s tallest building would develop all its apartments as low-income housing.

The pre-application for federal tax credits to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs obtained by the Valley Morning Star states all 24 Baxter Building apartments would be designated as low-income units.

However, for months, city officials told downtown property owners the developers planned to offer a “mix” of one-bedroom apartments rented at market rates and some offered as low-income housing.

“I will oppose it,” Bill DeBrooke, chairman of the Harlingen Downtown Improvement District, said of the project yesterday after being told about the pre-application information. “This is not what the city fathers led us to believe.”

Mayor Chris Boswell said he had not seen developer MRE Capital’s pre-application for the project being called Baxter Lofts.

But, he believed Daniel Sailler, MRE Capital’s co-founder and the developer, told officials the developers planned to offer apartments at market rents and others as affordable housing.

“I think they told us there might be a market mix,” Boswell said.

Boswell said Sailler told officials the developers planned to charge monthly rents of $700 for one-bedroom apartments.

That’s the city’s “market rate,” he said.

“There’s a whole lot more to the application than just low-income,” Boswell said. “The trouble with this is you’re labeling it something. It’s getting this label without context. What does low-income mean? We keep getting hung up on labels and trying to make something about it when it’s apartments.”

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