Denison officials and developers broke ground Friday on a new, 140-unit apartment complex that will offer low-cost, affordable rentals for low- to moderate-income tenants and residents. The $21 million Parkdale Villas development, which will be built on 12 acres near the intersection of North Parkdale Lane and FM 120 by Amtex Development, will utilize federal tax credit programs to ensure low cost rent.

The project was first discussed in open session by the Denison City Council in early 2016 when four similar tax-credit projects were proposed at about the same time. After discussing the proposals for nearly a month, the city ultimately chose to support the Parkdale development. Amtex Director Gary Lacey said work on the project started even earlier in late 2015.

“It has been a very long road with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, but I am glad to say good morning Denison; it is good to be here.” Amtex Director Gary Lacey said Friday.

In August, developers were accepted into a state program that offers tax incentives for the development of low-cost housing options for low- to moderate-income households. Often these credits are sold on the open market to raise capital that will be used to help finance the project, and thus ensure the low rental costs for tenants.

Lacey said this program is different from other, more well known federal housing programs, including Section 8, offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. When asked about potential tenants, Lacey said the complex might appeal to young families who are starting out or retirees that are living on a fixed income.

“Section 8 serves a particular group,” Lacey said. “This is a step up from that.”

Lacey said that there were some worries about the project in 2017, due to concerns about the tax credits used to fund development. With the election of President Donald Trump, there were some worries that tax rates would be adjusted, changing their market, he said.

The complex will feature 140 units with a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom units with prices ranging from $275 to $843 per month. These rates are based on 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income.

“This gives them the opportunity to free up discretionary funds that can be spent on their home and family,” he said.

For Denison officials, the project gave them the opportunity to create new housing and redevelop an area that was in need of assistance. Prior to the development taking place, the lot was used for a small mobile home park.

Development Services Director Gabe Reaume said the site often saw code compliance and minimum property standard violations. Many of the units were in poor shape and advanced age, he said. Since initial work started on the site, all 21 of the former tenants have been relocated and offered compensation, Lacey said. Former residents who are age 55 or older will also be given first priority for units once the complex opens, he added.

Beyond improvements to the complex itself, Reaume said the increased development will also bring improvements to the infrastructure. Parkdale Lane will be repaved complete with curb and gutter at developer expense, he said.

Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai said the development may also spur increased interest in vacant land along FM 120. As the project is expected to bring increased density to the area, Kaai said he has received calls from retail developments that have expressed interest in sites along the thoroughfare.

For the city, this development represents nearly two years of focus on increasing the housing stock within the city. While initial efforts have been focused on single family, with attention on the city’s affordable housing program, the city’s efforts in creating multifamily options have started to bear fruit.

Earlier this week, the council approved an incentive package for the development of a 120 unit apartment complex along Loy Lake Road. Developers in Gateway Village unveiled the first two buildings of the Residence at Gateway Village complex near U.S. 75 and FM 691.

“We are seeing growth all throughout the city with all price points and options,” Reaume said.